Rummikub (DSiWare)

Game Review

Rummikub Review

USA USA Version

Posted by Bryan Griffin

Basic and boring or fantastic and fun?

If classic board, card and table top games that have been brought to the DSiWare service were pop stars, solitaire would be Lady Gaga and Rummikub would be Kelly Rowland (formerly of Destiny's Child). While one stands alone and captures the attention of millions, the other struggles with popularity unless they are paired with more star power in a compilation. Many people know of the game in their non-Nintendo lives, but it's probably not anyone's top favourite to gather some friends together and play on a Saturday night. It hit the peak of its popularity in 1977 and is still fairly popular today in the right circles, such as nursing home social gatherings. However, if you've never heard of the game, you likely aren't the only one. So, what is Rummikub? If you threw dominoes, rummy and mahjong in a blender you would get Rummikub, and the flavour would be an acquired taste.

This is only as hard as it is for you to learn the rules. If you're familiar with them already, the difficulty depends on who you are playing against. The AI in the game is a worthy opponent and offers four levels of difficulty; good luck on expert mode, because the AI is a beast that doesn't care about your name or face. It will stomp you to the ground and laugh at your pain. As with all similar games on the service, this is probably best played with a friend, so be thankful it includes a local wireless multiplayer option for up to four people. Hold back the enthusiasm kids! Everyone can get a turn!

The point of the game is to clear your rack of all the tiles, while forcing your opponent to pick up more. There are 106 tiles consisting of 104 that are numbered in suits and two jokers that act as wild cards. By clicking and dragging with the stylus on the touchscreen, you'll form groups and runs on the playing table. A group is defined as a set of three or four tiles with the same numbers but a different colour (blue 5, red 5, black 5, yellow 5); a run is a consecutive set of numbers of the same colour (blue 5, blue 6, blue 7, blue 8).

The fun of Rummikub comes from manipulating the table by rearranging or adding to existing sets. It's dry, it's old school and it is what it is, but there’s a ton of strategy involved so the replay value is infinite. The first few rounds may seem slow, but as the game moves along it becomes a brain crunch. You can set a timer for each round if you wish, but beginning players should probably opt for no time limit. Once you’re familiar with the rules and flow of the game, you can have a pretty good time. If you enjoy games such as chess, Rummikub might be worth a look. You’ll be thinking several moves ahead, anticipating your opponent’s choices, and taking advantage of their mistakes.

This version of Rummikub isn't going to win over any new fans, especially because the presentation isn't spectacular or even mediocre. A stock photo of a happy family playing the game and a few animations of a tile being crushed by hundreds of other tiles is the bulk of what you’ll be seeing. You can change the background of the playing table to such exciting themes as party (pink balloons) or movie (a classic film camera), but the excitement doesn't stop there! No, you can set the volume of the single music track that loops constantly. But wait, there's more! You can adjust the volume of the beeping noises that pass as sound effects too! Isn't that great?


This is just a basic version of the same game people have been playing since the 1930s. If you enjoy getting together with friends and playing the classics that were popular before all this video game nonsense, it might be for you. If that doesn’t sound like your thing, you’ll probably play for a total of three minutes after you download it, and then promptly banish it to your SD card. Rummikub for DSiWare will likely drift silently into obscurity like a former member of a top-selling girl group.

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User Comments (16)



KeeperBvK said:

Don't be put off by the low rating and the premise of yet another parlor game. Rummikub is definitely at least worth a look.



she_gamer said:

This is one of the few board games I still play... but I kinda doubt it would be as fun with just me.



sonic_brawler95 said:

I just remembered what Rummikub was, all the times I played it with my gram. 800 points seems like a bit too much, though. Maybe I'll give it a look sometime in the future.



KeeperBvK said:

When love takes over!...doesn't necessarily fit in here, but it's the only one I could come up with from the back of my head. ^^



Victoria said:

Even with the low rating, I hope this comes out in the UK soon. It's my favourite game to on the computer, which I don't play on much since getting a DSi.



Froggievilleus said:

I think the rating was too low and the review a bit harsh. I downloaded it and have been enjoying it. I would have given it a 7.



supercommando440 said:

Here we go again... another subpar review. How about a menu screen shot or some information about whether or not the game tracks wins/losses for solo OR multiplayer? Or any other gameplay stats? Any sort of progression or tournement system? Just play a round and that's it? If this game has no sort of progression model or tournament, or story... no stats, no win loss records the HOW exactly does this game have "infinite" replay value? Stats, records, progression models provide incentive for that replay value. I think what you meant to say is the game rules lend itself to having 'infinite" strategy combinations. But as far as REPLAY value is concerned, is this game THAT bare bones? No stats? No win/loss tracking?



James said:

Hey supercommand440, cheers for your feedback on the review. The only thing I can comment on is the screenshots - we use the screenshots provided by developers, publishers and Nintendo itself, so it's entirely up to them what shots are available.

Sorry we couldn't satiate your desire for pictures of menus but hopefully in future we can do better



supercommando440 said:

Can someone answer ANY of my other questions regarding other features like stat tracking, wins/losses, or anything else that would provide replay value and possibly sway me to actually purchase this game?



B-ry said:

@supercommando440 - the game does not track your wins or losses, but you are awarded some arbitrary medals for completing certain tasks (defeating the AI on certain difficulty levels, winning with a certain time limit, etc). These are assigned to the profile you create, which you can name and choose an avatar for. There isn't a story or anything resembling a progression system. . As you put it, it's "play a round and that's it". As for the replay value, it is infinite in the same way a classic real-life chess game's replay value is infinite (or poker, Monopoly, etc). .

Rummikub itself is a time-tested fun game. I was reviewing this iteration for DsiWare, which is subpar compared to similar parlor games on the service. Please refer to our scoring guide, where a 5 is defined as "average" - and in my opinion, this game is as average as average can be.
Thanks for your comments!



C-Olimar said:

Rummikub takes over, yeaahh
Sorry couldn't resist.
Kelly Rowland wishes she was Beyoncé.

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