Product Type: Mindscape Nintendo DS games
Newest Review: ... of the prisoner's dilemma, where it is better for both players to share the winnings, but it is possible for them to cheat. Although t... more
Join Jasper Carrott for a round of Goldenballs on the DS
Golden Balls (DS)
Member Name: julwhite
Golden Balls (DS)
Advantages: Fast paced, maybe interesting for children
Disadvantages: Poorly produced, not much long term interest to be had
This review is for the Nintendo DS game, Golden Balls, released at the end of 2008. The game is based on the ITV television game show of the same name, presented by comedian and entertainer Jasper Carrott.
To quickly summarise the game for those that haven't seen the television version, you play against three other players. There are several rounds in the game, and the essence of the show is that you have to convince the other players that you hold some high valued balls, which contain cash amounts for the players to win, as opposed to killer balls, which destroy the cash prizes.
To get through the rounds, you have to convince the other players to believe you if you have good balls with high cash prizes, or to trick the other players into thinking you have high prizes if you in fact don't. The highest possible prize is 75,000 pounds, and the final round of the game is a version of the prisoner's dilemma, where it is better for both players to share the winnings, but it is possible for them to cheat.
Although this may sound a little complex for a game show, it's easy to pick up and follow. Unfortunately, the plot of the television show is very hard to translate to the Nintendo DS, as the fun in the game is for the other players to guess what value prize balls, or killer balls, you have in your possession. Without that, the game is really just a bit hollow.
When the game starts, the graphics are nothing to be excited about, and are actually quite poor. Although they do the job that they are intended to do, and it is clear what is happening, not much effort has really gone into them. The sound is helped a bit by some clips of Jasper Carrott, which adds a little bit of genuineness to the game, but the effects are irritating and repetitive.
In terms of the playability and the ease of use, the game does play quite well. It's easy to know what is happening in the game, and the menus and controls are all logical and easy to use. This may make the game interesting for children, as they can easily learn how to play the game, and it may keep them entertained for a while!
Playing through the game is, as explained above, rather hollow and pointless. Regardless of what you do, you can be voted out of the game almost randomly, and if you do progress through to the final round, the amounts that you win almost just obtained by random chance. Overall this means that there is little skill to the game, and with a little thought by the programmers, this problem could have been over-come to make the game more interesting.
Unfortunately game show conversions to consoles and computers often do fall into the trap of being repetitive and disappointing, because it is impossible to convert the thrill of winning money and the reaction from other players onto a computer. Deal or No Deal had a similar problem, where you just keep playing and winning various amounts by almost random, with no skill involved. At least games which are conversions from TV quiz shows do have a element of challenge about them.
The game retails for 19.99 pounds, but is currently available on Amazon for 8.98 pounds including delivery. If you're happy with a second hand copy, these are available at the time of writing for around five pounds on sites such as eBay and Amazon. The game is rated as 3+, so is suitable for children of nearly all ages.
Overall, this isn't a very good game. The production quality looks very rushed throughout, there isn't much effort given to the presentation, playability or structure of the game. It may be fun to play for just a few games, but there is little long term interest to be had from this title, and unless you're a real fan of the show, or can get the game at a rock bottom price, you're probably best to stay away from this one.
Summary: Not very impressive - not much thought put in to the playability