If you live in the English speaking world, chances are good that you’ve heard of Jeopardy! And Wheel of Fortune. Two of America’s longest running game shows, they’ve both been on the air for decades and have definitely made their mark on culture. Considering that, it’s no surprise that both have been adapted to all forms of gaming numerous times by multiple companies. The latest publisher to take a crack at it is Ubisoft, releasing both Jeopardy! And Wheel of Fortune as a two pack for the PlayStation 4 and Xbox One. How do these measure up? Let’s find out ladies and gentlemen!
Jeopardy! starts off by offering you three play options – Daily Challenge, Online and Offline modes (labeled as Play Jeopardy!). Daily challenge lets you pick 6 out of 12 categories and answer one question for each of them. It’s quick and it’s an easy way to build up your “master rank,” which is your in-game standing that unlocks more categories as you go. Daily challenges do require a free Ubisoft Club account to play and keep track of your stats and progress.
Online requires a PlayStation Plus subscription as well as a Ubisoft Club account. You can choose to either create a custom game, play a Quick Match or a Ranked Match. Online matches really depend on who you’re playing with, and the most fun is to play online with friends. The setup of the online matches is well done at least, and distinguishes those playing for fun and those who are looking to be competitive. Quick matches also let you jump in at the late stages of a game if you like.
Offline matches are my personal favorite way to play the game. You can play either in Classic Mode or Family Mode, which has special categories and answers that are more tailored to a family-friendly setting. By contrast, Classic mode questions and answers can run the gamut from “Rodents” to “Fashion Designers” to “Moby-Dick.” The format of the game mimics the TV show, with two rounds, hidden DOUBLE JEOPARDY! cards and a one question Final Jeopardy round. Answers are multiple choice and you have a limited time to buzz in.
The AI could use some tuning, even though it comes in three different “difficulties,” they’re not particularly challenging. What is challenging is climbing the ranks in the four subjects – Academia, Lifestyle, Pop Culture, and Potpourri. The more questions from a subject you answer correctly, the more categories will be opened up to appear on the board. Going into a match, you can choose to eliminate one or more subjects, for example, if you want to play an entirely Pop Culture and Academia round.
Overall, Jeopardy! is a solid and well thought out game. It does take the chance of getting stale eventually as categories run the risk of repeating the more you play, but that’s an inevitability. The questions are fun, and while the AI isn’t the sharpest knife in the box, it is fun to laugh at some of the sillier mistakes it makes. Between the Daily Challenge, Online Play, Family Mode and Quick Mode, there’s a variety of options for however you want to play the game, which is by far its greatest strength.
Now to take a spin on the Wheel of Fortune! First off, can we talk about how creepy the faux versions of Pat Sajak and Vanna White are? Because these weird blockish sort of monstrosities are somewhat terrifying, as opposed to the fairly normal looking contestants.
Much like Jeopardy!, Wheel of Fortune has an Offline and an Online mode that both function essentially the same. Both have the option to play a Classic game or a Quick game for those unwilling to sink more time into it. Offline mode also has a Family option whereas Online mode has the option to invite friends to play with you and not have to put up with random weirdos on the internet.
Again, Wheel of Fortune functions just like its gameshow counterpart. Unlike Jeopardy! it even has an opening sequence and introduces the contestants. Thankfully, there is an option to skip the pleasantries and get right down to playing if you like. Puzzles are varied and challenging, but the AI runs into the same problems in that it’s not terribly intelligent even on the highest setting and on the lowest setting it’s actually a bit insultingly stupid.
My favorite part of Wheel of Fortune is that since you can see the set, the contestants and the wheel, the game allows you to customize all of them. Instead of unlocking additional categories as you progress through levels, you unlock customization options. You can deck out the set, change everyone’s outfits and even change the prizes on the wheel. This is all totally optional, and you can choose to ignore the customization if you would rather just carry on playing.
Overall, despite the setbacks with the lack of difficulty in the AI, both Jeopardy! and Wheel of Fortune are solid games. They offer enough variety to keep from getting stale too quickly and are simple enough to just pick up and play. The online and offline modes offer a nice choice, and the quick matches and family matches in both games help to give players plenty of options to play the games the way they want to. If you’re a fan of the game shows, give them a spin!
While neither Jeopardy! nor Wheel of Fortune are groundbreaking or innovative, they're both solid, fun choices for those who enjoy these classic TV game shows. They translate well into a play at home format with enough variety to keep things interesting.
- Variety of Categories in Jeopardy
- Customization in Wheel of Fortune
- Many Puzzles and Questions to Solve
- AI Isn't Terribly Intelligent
- Vanna White and Pat Sajak Stand Ins Are Freaky Looking