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Mobile  header logo

Wheel of Fortune

For: Mobile

Or should that be misfortune?

Product: Wheel of Fortune | Developer: IUGO Mobile Entertainment | Publisher: Telcogames | Format: Mobile | Genre: Casual, Film/ TV tie- in | Players: 1 | Format: J2ME | File size: 332KB | Reviewed on: W900i other handsets | Version: Europe
Wheel of Fortune Mobile, thumbnail 1
Apparently, there are people out there addicted to quiz shows – not just watching, but appearing on them.

Maybe they're massively in debt and need all the free money they can get their mitts on. Maybe they are just huge show-off know-it-alls, desperate to impress anyone and everyone with their general knowledge skills. Or maybe they love the spectacle, the random nature, the thrill of an audience.

In fact, thinking about it, that latter point is what makes them so enjoyable as a viewer; you watch and get wrapped up in the emotion, and can be outwitted by your own TV as often as you know the answers the idiots on-screen don't.

Which makes it all the more shocking that this version of Wheel of Fortune – a game where contestants spin a wheel to accrue prize money, then work out a mystery phrase by guessing which vowels and consonants might be in it – fails to tick any of the above quiz show tick boxes.

Certainly, there's no free money – that one was obvious. But there's also no atmosphere. No spectacle. It's dull and lifeless.

Still, cold presentation might be bearable if the quiz itself was any fun. But in Wheel of Fortune it's not.

The biggest problem is that the quiz element, a version of hangman seemingly thought up by sadists, is ridiculous, asking you to guess banal obtuse phrases like 'Exhibit Hall' (described as a 'place'), 'Impeccable Taste' and 'Bedtime Stories' (clue for both: 'things'!)

What makes the game worse is that it's not even capable of offering you the random chance to succeed. Spinning the titular wheel is based on a power meter, and during our repeated play it landed on the 'Lose a Turn' or 'Bankrupt' slots suspiciously too often. It's in fact not random at all – spin the wheel at anywhere between three-quarters to full speed on your first turn and every time it will land on Lose a Turn. When you can replicate player-disappointing feats like that, it's just poor.

These two flaws add up to the very worst sins of bad games design, making players feel helpless and stupid all at once and then frustrating them to really make matters worse.

Together with the bad graphics and stupid questions, it all actively discourages you to simply put the phone down and walk away. Which we eventually did (after putting ourselves through the hell of playing numerous more times just to check it really was broken). We can only suggest you do the same.
Wheel of Fortune
Reviewer photo
Michael French | 1 February 2006
A dreadful mobile take on a well-known quiz show that bamboozles and irritates rather than entertains
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