Video games based on gameshows have been around for a while. Who hasn't played along with a gameshow at home, yelling out answers to Jeopardy! or nailing a phrase on Wheel of Fortune as the contestants stumble to victory? The Price Is Right Cliffhangers brings a classic minigame from that staple of daytime television to the mobile world. Unfortunately, unless you're dying to play one of The Price Is Right's pricing games while walking to work, the game offers little entertainment value.
The Cliffhangers game presents you with three different products. Each product receives a short text description and a grainy image. Based on this information, you must guess how much it retails for in whole dollar amounts. A mechanical mountain climber--who's set along a steep slope that terminates in a cliff--keeps track of your score. The climber starts at the bottom of the slope. He moves up one step for each dollar that your guess misses the actual price. If you are off by more than $25--in total--for all three products, the mountain climber tumbles over the cliff, and you lose. Otherwise, you score points by ending the game with the climber as far from the edge as possible.
Determining if you'll like this game is simple. If you've watched The Price Is Right and have thought to yourself, "I really wish I could play that cool Cliffhangers game on my phone!", then this is the game for you. Otherwise, its paper-thin depth and gameplay, which is based on guesswork and knowledge of consumer goods, amount to little. The game is essentially a piece of kitsch that might be funny at first, but by the second or third time through, it wears out its welcome like a guest who can't take a hint.
The graphics are simple but effective. The product images are somewhat grainy, but they are clear enough that you can make out what you're bidding on. The sound effects closely mimic the ones used on the show as the heroic climber yodels his way to death or Price Is Right glory.
The game lacks head-to-head multiplayer, but you can report your scores to a central server. The game keeps track of the best scores of all-time, the past week, and the past day. The most obnoxious thing about this game, and the one factor that pushes it from being harmless-but-dull to actively annoying, is its reliance on a network connection to download product descriptions and images. You basically might run up your phone bill receiving what is, in essence, advertising. The upside to this is that there seems to be plenty of products to play with. In our time spent playing the game, we didn't notice any duplicates.
The Price Is Right Cliffhangers might be based on a cultural icon, particularly for the 30-something set that grew up watching the game and for anyone who is interested in kitsch culture, but the game experience itself is very shallow. This is one game that doesn't have much value when translated from your television to your phone. Without the studio audience screaming advice to the contestant, without the drama of watching the poor player agonize over his guess, and without the goofy tension that ensues as the yodeling climber ascends his slope, the game is little more than an unexciting exercise in guesswork.