Bingo has made it to Nintendo Switch. This simple number based pastime is something many of us have likely played at some point in our lives be it as kids, down the local bingo hall with a few drinks or maybe even at an old dilapidated arcade by the beach on a short family trip. Its rules ingrained into our brains along with the ridiculously silly nicknames for the numbers (Legs 11 and Tickety-boo 62 anyone?) it also didn’t hurt there was a fat cash prize for the winner. Monetary gain removed and a few extra modes added though, is BINGO for Nintendo Switch still a good time for all?
BINGO for Nintendo Switch includes four modes playable for up to four players (both human and AI). Classic Bingo is exactly that following the standard rules of the popular hobby – numbers called one by one as players mark them off on a randomised five by five grid. Winning conditions are tweaked slightly however where a line horizontally, vertically or diagonally ends the game. Points are then distributed (whilst also being removed for false claims) and the next game continues if multiple are chosen.
Buzzer Bingo is all about speed, every number called out a mad dash to claim it first should you have it in your grid. If more than one player has the number then only the fastest will be able to check it off, that number then permanently greyed out on the loser’s grids making scoring a line tougher. Jump the gun and incorrectly claim a number you don’t have and you’ll also be penalised knocking points off your total and making you miss a turn. It is this mode in particular where the random layout of numbers on your bingo grid makes it more frustrating than it needs to be to search through. Regular bingo cards keep numbers in an order for just this reason and it seems silly the same design isn’t applied here. I would often find myself much slower especially playing against the AI who would find a number in a fraction of a second.
Slider Bingo is a weird one where players take turns to literally slide a single row or column of their grid along in the hopes of achieving a full line of red highlighted numbers. After each turn, another number is tinted red in an effort to make things easier. Might not sound so tough but the catch here is that every move made by a player affects the other three. As you can imagine this creates a fair amount of mix-up as you try to prevent your move from potentially helping others and vice versa.
Last of all is Bingo Poker, easily the most confusing of the bunch. Players take turns picking a randomised number. If it’s one needed then they can claim it for themselves with the catch this time being that they must also eliminate another in their grid as a trade. Numbers can also be claimed even when it’s not a player’s turn, using one of three “Get” tokens if they see it drawn by someone else. This mode is all about eliminating areas of your grid you don’t need and capturing numbers that will get you closer to scoring a line making good use of your “Get” tokens.
Despite the game trying desperately to add some variety to the mix, none of the modes feel particularly fun. Even when the game mixes the bingo formula up the end result is pointless at best. Pace and excitement are easily the game’s biggest problems though, a lot of your time spent sifting through numbers you don’t need and simply waiting around pressing a single button every so often. Even when you do win, the feeling you get is one of relief rather than joy simply because the game is over.
On the more positive side, the game’s visual style is fine sporting pastel colours and a cutesy clock character. The audio, however, is terrible playing the same grating song over and over from menu to gameplay. Play options include docked and handheld, the latter allowing for two players to view the screen on each side.
BINGO for Nintendo Switch is tedious, repetitive and just plain dull. None of the four available games offer anything close to fun, the constant focus on searching for numbers wearing out its welcome quickly. Bottom line, there are so many great ways to spend your time on the Switch and BINGO isn’t one of them.
Version Tested: Nintendo Switch
Review copy provided by Starsign