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Fortune Street Review

For a Luddite parent in the late 1980’s, witnessing your children stare at the flicking glow of a television, hands tightly wrapped around a controller must have been an unnerving sight. That’s probably why even fleeting game sessions were often interrupted with suggestions to “get some fresh air” or “go play outside”- recommendations which probably signified the pathway to social normalcy for a technophobic mother of father. On the days when the weather prohibited al fresco amusement, board games proposed a pleasing alternative to electronic entertainment, yet still offered a similar form of spirited competition.

Built upon a rule set popularized by Parker Brothers’ microcosm of capitalism, Monopoly, recent Wii release Fortune Street adeptly amalgamates board and video game. While it’s not the first time the mediums have been merged (2003’ Culdcept for the Playstation 2 crafted a similar union), the title represents an opportunity for Western gamers to experience a series that has thrived in Japan since 1991. As long as potential purchasers don’t mistake the back-of-the-box screenshots for another entry in the Mario Party franchise and are up for a title that stimulates the synapses, Fortune Street should be able to find a fervent following on these shores.

Jumping into the game’s simplified tutorial, players are thrust into a match against two other CPU-controlled rivals. For many, the game’s fundamentals will evoke excursions passing Marvin Gardens and Park Place- as participants move around the game board, optionally buying shops as they land on vacant squares. Like Monopoly, owning sets of adjacent stores increases the value of all neighboring holdings, while collecting four card suits and returning to the bank results in a reinfusion of capital and a promotion. Of course, inadvertently landing on an opponent’s property forces players to divvy up a bit of coinage; an event that can be especially punitive if the rival has invested money in their shop.

With the complexity set on Easy Mode, Fortune Street offers little more than Monopoly positioned amidst the junction of Super Mario Bros. and Dragon Quest’s recognizable world. While witnessing Toad exhibit Wario-level parsimony or hearing gelatinous-obsessed dialog from a Blue Slime temporary elevates the proceedings, before too long characters starts repeating dialog. Thankfully, the title’s Standard Rule set offers a more substantial and satisfying experience.

Here, passing over a bank or investment square opens up Fortune Street’s stock market, allowing gamers to speculate on the different districts scattered of the board. Consequently, when investment in a specific sector rises, players have the potential to get in on the action- even earning dividends when another participant receives shop money. These investment opportunities keep Fortune Streets race for financial supremacy taut, and can offset a string of bad dice rolls or stagnant succession of stores. With merciless players able to forcefully buyout properties owned by rivals (at a steep premium, of course) and cash-strapped players able to auction or sell stock, shifts in economic dominance are frequent; although they rarely feel unmerited.

While Fortune Street’s single player game offers a number of unlockables and an extended lesson of the title’s nuances, matches played against CPU opponents lack the exhilaration of trumping human opponents. Unsurprisingly, Fortune Streets flourishes with couch-sharing participants, with competitions erupting into rousing rivalries. Online contests are available against worldwide opponents, specific regions or versus associates linked with a friend code. Sadly, the title doesn’t support the Wii Speak peripheral, forcing players to use the direction pad on their Wiimote to communicate via preset emoticons.

Fortune Street incorporates a pleasing selection of characters and locales from Miyamoto’s and Horii’s worlds- such as a game board which rotates around a Super Mario Galaxy-esque globe or a cameo from Dragon Quest IX’s Starflight Express, yet these trimmings are mainly inconsequential. Ideally, the title would have incorporated additional substance from its source material, naming stores and districts after the renowned characters. While some might take issue with the speed of four-player games, a number of time-shaving options exist for impatient participants. From the ability to quick save, turning off CPU chatter, to increase the pace that participants move around the board, the title has the ability to accommodate an energetic tempo.

It’s little wonder that Nintendo opted to publish Fortune Street during the holiday season. With a household full of eager gamers, the title has the potential to cultivate animated matches reaching far into the evening hours. Although the game’s boulevards may not be bountiful enough to sustain solitary players, there are enough captivating mechanics and depth to warrant a walk down Fortune Street’s avenues for table-top game appreciating troupes.

