Deal or No Deal: Around the World Review

The developers of the original Deal or No Deal iPhone game took a minimalist approach, and the game fell flat on its crappy face. Now, with Around the World, a second attempt to translate the TV game show into a videogame has hit the App Store. Can this new version redeem the show’s tarnished name? Keep reading to find out.

The first thing you’ll notice if you were unfortunate enough to play the original game is that the music remains unchanged. That doesn’t bode well, because the music was and is an annoying rock riff. The good news is that the graphics and interface have been improved. Indeed, it looks like this time around they decided to put some time and money into developing the game. Hooray, right?

Unfortunately, there was only so much they could do, because this is still Deal or No Deal, a game where the concept simply does not translate well to videogame format. It goes like this: 26 dollar amounts between one cent and a million bucks are are written on cards kept in 26 briefcases. As the game progresses, you pick briefcases randomly, and the dollar amounts within are removed from play. The goal is to eliminate as many low denominations as possible. Periodically, the banker, a dude who doesn’t want you to take off with the million, will offer you money, based on the amounts left in play, to stop playing.

You’ll have this look on your face, too, if you play this game.

The only substantial decision you’ll make in the game is whether or not to take what the banker offers. The reason this is an interesting concept on TV is because real money is on the line, and you are rooting for the likable contestant. In the videogame, money is replaced by boring old points, and the contestant is you.

The Around the World subtitle refers to a gimmick the developer uses to dress up this snooze-worthy game concept. The idea is that you can play through and unlock matches in eight countries. New countries are introduced through lackluster five-second-long photo montages.

The best thing about this game is that an attractive model attends each suitcase. As a bonus, the models are dressed according to stereotypes of each country. In Egypt, for instance, they’re wearing Cleopatra costumes. You can zoom in on the models too, if you want to ogle them. On the downside, the game only sports a few faces for the models, so you’ll often see models standing next to their identical twins.

A host guides you through the game, but for some reason it’s not Howie Mandel. He actually speaks this time around, which is nice, but he only has a few stock phrases that end up repeating quickly.

As you play, the host will poll your “family” to see what they think you should do. The screen shows a family in shadows, and a “deal” or “no deal” sign pops up above each person’s head. Their suggestions seem randomly generated, making their input superfluous. This pointless addition is also time consuming. Luckily, you can keep tapping the screen to skip past the section. In fact, you can keep tapping the screen to skip through plodding animations throughout the game, a handy feature to help you end the game as quickly as possible, something we strongly recommend you do.

Go ahead, zoom in.

When you’ve had enough of the normal mode, you can enter the “Play as the Banker” mode. This mode has you watch as the briefcases open up automatically. Every so often it will ask you to make an offer to the computer contestant, which is either accepted or declined. Rest assured that there is no fun to be found here. There’s also a multiplayer mode, where you and your friend can each open up cases to see who accumulates the most money. Or, you could just flip a coin and then do something worthwhile with your time.

Even if you’re a fan of the show, you still won’t find much of any enjoyment in this game. With gameplay rooted mostly in chance (you could have a monkey throwing darts at briefcases, and the results would be the same as if you’d picked them yourself), this game is utterly pointless. If you insist on trying it out, just play the free flash version here.

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