If you like buying vowels, winning jackpots, and hula dancing (?), then you may want to consider giving this game a spin.
If you have turned on a television in the last 30 some-odd years, you may be familiar with a little game show called Wheel of Fortune. Yes, while many game shows have come and gone, Wheel of Fortune has remained a staple in the nighttime game show lineup. Over the years, Wheel's popularity has "spun" off video games on virtually every video game platform ever. You may assume that Wheel of Fortune on Wii is a crummy, low budget, uninteresting affair, but you would be wrong. Wheel on Wii is a faithful representation of its source material that will make any fan of the TV show smile. And while it is not perfect by any means, this game is a fun diversion for anyone who loves "hangman" style word games.
Upon starting the game, the player is greeted with familiar logos and a semi-flashy introduction showcasing Pat, Vanna, and other characters in a cute, cartoony montage. Indeed, this game has "Mii"-ified our hosts, in a sense. Despite their cartoony proportions, Pat and Vanna very much resemble their real life counterparts. Since other game show video games like Family Feud and the Price is Right do not feature their respective hosts, it's nice to see Pat and Vanna. When added to the set design and sound effects, Pat and Vanna's presence gives the game that much more authenticity.
Regarding the gameplay itself....well, fans of the show need no explanation. If you have absolutely no idea how Wheel of Fortune works, however, the game is simple. Players are presented with a blank word puzzle (themed around a certain category like "Thing" or "Person"). Upon each turn, a player spins a wheel filled with various dollar amounts, prizes, and pitfalls. Land on a money wedge, guess a letter, and receive that dollar amount for every instance of that letter. Land on "Lose a Turn" or "Bankrupt," and relinquish control to the next player. Of course, players also have the option to buy a vowel or solve the puzzle, though of course, players must be strategic about when to perform what action.
So, in essence, the gameplay is an incredible reproduction of the TV show. Pat and Vanna's voices guide you through the game, while the announcer describes luxurious trips and other prizes. The music from the show is there as well (although NOT the classic theme that many of us remember from yesteryear).
You may be asking yourself "Now why would I want this game on the Wii as opposed to other HD platforms?" I asked myself that very question, but upon doing research, I found that the Wii version succeeded on a few different fronts. The Wii version, unlike the Wii U version, lets you use a Mii as your avatar. A no brainer, right? The Wii version also lets you spin the wheel by flicking the Wii remote to the side. I would normally complain about this blatant use of waggle, but here, it's just fun! YOU GET TO SPIN THE WHEEL OF FORTUNE WHEEL! True, the amount of force employed does not matter (you flick the remote when a bar fills up), but let's face it - this is a novel feature at best. It's a fun little addition to the game. Players will have an easy time keying in letters with the Wii remote, but they also have the option to use the D-Pad instead.
As a fun side note, the D-Pad can also be used to allow your Mii to express different emotions in the game. This is an incredibly dumb, yet hilarious feature. Watch as your Mii gets angry, joyous, or just wants to do the Hula. Yes, for some reason, your Mii may decide to do the Hula upon guessing letters correctly. To be honest, the Miis tend to do the Hula more often than not. Almost every turn....there's the Hula dance.
That contestant on the right? Get used to seeing her a lot. She also reprises her role as "contestant" in Wii Jeopardy. I'm sure those are the only two entries on her IMDB page.
Now, what didn't I like about the game? For one, it's a fairly barebones experience. Upon winning a game, the player wins an unlockable. Unfortunately, these unlockables exist in the form of new clothes for your Mii, or "concept art" (as a point of reference, the "concept art" is about 100 pixels wide). One time, I won "concept art" for a new set. No, I didn't unlock the actual set itself (it was a Hawaii set) - I unlocked a 100x100 pixel image of it. Lame!
In addition, this game features no online play whatsoever. I would hate to dock this game points for something it doesn't have, but online play would definitely give the game more legs. Without online, it essentially becomes "that game you turn on when you have company."
I haven't mentioned the graphics yet, but I think they're actually pretty eye pleasing. The only downside is the lack of HD, and a slightly jumpy framerate from time to time. For me, this is kind of a non-issue, as I didn't exactly buy this game for its graphics.
If you're looking for a fun party game to have around the house, and know people who enjoy watching Wheel of Fortune, then this will likely be a fun game for you. Keep in mind that this review was written years after the game was released, so you can probably find it pretty cheap these days. Will you be firing it up for years to come? Probably not, but it's probably one of the best versions of Wheel out there. It's not going to rock your world, but it's nice to have around to enjoy with friends and family.
Pros: + Surprisingly authentic. Pat and Vanna are there, complete with voice and likeness. The sets all look like they're ripped from the show. The sound effects are complete with every chime you'd expect from the TV show as well. If you didn't know the Wii was on, you'd think that the actual show was on! + Local multiplayer is what you'd expect. Wheel of Fortune has always been a fun game amongst friends, and this version is no different. + Games are fairly brisk. They could be faster, but they certainly don't take a half an hour to play. + Wii pointer controls are intuitive. + Miis do the Hula dance
Cons: - The framerate drops at times, specifically when the camera pans out to show the whole set - Unlockables are trivial at best - The lack of HD could be a downer for some (compared to other versions) - This game is local multiplayer only
I have been this close to buying this game (and Jeopardy!) so many times over the past few years. I love Wheel of Fortune (and Jeopardy!) and the Wii version looked like a surprisingly decent game translation for a budget price. And now I know it was!
I have to imagine all the Sony product placement from the show didn't make it into the Wii game...
You know, I can't exactly remember. I think there is a Sony Pictures Studio logo at the beginning...
I'd say if you like Wheel of Fortune and you see it for cheap, it's worth picking up. I've gotten a couple hours worth of play out of it, and it's been great. It's just that kind of game. You won't be putting 20 hours into it, but you'll play it now and then as a game between friends.
Jeopardy didn't survive the game transition as well, however. It's mostly the same kind of game, but they do Final Jeopardy differently - it's multiple choice. I guess they have to do that because everyone has to answer Final Jeopardy differently, but still, it doesn't feel as authentic.
Haha, no. They do have Prize Puzzles, 50/50 wedges (or whatever they're called), million dollar wedges, jackpot rounds, etc. I was actually surprised that they had all that stuff. However , the last Wheel game I played was on the NES, haha.