Review: New Apps Out Today, “Wheel of Fortune” and “You Don’t Know Jack” for iOS
Today, in a bit of happenstance, two new game show game apps have debuted in the App Store: Wheel of Fortune and You Don’t Know Jack. While one is a companion to their Facebook counterpart and the other is a brand new stand-alone iOS game, they are both pretty fun to play in their own rights. Let’s take a look at both of them, which you can download on your iPhone, iPod Touch or iPad.
Wheel of Fortune, developed by L4Mobile and Sony Pictures, is the third version of this property available on the iOS platform, being released in conjunction with the show’s 30th season in syndication. This game is also currently available for Android in the Amazon store. The game offers two modes of play: single player and pass and play. Pass and play allows you to play with multiple people on the singular device, but single player almost takes on sort of a “career mode.” As you win more and more games, you work towards unlocking more environments and sets to play in, including – for the first time in a Wheel of Fortune game – stages based on previous years of the show. Eras of the show available to unlock include the 1983 syndicated premiere, an “80s” set, a “90s” set, and a “millennium” set. Pat’s attired and hairstyle also changes to correspond with his look at the time. I have yet to make it that far into the game, so I cannot yet comment on how well the “decades” adjust to the set. (Update: It appears the gameplay stays the same, just with a new set. The sets appear to be very nicely done according to the era. Look at the bottom of the post for a screenshot of the “Millennium” set and the 1990s set.) In-game purchases are also available to add to the special themes with more puzzles and wardrobe options to add to your already customizable character (allowing you to cycle through a 1980s “Shopping era” turntable to browse) for 99¢ a pop.
The game itself is very solid with some weak spots. The Season 30 wheel layout is implemented, but with very few frills. There are no ½ Cars, no gift tags and no prize wedges. Just the Wild Card (which awards no cash) and the Million Dollar Wedge. It also follows the pattern of rounds the show currently uses, except there is no Prize Puzzle in round three. The gameplay itself is very solid. You swipe the wheel to spin and watch it fly. Letters are easy to select, unlike in some previous versions where the keyboard was packed tightly together. If you’re playing in single player mode and don’t feel like watching the computer take their turns, you don’t have to. You can skip each move the AI makes, getting along with the game more quickly. Pat is clearly present, but you don’t hear his voice, only speech bubbles. On my iPhone, the graphics looked really crisp and nice, making a nice recreation of this season’s updated set. Sound effects and appropriate music also add to the ambiance, adding together for a fairly authentic mobile experience. As of now, both iPhone/iPad games are selling for $2.99 and I think it’s certainly worth that price. Being able to work to go back in time adds a replayability factor and you won’t feel like you’re slogging through the game play to get there. You can buy these versions here and get it for Android here.
You Don’t Know Jack will not be gotten into as in-depth, because it is simply an update to the franchise by following the Zynga model of cross-platforming. However, it most certainly works. This You Don’t Know Jack, not to be confused with a previous release that was a stand-alone game, is tied into the Facebook game that was released earlier this year. They did a marvelous job importing the question formats, layouts and question introductions into a mobile format. To me, a lot of the graphics and colors almost feel like they’re jumping out of my device. Contestants will play a “game” that up to five of their Facebook friends have already completed, and you will play against them as if each question was re-answered live, so you will compete with their previously earned scores in real time in five questions. My only game-related issue is for the Gibberish Question. At least for me, the provided keyboard is too small and cramped, causing me to mistype a few of my letters. However, it is still a lot of fun if you want your irreverent trivia fix and are not near a full computer. The game is just as fun as it ever was and with the ability to push new games ASAP, it’s also very modern and in with the times in its material. The app is free to download, but you must earn or purchase “tokens” in order to play an episode. You can download it here.
Both games get a “buy” recommendation from me, but what do you think about them? Get them for your device and let us know below!