The cards for Exploding Kittens are pretty standard quality. Nothing great, but should fair OK. The artwork is cartoony and silly, with the text adding some humor as well. The artwork gives this an extra half-star for me, but it may not be for everyone.
The box (or boxes if you have both decks) are nice quality. They're better quality than the cards. There are other games I own that I wish had sturdy boxes like these. Either will make it easy to pack around the game. The magnetic clasp on the standard box will mean if you drop the box, there's a chance of cards falling out. The NSFW box is a standard box and likely won't open when dropped.
The game isn't particularly rules heavy, but these are the main points.
• Each player is dealt 5 cards at the start with one of the cards being a Diffuse.
• During your turn you can play as many cards from your hand as you'd like. These cards allow you to peek at upcoming cards or force your opponent to draw the next one or two cards.
• You end your turn by drawing a card.
• If the card you draw is an Exploding Kitten, then you have to play a Diffuse to stay in the game. When playing a Diffuse you put the Exploding Kitten back into the deck wherever you want.
• Play proceeds until all but one players has been eliminated.
The game is all about pushing your luck with a little bit of strategy. Do you pull the next card? Do you peek to see what's coming up? Or do you push the burden of drawing that card to the next player? Do you reshuffle the deck? Beyond that there's a little bit of card stealing that can happen or blocking another player's card with a Nope card.
My first thought after playing a game was that this is reverse-UNO. Instead of being the first to get rid of all your cards and win, you're better off keeping all your cards to secure a better position to last until the end of the game.
To take the reverse-UNO comparison further:
• Both games have a Skip. In UNO you skip the next player to keep that player from winning. In Exploding Kittens you skip your own draw to keep from losing.
• Both games have a mechanic to make the next player draw two cards. In UNO you do this to increase the opponents hand size and keep them in the game. In Exploding Kittens you do this to force that player to draw an Exploding Kitten an lose.
• The kitten cards are fairly synonymous with the numbered cards in UNO. They have no effect except in special conditions. Sure, the conditions and effects are different, but they can end up being hand filler.
This isn't to say there aren't mechanics unique to Exploding Kittens. But, I can't shake the feeling that I'm playing a silly, reversed version of UNO that's actually fun. The kittens killed and buried UNO under a pile of kitty litter. (Just don't use the NSFW version with the kiddos.)
I've only played Exploding Kittens in groups of three, four and five which made for some light fun. I suspect that two player Exploding Kittens is drudgery. With three players there's less risk in pushing your luck, so the early game is a bit boring. At 4 or 5 players the risk is higher, more cards are being played, and it feels like the game plays faster.
While I'm not a fan of heavily luck based games, the push your luck mechanics and silly artwork make Exploding Kittens enjoyable. I can't see making of night of it, but for a filler game that's easy to take anywhere it's a good choice.
Old Ways Are Best!
Uno wouldn't fit in the box, or you could at least use it for that. Better, put a regular couple of card decks in the box and be able to play any number of games that would all be better than what's in there now. Starting with Old Maid...
UNO is a good comparison. This game is definitely in the same genre as Uno.
One thing that Exploding Kittens has over Uno is a shorter game length. This is important with games that don't have a lot of strategic decision making to them.
I haven't tried playing with the NSFW and Core decks shuffled together, but it would increase the play time, and ultimately I think it would make the game worse.