A 2 For The Price Of 1 Review
2 major American gameshows in one package, does it win the star prize or go home with nothing?
Platform: Nintendo Switch (available on others)
Price: £29.99 on Amazon U.K.
I think it is fairly safe to say that despite the huge success of Jeopardy! in the United States, U.K. players will be much more familiar with Wheel of Fortune which was on ITV from 1988 (I think) to 2001 where it died a slow, painful death.
Given this I don’t think it’s surprising to anyone that this is a North American exclusive, but was readily available on the U.K. Amazon store. This also means that unless you have a US Switch account you will be unable to register any MyNintendo points.
Although the game comes on one cartridge, on the Switch desktop they appear as two separate entities, rather than one game and you choose which one to play upon loading.
Wheel of Fortune
The premise of Wheel of Fortune is contestants spin a wheel which will most of the time land on a wedge featuring a sum of money. In this case they guess a consonant and see if any of it are in a puzzle which will have a set theme – e.g. something in the kitchen. Basically extravagant hangman.
If it is in the puzzle that letter will show and the contestant can guess what the puzzle is. If they choose not to solve they can go again until either they solve it, the letter is not in the puzzle or they land on a wedge such as ‘Bankrupt’ which ends their turn and takes away any accumulated money for that round.
There are mini games such as guessing a puzzle with some letters filled in or gradually appearing.
After a number of rounds the person with the highest accumulated score goes into a puzzle where they can win various prizes such as different sums of money. This puzzle follows the same format except they already have the letter R S T L N and E filled in plus they can choose three more consonants and one more vowel.
Now, I have to say that I have never seen any of the American show, only the U.K. version. However, from a video game point of view I like what I see. The studio looks lively with a colourful value wheel, a large puzzle board and scenery including plants (although alternate stages can be unlocked). The host and the ‘letter turner’ look well developed and suitable for the roles but aren’t the actual people from the show i.e. Pat Sajak and Vanna White.
The controls are simple and easy to use, with the A button held to spin the wheel and the control stick used to move between letters which must be chosen in turn. You get plenty of time to choose the letters apart from the mini games which are designed with little available time.
It does have some downfalls – the difficulty level is ridiculous. As in, hard level is either really hard or stupidly easy. On more than one occasion the computer player has had no points at the end of the game despite being hard and this was due to them getting easy guesses wrong, not just me being smart and outwitting them (although that was a part, but only a part, of it 🤣).
There are multiple things to unlock such as the aforementioned stages and various custom action items from shoes to hair.
As a U.K. citizen I have struggled on some American centric puzzles but sometimes guess work gets around this. Also the topics to me seem vague, but this is due to being used to the U.K. one where the subjects are more specific. This isn’t a downfall of the game but more of a caution for U.K. players.
In essence, Jeopardy! is a standard quiz show with a small twist. The questions are posed as clues rather than questions, and the answers have to be asked as a question.
For example: a question of “Which British king had 6 wives?” May be asked as “This British king had 6 wives”. Instead of answering as “Henry VIII”, you would answer like “Who is Henry VIII?”
From my research (on Wikipedia, that ever reliable source of information), the contestants have to answer the questions as a question or they get the answer wrong (some leniency is shown in round 1 though). This is not a problem on the game version though as all questions have only 3 answers so if you don’t know you still have a 1 in 3 chance of being right, plus also every answer is already written as a question.
Unlike Wheel of Fortune the difficulty is fairly standard on Jeopardy! In hard mode the AI always seems to get the question right but does give you a second or two to buzz in before they answer. This does pose a challenge, especially if you are a non-US citizen and the subjects are American centric.
Also unlike Wheel of Fortune, Jeopardy! is not based in a studio and has a generic background and with no studio there is no host, instead a female voiceover asks you questions and lets you know if you are right or wrong. In particular, if you are wrong you may get shown sympathy or just a monotone ‘no’.
The lack of a studio doesn’t affect the atmosphere however. The introductory video with Thatcherism ‘thinking music’ sets a tone which lets you know that you are in a competition but also gets you pumped up for a challenge (or it does me anyway).
Unlocks on Jeopardy! are limited to new question categories as you earn experience and grow levels. Some of these categories actually have hunourous names, I just can’t think of any right now.
In conclusion, America’s Greatest Gameshows: Wheel of Fortune and Jeopardy! is a fun game but one that would more likely appeal to people who enjoy quizzes and/or gameshows and those residing in North America. If you aren’t from North America and are looking for a challenge this could be it due to the US centric subjects.
The game is also worth a purchase of £30. There is plenty of entertainment here and a lot of different subjects that will keep you going for a while. On top of that you are actually getting 2 games at £15 each, and each one is easily worth that for that replay value alone. It is worth noting though that each game is available individually on the eShop (even the U.K. one) for about £16 each.
As a whole the game gives you the feeling that you are in a big money quiz, particularly when playing against other people. If you are based outside the US then it also lets you experience gameshows different to what may or does exist wherever you are.
All in all, this is well worth buying for £30 and if you are a quizzer you will love it. Personally, I’d say it gets the star prize.
Wheel of Fortune Score: 7.5
Jeopardy! Score: 8.0
Since I started this article I have acquired another Nintendo Switch game relating to American Gameshows, Family Feud (also by Ubisoft). A review of this will be uploaded in the next month.
For a sneak peek, here is the case…