|System: Wii (WiiWare)||Review Rating Legend|
|Dev: Gameloft||1.0 - 1.9 = Avoid||4.0 - 4.4 = Great|
|Pub: Gameloft / Nintendo||2.0 - 2.4 = Poor||4.5 - 4.9 = Must Buy|
|Release: May 12, 2008||2.5 - 2.9 = Average||5.0 = The Best|
|Players: 1-4||3.0 - 3.4 = Fair|
|ESRB Rating: Everyone||3.5 - 3.9 = Good|
You might have noticed TV game shows like Jeopardy, Who Wants to Be a Millionaire, Wheel of Fortune, and just about any other similar kind of programming has a strange effect on viewers when they're sitting at home in their living rooms: people can't help but participate by blurting out the answers aloud the very second they've formulated them in their heads. At least, such is the case in my living room. This can be a pain if you're just trying to quietly watch the show, but this inquisitive and competitive energy can also be properly channeled with the right implements. Enter TV Show King, Gameloft's first foray into the exciting realm of WiiWare.
Modeled after a handful of classic programs, TV Show King plays off of a multitude of clichés found in TV quiz show programming over the years. A splashy intro - complete with flashy camera angles, bright flashing lights, and a DJ pumping out bad music - sets the over-the-top tone for the show. Then there's the sleazy, overly manicured host with awful hair and bulgingly thick eyebrows that talks in one of those voices that makes you want to punch the damn television. His over-narration is simultaneously irritating and nostalgic. Of course, no stereotypical game show would be completed without a ridiculously top-heavy (yes, in that way) female, um, "co-host" who stands around doing nothing particularly important besides occasionally pointing when necessary. All these goofy ingredients add to the overall satirical flavor of the presentation that makes the game worth a few chuckles.
TV Show King is tailored for group play, which makes it a good choice for a party game or when your house is full of family. The gameplay is pretty straightforward, though it is an amalgamation of several different kinds of shows. Four contestants are called out of the cheering crowd - pleasantly comprised of Miis - and brought up to the podiums. Once the game begins, players will be asked a series of questions and must select from one of four multiple choice options by pointing the Wii Remote and selecting their answer. In later rounds players will have to reveal answers before making a selection by scratching them off or illuminating them from the dark with a small flashlight pointer. You'll earn more points the faster you make a right selection, so it pays to be the accurate and quick. Being the third or fourth person to select an answer reduces your earnings from a right answer.
At the end of each round everyone is given the choice of whether or not to spin a wheel (like Wheel of Fortune) for a chance to earn or lose money. Some spins could cost you ALL of your money or force you to switch funds with another player, but there are also big rewards to be gained. The wheel throws in an element of risk and helps keep things balanced if some of your posse isn't a whiz when it comes to trivia. The goal of the game is to end up on top as the player to amass the largest sum of money by the final round. You'll be continually apprised of the overall ranking of each player from round to round, so you know who you can stick it to if and when the crucial moment comes.