Review: The Price Is Right (PC)

The Price Is Right
Genre: Game Show
Developer: Ludia
Publisher: Ubisoft
Release Date: 09/22/08

Contestant, come on doooooooooooooooooooooooooooowwwwwwwwwwwwwn!

Come on, who didn’t love The Price Is Right growing up? Nothing was as fun as watching people who wore the strangest T-shirts bid for random junk, or watching some guy win after bidding just a dollar. It’s strange to think that the show is still going with Drew Carey as the host; I know personally along with several other people that we associate the show with the previous host, Bob Barker. Amazingly there hasn’t really been a video game version of The Price Is Right since the Commodore 64. There has been a board game, a tiger electronic handheld version and a DVD game, but nothing for a home video game console.

Now that The Price Is Right has finally made it’s way back to the PC and home video game consoles, the major question is for $20, is that price right for this video game?

The main mode of the game is the Classic Game, which tries to replicate what you see on TV. Initially you are asked to choose an avatar and name that avatar. On thing you’ll notice right away is the fact that most of the avatars are just plain ugly. Not just in the sense that the avatars aren’t well detailed or modeled, the overall design of these characters is just bad. Once you’ve taken care of that you start the game by hearing Player One, come on doooooooooooooooowwwn. At least this part of the game is done right using a voice actor that sounds a lot like the old announcer Rod Roddy. Once your character makes it to Contestants Row you get a chance to bid on a product with four other contestants.

Here’s where the game makes its first stumble, in my opinion. There’s no host. The Rod Roddy sound alike still talks and describes the products, but the game doesn’t really feel that much like a game show without a host. There’s no Bob Barker, no Drew Carey, nothing. Personally I don’t care if Drew Carey had been in the game, but where’s Bob Barker? I can’t imagine watching Deal or No Deal without Howie Mandel’s bald dome glaring in the stage lights, and it doesn’t feel like The Price Is Right without Barker.

From the bidding war on Contestants Row, if you win you move onto one of the mini-games based on the actual games played on the show, such as Plinko, Flip Flop, Shell Game, Hole in One, and more. After watching the show for years you’d think I would’ve realized how these games are thinly disguised infomercials for the products on display, but it wasn’t until I played the game that I really noticed it. There are times when you can’t just skip the product description even when you want to move onto the next product. Watching the show I understood that the games weren’t that much different than each other, when playing the games this is even more apparent. Most are just slight variations of choosing higher/lower. Anyone who watches the show knows this, but when you sit down and play these games in a smaller form over and over again it just stands out that much more.

After playing one of the games then you’ll have the option of spinning the wheel in the Showcase Showdown. This just involved clicking and dragging the mouse over the wheel and hoping for the best. If you win then you move onto the showcase.

The Showcase is the longest part of the game due to not being able to skip the descriptions on the products. Text is displayed at the bottom of the screen and I’d generally be done reading it long before the announcer was done describing the items. Then you guess an amount closest to what you believe the showcase is worth without going over. If you are closer than the other person you win.

An entire single player game might take about 5-6 minutes. When you cut out commercials, the other contestants playing, etc, that is about all that’s left.

There is also a multiplayer mode for the game where you can challenge other people, except the multiplayer doesn’t make sense. If Player One wins Contestants Row (or vice versa) then Player Two automatically gets to move on as well. No matter what you spin in the Showcase Showdown the final two players will still be Player One and Player Two. Instead of whoever winning the Showcase winning the game, it comes down to whoever has the most money. Most of the time that will be whoever wins the Showcase, but there are times when the Showcase will be worth less than items won in the mini-games. It’s odd that they made that design decision.

Outside of multiplayer and the classic game mode, there’s also a 3 Strikes mode, which plays like the classic game except that you can only make 3 mistakes. Then there are Challenges, where you can choose to play any of the Pricing Games separately if you have unlocked them for high scores.

That’s the entire game.

To be fair, even though the graphics are simple the set designs match perfectly for what you would expect for The Price Is Right, and the Showcase features real video footage from past shows Showcases. There’s not very much sound outside of the well done voice acting by the announcer and the main theme for the game. The sound effects seem authentic to the Pricing Games, and the big wheel sounds like the big wheel. The avatars look ugly, and animate really badly, but at the same time just about anyone can run this game on their home PC. Considering this isn’t a large budget FPS and is instead a budget version of a game show, the game doesn’t need to be in ultra high definition. The graphics are simple but they do a good job representing the game show.

The mouse controls work perfectly. All of the games use a point and click interface, and it’s very easy to understand.

If you are a fan of The Price Is Right and are looking for a video game experience to capture some of the magic of the show, then this is a decent game for the price. There’s no Bob Barker, no random T-Shirts, and the whole game seems designed to allow people who haven’t upgraded their computer in the last seven years to be able to still play the game, but it is still manages to embody the general spirit of the show.

The Scores:
Game Modes: Mediocre
Graphics: Poor
Sound: Enjoyable
Control/Gameplay: Great
Replayability: Decent
Balance: Decent
Originality: Mediocre
Addictiveness: Below Average
Appeal: Above Average
Miscellaneous: Good
Final Score: Mediocre Game

Short Attention Span Summary:
If you are a fan of the TV show, and your computer can run the most recent IE, then you can play The Price Is Right on your PC. The game seems light on different game modes, and the Classic game mode will last you only a few minutes, but it does a good job presenting the show and is a fun way of killing time. At $20 I’m not sure if the price is right, but it’s worth checking out if you are a fan.

Thank you, and remember to spay or neuter your pets!



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3 responses to “Review: The Price Is Right (PC)”

  1. […] multiple choice. Until voice recognition software gets better, virtual Jeopardy! will always suck. The Price Is Right can’t seem to do better than mediocre, but with Drew Carey around, how good could it […]

  2. Terry Avatar

    I work at Ludia, and we developed this game, Ubisoft only published it. Correct it.

    1. Matt Yeager Avatar
      Matt Yeager

      Corrected, thank you.

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