I haven’t played bingo outside of PS2’s Muppets Party Cruise which had a novel twist on the game, and a little bit of The Four Kings Casino and Slots. However, slipping onto the PS5 store at a budget price, I picked up Party Bingo for a local multiplayer palette cleanser. It offers four ways to play the game for up to 4 players locally, with bots filling in any open spaces. It’s functional graphics and single music track aside initially sets you up for an underwhelming experience but there is definitely some fun to be had.
Classic bingo is here in its full glory. A ball is randomly drawn and each player moves around their bingo card to stamp that number if they have it. First to create a horizontal, vertical or diagonal row wins. It is entirely luck based (and then speed at the very last hurdle to stamp your card) which is why its great Party Bingo has other modes as you’ll spend more time with them. Buzzer Bingo makes every number a speed buzzer press. First to hit the buzzer to claim the number wins it, and everyone else that had the number has a red mark instead, blocking their row from completion. If you buzz for a number you don’t have on your card, you miss the next turn. This is fun for a short while and an easy game for non gamers to pick up quickly.
Slide Bingo turns your bingo card into a mini puzzle and strategy game. Each player starts with five marked numbers on their card and then take turns moving a column or row on their card horizontally or vertically one space. The trick here is, you are moving everyone’s card so as you try to move your 5 marked numbers into a complete row, you might be helping someone else. After everyone plays a turn, a new number is randomly stamped on the card, meaning each move can potential to help someone else. I found this mode a great light strategy game and a decent side step from just pressing x over some numbers. Lastly, Poker Bingo gives you a new number each round and if you have it on your card, you can choose to keep it or discard it, but if you keep it, you’ll have to discard and block out a different number on your card. This means each turn forces you to choose a path and attempt to win it and if someone else gets a number you want, if they discard it, you have the option to snatch it with 3 “get” tokens. I found the “get” tokens to be really inconsistent and often the game didn’t seem to trigger the “get” action when I thought it should do. Maybe I misunderstood the mechanic but that left me a bit underwhelmed with this mode.
That’s it. Party Bingo is functional, succinct but largely does exactly what you’d expect it to do. Whilst it is not going to trouble my favourite local multiplayer games, it did go down well with some of my older friends who don’t really game. Its simplicity is key and considering its only £1.69 on PC, you could do far worse.
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