Deal or No Deal: Family Challenge Review (OTHER)

by February 10th, 2008
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Perhaps the most successful of them all…though, that’s not much of a compliment

He used to be a pain in even the crinkliest of bottoms, but since Deal or No Deal hit the TV screens, Noel Edmonds has become something of a legend among students and housewives alike. Now, with at least three DVD games already under his belt, Noel returns to host Deal or No Deal: Family Challenge. However, given that the TV show has such a simple concept, the game developers are faced with two main challenges; firstly, how to make the game exciting when you really have nothing to lose, and secondly, how to prevent a game of random selection from becoming too repetitive. Fortunately, the unique Family Challenge mode in this version successfully tackles the first problem, yet the second is still the stumper.

seeing the same clips again and again soon takes away the novelty

There have been a number of Deal or No Deal games across various consoles, and although they have the same format as the TV show, they normally fail to create the same tense atmosphere. This is purely because you have nothing to lose when you’re playing in the comfort of your own home. And single player mode on this DVD is no different as, no matter how badly you may be doing, you’ll still find yourself always clicking ‘No Deal’ all the way to the end, just to discover whether you had the £250,000.

When this is the case, there’s little point in the banker being there at all. Ironically, he obviously thought the same thing, as he doesn’t even feature in this DVD (you’ll often see Noel holding the phone to his ear, nodding and humming for five seconds, before giving an impossibly long speech). However, there are a couple of extra features that allow you to have a little more fun whenever the banker calls.

For example, before you make your choice, you’ll have various options to choose from to personalise your game, including asking for advice, asking the banker a random question, or even taking a lucky dip in the random box of props underneath the table. This allows you to be a little more creative with your game, though, be warned, you will be opening a Pandora’s Box to Noel’s comedy acting. It’s actually a little ironic that in a more family fun game like Telly Addicts, he remains serious throughout. Yet in a game where your next decision could realise or shatter your dreams, he comes across as auditioning for a part in next year’s panto season.

Nonetheless, as entertaining as they are, these features will only delay you from clicking ‘No Deal’ straight away. Instead, it is only in the multiplayer game that you’ll find yourself Noel’s question a little more carefully.

The Family Challenge mode allows up to five players to compete against each other. You’ll have to choose the boxes as a group, but each player will individually choose when to deal in order to claim the biggest profit. This time, you’ll find the atmosphere becoming increasingly tense as you finally have something at stake: your pride.

Deal or No Deal: Family Challenge However, although this tackles the first problem, the developers failed to solve the issue of repetition, and may have even made it worse.

If the TV show only featured one player opening boxes in an empty studio, it would’ve been cancelled a long time ago. But the one element that keeps each programme unique is the banter between the main contestant and their friends in the wings. The developers tried to incorporate the same feeling here; re-introducing some of the more memorable contestants to offer support each time you open a box. Unfortunately, this does include the return of Bunney. And, if he didn’t annoy you before, just wait until you see his own brand of cringe-worthy comedy acting.

But while the amounts in the boxes may change each time you play, the accompanying clip does not. And as much as watching Doug boast about his ‘big one’ may tickle you, seeing the same clips again and again soon takes away the novelty. In fact, the limited variety unwittingly makes the game even more tedious than you would expect.

And this is not the only example where a good idea is ruined by strict limitations. The DVD also includes a Banker mode allowing two players go head to head: one in the crazy chair, the other as the banker. Yet, this is extremely disappointing as the ‘banker ‘has very little freedom when it comes to making his offers. Each time the phone rings, he must select a value from three different options, sometimes with only a £1,000 difference between each one. As the choices are so similar, you may as well just play the single player mode, rather than forcing a mate to waste a good half hour in this redundant role.

On a lighter note, this DVD does come with its own special feature. Players are allowed to take a trip to the dream factory archive, offering some of the best outtakes from the show and even a two-minute exploration of what happens behind the scenes (which basically covers how the boxes are selected?well, what more were you expecting?).

Overall, despite throwing in some good ideas, they were never really expanded to their full potential. The Family Challenge mode is definitely worth a try, yet the strict limitations on the number of in-game clips mean you’re still only likely to play it a couple of times before it goes back to the shelf.

The Good: Family Challenge mode finally makes this game interesting. Definitely a good laugh for the first couple of tries.
The Bad: The lack of variety in the clips means the game soon becomes very repetitive. You’re unlikely to play it more than a couple of times.

Deal or No Deal: Family Challenge 

3 3 / 5
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Tim Regan

I recently graduated from the University of East Anglia, Norwich, with a 2:1 degree in Law. Since then I have been writing film and video game reviews for websites on a voluntary basis in hope of becoming a full time reviewer in the future. When I am not writing reviews, I am normally meeting with friends, or continuing my lessons in Ballroom, Latin American, and Street dance that I began three years ago.

Latest posts by Tim Regan (see all)

About Tim Regan

I recently graduated from the University of East Anglia, Norwich, with a 2:1 degree in Law. Since then I have been writing film and video game reviews for websites on a voluntary basis in hope of becoming a full time reviewer in the future. When I am not writing reviews, I am normally meeting with friends, or continuing my lessons in Ballroom, Latin American, and Street dance that I began three years ago.