Deal or No Deal (Wii)

Let’s make this simple: If you like the Nintendo Wii and you like television’s Deal or No Deal, you’ll love Deal or No Deal for the Nintendo Wii. If (like me) you wonder what people see in the Deal or No Deal television show, you (like me) will probably wonder why anyone would want to play it at home with no possibility of winning real cash.

In all fairness, Deal or No Deal for the Wii plays exactly like the television show. Players (yes, you can use your Mii!) choose one of 26 briefcases, each of which contain an amount of money between one cent and one million dollars. The rest of the game is spent eliminating the other 25 briefcases on whatever order you choose. Throughout the game, the “banker” will stop the action and offer to pay you mathematically-calculated sums of money in order to quit.

Like the television show, the virtual game is hosted by Howie Mandell, appearing here as a slightly odd-looking bobble head. Each briefcase is also accompanied by a virtual model which also resembles a bobble head, proportion-wise. (Each model has a name, although I’m not sure if they correlate with the real models from the show.) The real-world set has been faithfully reproduced here, and the game is presented through enough different camera angles that you get the feeling you are participating in a real television program. (All of the cinematics can, thankfully, be skipped by pressing “A”. Play the game more than once and you’ll be pressing “A” a lot.)

Briefcases are chosen by pointing and clicking on them with the Wiimote, which shouldn’t be that difficult. On my 35″ television the briefcases are bearable but I can see it being challenging on televisions smaller than mine; You also have to click directly on the briefcases; you can’t click on the (much larger) models standing behind them. After each case is opened, the model standing behind it will react appropriately; they’ll cheer when you open a low one and “aww” when you open a high one. The game continues until you open all the briefcases, or accept the banker’s offer, both of which seem kind of moot when you’re not playing for real money. (I checked my Wii’s disc slot afterwards; the game dispenses no cash.)

In addition to normal television rules, the game also allows you to play custom games, which for the most part correspond with the Deal or No Deal television specials (more than one million dollar briefcase, for example). I didn’t think these variations were any more (or any less) exciting than the original, just different.

Deal or No Deal also offers various challenge games where players can “bet it all” or even play as the banker (which I thought was interesting). The disc also contains three mini-games, none of which held my attention for more than two minutes. In “Push Your Luck”, players randomly pick briefcases until they find an empty one, at which point the game ends. In “Sharp Shooter” the briefcases fly around the screen and players must shoot them. “BlackJack” plays just like the traditional card game, substituting briefcases for cards.

Deal or No Deal also has 25 achievements to unlock, if that’s your thing, and also tracks high scores of every game and displays them on a leaderboard which is viewable from almost every single menu.

I’ve always considered Deal or No Deal to be largely a game of chance, and like most slot machines, once the ability to win real cash has been removed, the game loses most of its appeal to me. Fans of the television show who have always wanted to play Deal or No Deal in their living room can now live out their fantasy with this game for the Wii. For anyone else, I’d recommend a rental as I got bored after about fifteen minutes.

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