UNO™ is a game from , originally released 31st December, 1969

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Gameloft and Mattel working on UNO & Friends

Are you feeling depressed? Alone? Well, cheer up: given the way social games tack ‘With Friends’ onto every title, you can fool yourself into believing that the entire Internet loves you! Or you can just go ahead and keep playing these games without giving or expecting emotional commitment. Coming up: UNO & Friends by Gameloft.

In a press release distributed earlier today, Gameloft revealed that it has teamed up with Mattel to produce and distribute UNO & Friends, the next iteration of the popular UNO card game. The new installment, titled UNO & Friends, is playable across multiple platforms, including iOS, Android, Facebook, Nintendo 3DS, and PS Vita. You can play and chat with up to three of your buddies regardless of the platform that you wield.

The original UNO is still a popular download on the App Store.

Gonzague de Vallois, Senior Vice President of Publishing at Gameloft, is looking forward to spreading more and friendship through UNO. ‘UNO is a world-renowned brand, and Gameloft is thrilled to be working with such a respected company as is Mattel on this ambitious project,’ he stated. ‘As our goal is to revolutionize the way people play UNO this new game and its new social features will be at the heart of UNO & Friends.’

Look for Uno & Friends on Facebook, iOS, and Android later this year. The Nintendo 3DS and PS Vita versions of the game will follow in spring 2013.

More stories on UNO™

Uno Review

Uno is another highly polished offering from Gameloft. The game is a faithful interpretation of one of our favorite childhood card games’”for better and for worse. Although this is undoubtedly Uno, we didn’t find it to be anywhere near as fun as the original game.

The game’s graphics are bright and well executed, with high contrast and a clean aesthetic in the classic graphic style of the cards. The game offers you a choice of in-game sound effects, or allows you to listen to your own tunes.

Several play modes are on offer here. You can play a quick game against computer opponents; enter a tournament; play locally or online via Wi-Fi; or swap one iDevice around. Each of these game options has its benefits, but none was a totally satisfying Uno experience.

The core of the problem is that Uno doesn’t really translate well to the iPhone platform. Uno has always been a social game, and this implementation’s interface breaks that social environment. That’s not to say the interface is bad. On the contrary, managing your hand and playing cards is done in way that feels very natural. You browse through your hand, and swipe/drag out the card you’d like to play.

But how do you gleefully shout “Uno!” in your opponents’ faces? You don’t–instead, you have to tap an “Uno” button right before you play your last card. It’s things like this that break the spirit of the original. Because the trash-talking, “Uno!” shouting, and card hiding are such an integral part of Uno, their absence is sorely felt.

Gameloft seems to have been well aware of Uno’s social nature, as the network play via Wi-Fi over your local network or the Internet has been nicely integrated. You won’t need to leave the game to set up an account to play. However, considering that the game limits play to a Wi-Fi connection, we expected speedier online play than we got. Maybe our opponents were just slow?

The closest the title gets to a proper social experience is in swap mode. You had your iDevice around to each player in turn (mind those reverses!). Unfortunately, swap-mode isn’t very smooth. You have to make your turn, pass the device to your opponent/friend, they have to tap the screen to access their cards, make their turn and then pass it on to the next player. A good game of card-based Uno can zip through at frenetic clip, but there’s no way to do that with this version.

In all, we had mixed feelings about Uno. The original game is so social, fast-paced, and focused on the cards themselves that it’s hard to see how any electronic version is going to stand up, whether it gets the Gameloft treatment or not. It may be a good choice to entertain children… but for about the same price, you can buy an equally portable set of Uno cards.