The Price is Right Review
Posted by James Newton
No it isn't
Guess a number. Wrong. Wait ten seconds, then guess again. Wrong. Wait ten seconds, then guess again. Wrong.
Now all this exciting number-guessing action can be yours to own with the release of Ludia’s The Price is Right for DSiWare! Yes, you too can estimate the prices of fanciful items you can’t win, compete against AI opponents that range from bone-headed to professional valuers and take part in games that vary from the enjoyable to downright painful.
Some game shows work well as video games – Who Wants to be a Millionaire is a perfect example – because they rely on a heady combination of skill and knowledge, but The Price is Right doesn’t really require either. Granted, it’s to be commended for sticking to the TV show’s format so closely: you begin with Contestants Row before progressing to other stages including Plinko, the Showcase Showdown and Cliff Hangers, and the enthusiastic voiceover from series stalwart Richard Fields does help to inject some excitement.
In fact, sticking to the show so closely gets the game into trouble. Classic mode is pretty brutal: if you don’t guess correctly on Contestants Row, you’re knocked out and have to wait through a loading screen before you can try again. Skip straight to Three Strikes, which lets you progress through the game until you accumulate – you guessed it – three strikes, at which point you’re eliminated and can play all over again, if you so wish.
As you’d expect, playing The Price is Right on your own is about as fun as watching Drew Carey take a bath. Although there’s a wide range of items to bid on, few of them will hold any sort of relatable value to most gamers – in fact, whilst we’re on the subject, why was this game released in Europe first if all the prices are in dollars? At least each item has a set price, so if you really want to succeed you could memorise every price, which might make you a little bit unpopular in multiplayer.
Thankfully taking a hotseat approach, multiplayer lets you pit your number skills against three friends to win imaginary prizes. There is some good fun to be had in competitive play that can’t be found against the AI, but even so it’s hard to shake the feeling you’re just guessing numbers, with nothing to show for it other than new haircuts and clothes for your in-game representative.
The Price is Right is a faithful facsimile of the TV programme and diehard fans will appreciate the level of detail that went into replicating it. That said, the asking price of 800 Points is a large hurdle, and it’s hard to shake the feeling your money’s going on licensing and production costs rather than buying you a quality game, making it impossible to recommend.