Electronic Arts’ partnership with Nokia has resulted in some welcome videogame titles arriving on Lumia handsets, along with some unexpected releases. Oddly, Yahtzee sits somewhere between the two; hardly revolutionary and yet never less than enjoyable.
This is a videogame adaptation of the dice throwing game in its purest form: throw five dice, and over three attempts try to create the highest score possible for entry on your score sheet. There are two tiers of scores, upper and lower, which chart everything from a standard collection of a single number to straights and full houses. Matches can be played solo or against up to three others – any combination of human (local only) and AI players – and there’s even a short campaign to ease newcomers into the fold.
In addition to the standard match type Yahtzee offers Rainbow, Duplicate and Battle variants. Rainbow adds coloured dice to the mix, along with new five-of-a-kind and full house rolls, while Duplicate sees all players having to make the best scores possible out of the exact same dice. Battle mode begins each player with 100 health points then uses lower scores to damage opponents and upper scores to restore lost health. The variety of gameplay modes is certainly welcome, and most players will find their preferred option early on.
The presentation of Yahtzee is remarkably high calibre. The visual and aural design is hardly pushing the Windows Phone OS, but the package is certainly given a spit-shine thanks to the inclusion of cartoon characters and varied backdrops. With this, Yahtzee is cast as a videogame that does many things right without ever rocking the boat. It’s not a top tier production by any means, but those gamers looking for a casual five minute fling every-now-and-then could do far worse.