About Robert Allen

With over 35 years of gaming experience, Robert 'DesertEagle' Allen is Tech-Gaming's resident worrier/warrior who spends his days teaching at three colleges and his nights devoted to JRPGs.

25 comments

  1. DesertEagle is Phil Kollar?

    Joking. You two seem to be the only ones that really like the game. A lot of meh reviews.

  2. I’d love to play this, but I unplugged my Wii to make some room months ago. If there’s ever a deal on this on Zelda, I might have to hook it back up.

  3. So its all text, there’s no voice over for the characters? That would have been so cool!

  4. I love the epic fail pose that Bowser is making in the bottom pic.

    So is this $50 everywhere, or has anyone seen any deals?

  5. I’m glad to see Nintendo taking a chance on localizing this and bring it here.

    • Happy for this making it hear and even happier for Xenoblade Chronicles.

      I think both were already localized for the European markets, so bringing them over here is just a way to print money.

  6. Growing up in Detroit, I didn’t get the “go outside and get some fresh air” bit, but I did play a lot of board games. I still play to this day.

    This looks cool, but I want to try before I buy and see if I like the gameplay.

  7. Desert, just a question- how much sleep do you get?

  8. Wasn’t Wii Speak unofficially abandoned? I remember some games (like Conduit 2) were using the new PDP headsets.

  9. Classic Controller support or do you have to play with a Wiimote?

  10. Can you give us a list of characters that are in the game?

  11. This doesn’t look like something I’d play for more than a few times. I think a 360/PS3 type board game with download packs would work better.

    • From the Dragon Quest series:

      Bag o’ Laughs
      Platypunk
      Slime
      Healslime
      Princess of Moonbrooke From Dragon Quest II
      Alena From Dragon Quest IV
      Kiryl From Dragon Quest IV
      Bianca From Dragon Quest V
      Carver From Dragon Quest VI
      Jessica From Dragon Quest VIII
      Angelo From Dragon Quest VIII
      Young Yangus from Dragon Quest: Shōnen Yangus to Fushigi no Dungeon
      Stella and Patty from Dragon Quest IX
      Dragonlord From Dragon Quest

      From the Mario series:

      Mario
      Luigi
      Bowser
      Lakitu
      Yoshi
      Daisy
      Peach
      Toad
      Wario
      Waluigi
      Donkey Kong
      Birdo
      Bowser Jr.
      Diddy Kong

  12. good review as always, Deagle.

  13. Was this the minigame in Birth By Sleep? If so, no thanks. I would not pay $50 for it, because it was so slow.

  14. Pretty good review. I like this one more that most because all the game sites are complaining that FS is too slow. Either they aren’t used to the pace of board games or they didn’t go into the options screen. Either way, it’s disappointing.

  15. You forgot to mention the totally cool “Out to Lunch” mode where the computer plays for you. Great way to earn those Mii outfits.

  16. nice review. I’m glad you didn’t trash this like a lot of other sites are doing. Of course, many of the big sites are just ignoring this one.

  17. @diddylonglegs You can’t really compare a full priced 4 player game with the minigame from BbS. This has a lot more options.

    Agree with most of the big site don’t know how to review a board game type game. You’d think someone would volunteer that at least enjoys an occasional game and know the tempo is more relaxed and social.

    I for one like a game where I don’t have to wrap my hands around the controller all the time. I can have a beverage, eat a snack, and have a conversation, which you can’t really do with most video games.

  18. $30 or less and I’ll grab it. $50 is just too much right now.

  19. I can see a fight over who gets to be Dragonlord like the fight over who gets to be the racing car in Monopoly.

  20. I finally found a new, sealed copy at Gamestop after checking 3 different stores. Either this was a limited release, or people are buying the game up.

  21. I just found this for $20 at my local mom and pop store. GO ME!

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