Monday, January 17, 2011

Review: Customer Reviews of BANG! the Official Video Game

Over at Board Game Geek, some people have downloaded and played the BANG! video game and noted the following:

- The game is pleasant looking, and the sound quality is nice. It provides an easy way to understand the rules of the game. On the flip side, they can be a little too in your face and irritating, and the card explanations are poorly displayed (or not displayed at all if others play cards). One reviewer explained
"During each player's turn you get a view of the full board with everyone's cards and whatnot. Perfect. That's what I'd expect. In the transition between turns, however, everything's wiped off the screen and a huge picture of the next player's face appears for a moment. Doesn't sound like much, but it gets old fast when it happens every 5 seconds. Sort of UI whiplash or something."

- The game is generally noted as being buggy and unfinished. For instance, 1 player noted having errors even during game installation, which made it impossible to play for 20 or so days after purchase when Palzoun patched it. In terms of it being unfinished, several options are not available, the most important being Multiplayer! Who'd have thought you were purchasing this to play against some crappy AI! There isn't even a normal difficulty yet available. Sadly, the Expansions (while listed), are not available either. At the moment, there is nothing to differentiate BANG! the official video game from KBang, which at least has great multiplayer, besides its cute graphics. In fact, it is far worse. Characters in the current release do not even have special abilities yet. This was a surprise for some players. One remarked,
You know the game's not off to a good start when you're Willy the Kid and the game automatically ends your turn after one Bang! played with two more in your hand.

The AI is as bad as KBang's, in that the Outlaws will not band together to shoot the Sheriff, but will even shoot and duel each other. The Sheriff will shoot his allies instead of firing at his immediate enemies. In some games, everyone shoots you randomly regardless of their roles. One player's remark was, "Out of the 7 games I have played so far, only 1 of them made sense."
- It has a somewhat irritating interface. Besides being forced to go through a tutorial when you start the game, you are told to do things without having any idea of how to accomplish them (what to click on/what buttons to press). There are also buttons that you have to press (like a skip/end your turn button) that are not easily visible, or visible at all. One player noted the following frustrating scenario, which shows the game's current glitchy interface:
Before the game starts you are shown an objectives screen. It lists the roles that are being used for the game. On this screen you select the role to read a description. When you are done, you click the skip button to move on. I could not see the cards or the skip button. I had to click randomly to find the skip button and move on to gameplay. During the gameplay, I could not see the skip button or the cards. So I closed down the program and tried again. Attempt #2 yielded better results, but the game was still unplayable. This time around I was able to see the role cards and the skip button. I couldn't see the playing cards, so I closed down and restarted. Attempt #3 allowed me to play the game. I could see everything. After completion, I tried again. I wasn't sure if the game needed add little by little or if it was luck of the draw. Attempt #4 was bad. This time I could not see the characters or the playing cards. Attempts #5 and 6 worked perfectly.

- The interface is also noted for being non-intuitive. Another review observed,
It's sort of hard to de-select a card you don't want to play. If you click it once to get that scrolling text, you have to wait a few seconds for the card to slink back into your hand. If you click it again before it slinks (as I did, assuming that would put it back into my hand), guess what? The card gets played. There needs to be some system for this--maybe allow us to click elsewhere on the playing field to send the card back into our hands, unplayed?

CONSENSUS: Now is not the time to buy this buggy wretch that was tossed out too early to swindle people's Christmas cash. Don't waste your time or money. Wait for updates to arrive, such as those that at least allow characters to have special abilities, multiplayer or place in some of the expansions. Sadly, as others have noticed, it sounds like this game wasn't tested... at all. For die hard BANG! fans like myself, this is quite a disappointment. How could they not make a game at least as good as KBang, a game designed by 1 college student for a bachelor's thesis?


  1. A user at the iTunes store astutely noted that you are paying for an unfinished demo.


  2. Maybe should you update this review ?
    The game seems to have evolved since January, does'nt it ?

  3. If you think that would be valuable, I would, but until it has a full multiplayer update, it seems a tad pointless. I have written on customer and developer relationships with the video game:

  4. now it has multiplayer

  5. Sounds like this game has issues. Is it worth buying for PC now?

    Any updates on kBang?

    I created a online web version of Bang! It's open source and free.
    I call it Kraplow!

    1. My Dynamic IP changed - Now use No-ip's service

  6. It's been a long time since you wrote this article but I think just about every issue you pointed out has now been fixed. As for not being able to play your extra Bang!'s as Willy the Kid, you need to click on his avatar to unlock the special ability. I was confused by this at first as well.

  7. Hey BANG! Funs!
    I also created an online web version of Bang! It is also open source and free.
    Enjoy it! It is only the basic BANG, but may be I will put multiplayer and some extensions into it in the future! :-)

  8. I bought this game because I really enjoy the card game with all its extension sets. I bought the pc version in march. By now I would have hoped to see more of the characters and expansions. Dodge city is a good add, but adding high noon and gold rush would bring more to the table. Also in multilayer mode, I wish you could see specific games with the amount of players wanted and what cards are going to be used. And last is the emoticons. I like the smiley and frowns faces. Some people get carried away with using them. The role icons I don't like. People instantly reveal their character without even playing.I know you want to disguise who you are, but do it by playing. An android version would be great to see. I would like to have a portable version to have while out and about. But not including android as a platform is really hurting its sales.