Wheel of Fortune Wii Review
Publisher – THQ – Developer – Pipeworks Software – Genre – Party – Players – 1-3 – Age Rating – 3+ – Other console/handheld formats – DS
I vaguely remember the UK version of Wheel of Fortune when I was a lot younger, this has apparently since been cancelled, although the American version is still going strong as of today. That’s why this Wii game has the American hosts and is also the reason that cash is displayed in dollars. Hey, why should I have to check an online currency converter at the end of each game to see how much money I have won?
Never mind, it’s not like it is real money away, and, while this game is based on a money giving away show, it obviously doesn’t actually give you any real money, but what it does provide is the kind of fun that many people will be looking for over the festive period with their families and friends.
I certainly needed a refresher as to how Wheel of Fortune actually plays, although the UK and US rules are slightly different apparently. Basically the object is to spin a wheel and hope that it lands on the big money or a prize, while landing on bankrupt will cruelly take away all your cash and prizes that you have amassed in the current round. It’s a game of chance, but also requires brainpower as you’ll be choosing letters and hopefully coming up with the correct word to win the round.
Wheel of Fortune translates to the Wii very nicely. Spinning the wheel is achieved by holding down the B button and flicking the remote to the left, while selecting letters is done by using a pointer, which we all know the Wii remote is good at. For those whom own Wii Speak, it’s possible to call your letters out just like the contestants on the TV show. This is something which I sadly wasn’t able to try for myself, but the popular opinion seems to be that it doesn’t really work. It sounds like a feature that just isn’t worth bothering with.
The game generally works like this: you spin the wheel and, just as long as the wheel doesn’t land on something negative, you are then given the opportunity to guess a letter to add to the word puzzle, if you guess correctly you can then spin the wheel again and then guess another letter and so on, if you guess incorrectly it moves on to the next player. Vowels can also be purchased for $250, which will be added to the puzzle if the letters you select are actually included in said puzzle. Finally, if it starts coming together for you and you think you know the answer based on the clue and the letters on the board, you’re then able to solve it and move onto the next round.
There are also Toss-Up rounds where letters appear on the board randomly and one by one, and if the solution hits you, you can then buzz in and guess the remaining letters to complete the word. The game also has a number of exclusive mini games, which add something to it that you can’t find in the TV show.
Obviously the game is at its finest when it’s played with others, although it is possible to play against the AI if you’re desperate. If you want to play completely solo that’s also possible, with some of the rules being altered accordingly, although it will be a very small minority that buy a game such as this specifically for its single player options.
The presentation is pleasing enough with the option to use your own Mii, while the presenter and hostess, Pat Sajak and Vanna White respectively, appear in the game as super exaggerations of themselves. The presentation feels polished and there’s certainly nothing at all that suggests that this is a £19.99 budget game.
Wheel of Fortune is a delightfully cheap game that has very little wrong with it. For some, because of the limited nature of such games, their appeal may not go beyond the occasional dust off at Christmas and special occasions, although with 8,000+ puzzles, this is a game that has been designed to last you for some time. Casual entertainment at its near best.