Bingo For Nintendo Switch
Reviewed by Pat Lunn
We’re still in a very experiment period for the Nintendo Switch. A lot of publishers and developers are trying to work out whether they can ship shovel-ware to the console, and how best to make successful games for the new portable/home console market. Luckily, Starsign have managed to design a perfect example of how not to do it with Bingo For Nintendo Switch.
It's comprised of 4 game modes; Buzzer Bingo, Slide Bingo, Bingo Poker and Classic Bingo. Each game is a slight variation on classic Bingo formula, wherein a number is called and you blot it off on your card.
In each game mode there are ways to earn points by either being the first to blot your number, or stealing points when your opponents blot their pages by mistake. Throw in a few options around blotter colour and the ability to play alongside 3 other players, and that's just about everything Bingo For Nintendo Switch has to offer. I wondered why this struck me as so lacking in content and I came to the conclusion that the problem is twofold; a lack of stakes and a lack of agency.
For a game to feel rewarding it needs to give the players a feeling that they have earned something, whether that’s an S rank or a trophy, but with Bingo there is no sense of triumph.
Of course there is a leaderboard, but with no tangible rewards in game everything just feels hollow and meaningless. This wouldn’t be so bad, I mean there are plenty of games that find ways to be fun without a reward system, if only the player had some agency over the events on screen.
Unfortunately, Bingo is entirely chance based, you have no choice in the numbers you are given or the numbers drawn. Even in the alternative modes, you can play a perfectly strategic game only to be beaten by another player who's got the right numbers.
Sometimes the random number generator falls in your favour and other times it comes up short, but either way, you have no bearing upon it. This creates a constant feeling of dissatisfaction and unfairness that no one wants in their games. Combined with the lack of reward, it just feels like you’re going through the motions in each match for nothing.
I have to admit that Bingo For Nintendo Switch has some nice aesthetic design, for a game about blotting numbers it’s surprisingly nice to look at, unfortunately this feels more like I’m damming with fine praise. The gameplay is nonexistent and there is absolutely no skill required in any of the four modes. It might be a nice purchase for your Nan if she’s missing nights out at the local Bingo hall but I can’t think of anyone else who would want to drop money on this.
Pros & Cons
+ Nice aesthetics
+ Faithful recreation of Bingo
+ Four distinct modes
- No tangible reward
- No sense of agency
- Non-existent gameplay