The mind boggles at the opportunities a Wheel of Fortune video game might present: imagine Carole Smilie turning the letters for John Leslie. Their tenures on the show never overlapped, but in the virtual world, anything could have been possible. But no: here you can play Wheel of Fortune, or you can not play Wheel of Fortune. And the American version at that.
But hey, hangman and spinning wheels – what’s not to like? Nothing in particular, as it turns out: it’s a proven quiz show format, and it looks pretty slick. The spinning and puzzling is all good, if occasionally unexpected: would anyone guess “BRIGHT SUNSHINE AND WARM TEMPERATURES” from the clue “THING”? No, thought not. But despite the utter lack of localisation, the puzzles are no more frequently baffling than they were on the UK TV version.
The problem is that it’s obvious where a little bit more time and money could have gone. It’s a nice touch having mini-games to play during what would be the commercial breaks, but where’s the option to play them in isolation? They’re not breathtakingly different to the main game, but it would be nice to have a shorter alternative to playing a whole show.
There are other niggles. The crowd dutifully applauds when you correctly guess a letter in a puzzle, but it’s not until they’ve gone quiet that your Mii celebrates. It grates on me every time. Another one: it’s curiously satisfying to spin the wheel by swinging the Wii remote, but why do you have to press a button at the same time? It makes it feel unnecessarily artificial.
It’s just indicative of a game made on a budget – which, for a budget game, really shouldn’t be a surprise. To the game’s credit, it’s a bit of fun to dress your Mii in the clothes available – and more are unlocked as you win prizes in the show.
There’s little fun to be had in playing on your own. But play it with a pal or two, and you’re guaranteed a moderately entertaining half hour or so.