Let’s face it—sometimes there’s just a massive drought in interesting games coming out late in the year that just aren’t worth your time.
Whether or not it is related to personal tastes in games, sometimes we just want a good game regardless of age, system, or franchise. Well, if a good game is what you want, then good games are what we’ll recommend.
Every two weeks we’ll be recommending 1-3 separate titles from 1-3 separate writers/guest writers that we feel you need to play. This week, Fortune Street grabs the spotlight all by itself.
A few weeks ago, I got Mario Tennis Open, a game which I find to be quite mediocre. The very same day, I got Fortune Street, for Wii. I heard of the game a while ago, and before actually buying it, I thought the game to be the epitome of boring, stale Mario cash cows. Still, I heard the phenomenal soundtrack on YouTube and pledged to myself I’d buy a copy if I could find one for a reasonable price. Staggering at a whopping $50 for a while, the cost of a used copy finally dropped by twenty big ones, and I caved.
Now I see just how wrong I was. As much of a missed opportunity as Fortune Street is, it still manages to be a shining gem in the Wii’s library. After playing through the brilliant multiplayer mode with a friend, I expected to begrudgingly make my way into the single-player aspect of the game, remaining throughly bored the entire time, and I was happily proven very wrong once again.
“Itadaki Street” is a long-running series, but this is the first installment to be localized outside of Japan. Essentially, Mario meets Dragon Quest in a game of stocks and strategy, but seeing as Mario is far more popular, I get the feeling that most players will see it as a Mario game with some DQ cameos. I don’t know much about Dragon Quest, but if the selection of music and locations is as grand as that of Mario’s, it’s a must-buy for anybody who grew up with either franchise. It’s just as much a celebration of the two franchises’ respective histories as it is an entirely new game.
Fortune Street takes place on a virtual game board, which makes it feel a lot like a revamped version of modern Mario Party games without boring minigames interrupting the flow of turns. In this game, cash and investments make all the difference, and if you love Monopoly or The Game of LIFE, this game will drown your sorrows when you can’t find anybody to play with. Unlike Monopoly, the aim of Fortune Street is not to bankrupt players, but to accumulate a large net worth and make your way back to the bank square. Thankfully, the game has an incredible selection of changeable rules, allowing you to speed up the flow of the game, extend play time by hours, or, if you’re as sneaky as I am, to change the goal of the game back to wiping competition out. There’s also a choice of easy or standard rules, the latter introducing stock investments, which greatly change the strategy of the game.
My first thought when starting it up was to ask why it wasn’t an actual board game. I soon realized that the formulas and investments that make the game so exciting on a computer would make trying to play it in reality of the worst experiences in any middle-class first world life. I’m also very happy to say the collaborative team of Nintendo and Square Enix workers didn’t pass up the opportunity to allude to Super Mario RPG.
The series will surely be continued, and Fortune Street shows incredible potential for future installments to be truly amazing titles if given proper attention. Ultimately, there are a ton of opportunities missed in Fortune Street, and dozens of small flaws in its execution. There are loads of small additions that would have made the game more charming, but the core experience offered still manages to smooth over those creases, creating an essential addition to any Wii owner’s library.
Play solo, and you’ll have fun for weeks. Grab a friend or three, and you’ll have fun for many years to come. For $30, you get more than your money’s worth, so if you’re willing to fork up that extra dough, I urge you to move Fortune Street a little bit higher on your “To Buy” list. You won’t regret it.