THQ brings the much-loved family favourite from the small screen to the games console as Wheel of Fortune arrives for the Nintendo Wii.
The familiar format that has seen the hit TV show become a huge success in just about every country around the world now makes it way to the Nintendo Wii. Will it hit the jackpot or will it only manage to scop the booby-prize? Read on to discover the outcome as GamesMediaPro brings you the full round-up of THQ’s Wheel of Fortune.
There’s nothing like a familiar face to make people feel relaxed when you turn pon one of your favourite shows on the television. Just look at how people coo over the memory of a curler-haired Ena Sharples from Coronation Street, or the jolly frivolity of Countdown’s late front man Richard Whiteley? So when THQ decided to bring one fo those firm favourites to the Nintendo Wii it was always assured that Wheel of Fortune was going to be guaranteed of a good response from the older members of the Nintendo Wii’s mixed bag of consumers.
If you have never seen an episode of the long-running television show that is an absolute barnstormer of a smash-hit in every corner of the world, then just what have you been doing for the past twenty or so years? This is a series that has run and ran ever since its first appearance on US TV with host Merv Griffin holding court in the series from 1983. Following its resounding success there it was sold to just about every television network around the globe as every country from Australia to our very own Blighty cane up with their own rendition of the runaway success story.
It was, then, surely only a matter of time before one developer or another managed to acquire the rights too turn the hit TV show into a videogame format, with most expecting the show to be found cropping up as one of the new Microsoft Kinect titles. It was lucky for Nintendo Wii owners then that it was THQ who won out in the licensing battle for the big show as they have managed to do a sterling job in recreating the game show for the home consoles more mature gamers to enjoy. That is not to say, however, that players of any age cannot take enjoyment of this game. As a party title there is little doubt in our minds that Wheel of Fortune is going to be a big hit with the casual gamers. The easy to handle format that has been ingrained into the psyche of television viewers for thirty years, and there is little argument when it comes to debating if it will succeed on the motion controller as opposed to the standard type.
The set up of the game follows the rules of its televised older brother to the letter. Players are faced with a word or a phrase and then take it in turns to spin the ‘wheel of fortune’ before being asked a question to determine whether or not they will then be awarded the opportunity of choosing letters in the missing phrase, and if they are successful in their letter selection, they win the amount of cash that the wheel landed on. It really is that simple. But once again where the casual gamer is concerned, that is the selling point and also the genius of the game. There are also the mini-games that tip their hat’s to the TB big brother again.
The use of the Wiimote’s is once again taken full advantage of by THQ, who have released a barrage of Nintendo titles of late and are definitely getting the hang of the motion controller system a lot better than some of their competitors.
In a particularly nice twist to the proceedings THQ have al;so allowed those gamers who have invested in the WiiSpeak voice command system the opportunity to make good use of the peripheral as players are then allowed to control, more or less, the entire game with nothing more than the power of their voice. For the target audience that this game was aimed at this makes for a perfect decision as it will allow those mature gamers out there to remain comfortable in the seat as they compete in the game with more active or younger members of the family.
And at the heart of it all is that word again, ‘Family.’ THQ are once more making good use of the casual family title at a time of year when every family get together and party is looking for the fun-filled party game to bring the smiles to family members faces. It is a move that we can wholeheartedly commend as it allows for genuine interaction between all ages of family, as the Wii has to be the home console that brings those members together like no other. THQ has recognised this and has wisely opted to not only construct and develop titles for the core gamers, but also the growing army of casual gamers that are throwing money at videogames as if they are trying to knock down coconuts at the funfair.
Graphics: When all is said and done this title has been released as a casual game for family’s and more mature gamers, so if you are expecting to see cutting edge zombies biting the head off John Leslie then best you look elsewhere. THQ have taken what the casuals like on the Wii system and used it to their advantage here with WiiMii style avatar graphics that are wholly inoffensive, nor are they garish enough to have you reaching for the Optrex. Simple and sweet and always clear and well presented. 7
Gameplay: Fully deserving of the Wheel of Fortune blessing as THQ have stuck firmly to the televised format that has won viewers over for the past thirty years. Following the ethos of the old adage, ‘if it ain’t broke, then don’t fix it.‘ 7
RePlay Value: We fully expect this is one title that will be wheeled out at every family function and get together from the oncoming festive season till the end of time, and rightly so. With good clean family fun there on offer for everyone from all age groups to enjoy, Wheel of Fortune will be a future party classic of that there is no doubt. 8
Presentation: All in all THQ have taken a highly influential and extremely successful TV format and made the correct decision to bring it to the gaming culture. Did they choose the right console to do it on? We believe so yes, as even though Kinect is the latest ‘buzz word’ in gaming novelties soon wear off and people tend to stick with what is familiar to them. You cannot get more familiar than one of the most well-loved TV game shows on the best-selling console of its generation. 7