Similar to its sibling Silver Star Chess, the latest game from Agetec is a decent but barebones take on a classic board game. The game of Reversi dates back to late 19th century England and has been known in modern times as Othello. Two players take turns placing black and white dots on an 8 by 8 grid, trying to create horizontal, vertical, or diagonal lines that start and end with their designated color and sandwiches at least one of their opponent's pieces. Once that line is made, the entire line changes to their color, with the player's goal is to have their respective color cover a majority of the board.
Sound like fun? I sure hope so, because there's not much more going on than this basic game. Still, the tyrannical overlords at Nintendo Life want its reviewers to give a decent explanation of a game's different modes, settings, features, etc., so here it goes: It's Reversi.
Now, to be fair, there are a few gameplay options. Games can be played by one or two local players and as its official description proudly states, "you can choose from five different computer opponents, turn the background music on or off, adjust sound effects and access in-game help features."
That second option will definitely come in handy, as the music is expectedly unremarkable. It's not terribly distracting, but don't expect many OverClocked ReMixes in the future. Similarly, the graphics are fairly cookie-cutter: character models have that bland anime appearance which has taken over just about everything from Castlevania to Saturday morning cartoons. Yet all that matters is the black and white dots placed on a grid, and messing that up would be a fairly extraordinary achievement.
Control is done either through directing a pointer via the IR sensor, or going NES-style and using the D-pad to move around. After a match, moves can be rewound, changed, and restarted like any good video game adaption of a board game should offer, and entire games can also be saved mid-match and resumed later. Though the game places dots on potential areas in which you can place new pieces and also offers light "hints" during play, there is nothing to compare to something like Chessmaster's abundance of lessons, tutorials, and exercises.
The game appears to have a level of polish suggesting it's more in line with Ubisoft's robust take on chess, but a closer look will reveal that it's very lacking. It seems that the developer should have gone all-or-nothing: either strive to be the most comprehensive and feature-packed offering of Reversi on the market or just act as a digital board game (similar to Nintendo's own Wii Chess). Silver Star Reversi for the Wii leans towards the latter, but still provides enough to appear as though it's trying to be the former.
One thing that Silver Star Reversi inarguably does right is sell for the asking price of only 500 points (the lowest possible price for WiiWare). That's not meant as an insult, but rather as a compliment to the game's self-aware and non-bloated price: after all, there's not much more insulting to the gaming consumer than an overpriced but subpar game.
It’s difficult to recommend Silver Star Reversi wholeheartedly, however its core gameplay and frugal price make it difficult to dismiss. When a video game reviewer is judging a less-than-thrilling adaption of a classic board game, they will invariably suggest that the gamer simply go out and buy a physical copy. Aside from the logical fallacy (if they're a fan of the original board game, then they probably already own a copy and are enquiring about this particular adaption!), it's actually probably cheaper to buy Silver Star Reversi rather than a decent copy of the board game. Both offer the same positive attributes: make of that what you will.