Wheel of Fortune Review: Regression Through Unlearning

Wheel of Fortune is one of those games. You know, the one where most people already know if they want it or not. Pretty much anyone over the age of 15 is going to know exactly what to expect with this title. Spinning wheel, word puzzles, Pat Sajak and Vanna White. Are they still doing that show? Wow, they are! They sure do look old these days.

Being the household name that Wheel of Fortune is, many copies will be sold regardless of the actual quality of the game. Many copies will not be sold for that exact same reason. By my count, around 30 versions of the game have been released over the years. It’s been done, it’s also not going to offer any incredible game play opportunities.

Wikipedia says “Every modern version of Wheel features the likeness of co-host Vanna White.” but, interestingly enough, “not Pat Sajak”. Even more interesting than that, neither of them are in the most current iteration for the Playstation 3. Instead, there is no one in the game except for the three contestants. No voice work whatsoever was done for this version. You might ask yourself, does this game do anything for me that the Commodore 64 version didn’t already do? As much as I would like to hype a game from 1986 over a 2009 release, I cannot.

The funny thing is, this photo actually highlights a game mechanic superior to the PS3 version. You can see the wheel spinning and the puzzle at the same time.

The funny thing is, this photo actually highlights a game mechanic superior to the PS3 version. You can see the wheel spinning and the puzzle at the same time.

With the exception of the choppy quality of the shows logo before each game, it looks well enough to be called a Playstation 3 game. Character selection options aren’t the deepest around, but they suffice. The canned character animations like the cabbage patch, and lasso are pretty lame. Besides those points, the game is easy on the eyes.

There aren’t any major concerns with the game that justify a text based beat-down. There are however, many minor issues that should have been addressed prior to release. Not having the game board viewable at all times is an annoyance. So you are left with decision making moments where you can’t see the game board, which is rather frustrating.

Included with this game is the Road Trip mode. Essentially this is an 11 city Wheel of Fortune tour. There are trophies which require play in every city to unlock. Completing the tour is made difficult by lack of functions like game saves and really, any structure whatsoever. When you go into this mode, you are plopped into a city at the mercy of the random number generator. Unless you play the tour straight through without turning off your system, you are doomed to repeatedly play cities over and over. This is due to the lack of any type of game save feature.

Another misstep is found while playing online. As any gamer involved in online play knows, people quit/disconnect in the middle of games often enough to cause major frustration. In Wheel of Fortune, any player that leaves in the middle of a game is not replaced, even by an AI opponent. Where the issue becomes a larger concern is in the online version of Road Trip mode. Road Trip mode is an unstoppable force. You lock into play with 3 people, permanently bound to those players until you quit out. Some road trip, the game never ends.

While not as bad as a video game version of Deal or no Deal, Wheel is lacking in enough facets to say that $14.99 is too high a price. Not being the best version available to date might leave some feeling ripped off. In closing, regardless of its shortcomings, it’s a functional enough version of the game to be fun for anyone who thinks they would enjoy the game.


One thought on “Wheel of Fortune Review: Regression Through Unlearning

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