Electronic Theatre In-depth Review: Wheel of Fortune

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Rating: 5.0/5 (2 votes cast)

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            THQ is a publisher that understands the need for a wide portfolio. Their games for the younger player, family titles and the WWE SmackDown Vs. Raw franchise may not be designed for the core gamer, but the revenue they bring allows THQ to take risks with the likes of the Red Faction and Saints Row series, and the recently announced collaboration with Guillermo del Toro, inSANE. Wheel of Fortune is one of the former titles; certain to please the family this holiday without demanding a substantial, uninsured investment to develop. As the name would suggest, Wheel of Fortune is a game show style game for the season of family gaming.

            The game is presented almost entirely as the show itself, with up to three players taking their Mii to the virtual TV studio, meeting Pat Sajak and Vanna White for a test of their wits and the chance of winning virtual prizes. Electronic Theatre ImageDiscerning readers may have already noted a significant issue however, as while Wheel of Fortune does well to present a virtual representation of the television show, it’s the US show it mimics. This can be more-or-less of an issue depending on your knowledge of Americanisms and pop culture, with the spelling all based on that which eschews the use of ‘u’ far too frequently for some.

            Furthermore, one of Wheel of Fortune’s most surprising features is hamstrung by this lack of localisation, with the use of Nintendo’s Wii Speak device taking on board letter and final guess suggestions, but generally demanding you offer them in a US accent. This issue is noted on the back of the box, but this is little excuse for overlooking – or simply ignoring – an aspect of the game that could well have taken it from being typical family game fodder, to being a contender as a top-tier product on Wii.

            The bulk of the game’s puzzles are actually fairly well placed. There the may be some annoyance in the delivery of your answers, but the variety of subjects and puzzles, apparently stretching beyond eight-thousand in total, isElectronic Theatre Image certainly welcoming. The degree of challenge involved also means that most players will find just as much skill goes into their final placement as luck. Complimenting the guessing game that is Wheel of Fortune are the ‘commercial break’ mini-games: your typical Wheel of Fortune related trivia, but not unwelcome as a minor distraction.

            The visual aspect of Wheel of Fortune is very well presented, with just as much character as any BUZZ! game and far more bright in it’s palette. Constantly moving forward, the swift games are as charming as they are twee, and the sound quality is also delivered with a notable understanding of the game’s core demographic.

            As a reasonably priced family game offered to audiences who own the reasonably priced family console, Wheel of Fortune obviously has a market ready and willing to adopt it, especially at this time of year. And such an audience is unlikely to be disappointed, but it also unlikely to find any room for it beyond the holiday season. Had the game’s key features not been restricted so obviously, Wheel of Fortune would be a far easier recommendation, but as it stands it’s a game amongst many similar without any truly distinguishing assets.

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