Wheelspin. What shall I write about this game? The last time I felt bad after having broken down a game to the ground: certain people – some maybe even with the best of intentions – after all worked hard to put together this piece of software, give it a nice cover and get to it various retailers.
But then I also think about all those poor moms and dads, youngsters and grandparents who also worked hard to earn their money, put a new game into their Wii filled with expectation and then discover their newest purchase sucks as hard as any porn star in any X-rated movie. In other words: Wheelspin is a game that is worthy of its name: it stinks, it costs money, and nobody manages to move forward with it for even one inch.
Wheelspin is by the way a racing game in which you get going with futuristic cars on dito tracks. There are more tracks to unlock, there are boosts to go faster and plenty of curves to miss.
I’ll quickly (nobody wants to lose time with this monstrocity) sum up why you should just leave this one alone in the store. First of all the graphics seem to have run away from the time you didn’t have nose hairs yet and the Nintendo 64 still made jaws drop. Weak textures, an accute lack of polygons and tracks and cars that never show any inspiration. The positive point is that the game moves forward at what seems to be 60 frames per second and you do get a feeling of speed. But you can also experience that by eating a lot of grapes and then watch between your legs when you sit on the toilet later on.
Second point where the devs completely miss the ball is the controls. Steering is done by holding the remote horizontally (of by clicking it in the accompanying plastic wheel) and steering like in real life. Unfortunately your car either doesn’t respond at all or is overreactive to your moves so that at no time you have any real control over the vehicle. In other words: you’re more often next than on the track, a problem that if possible gets worse by the impossible tracks with sometimes almost unavoidable obstacles or curves that are barely doable.
That the makers then also chose to design the vast emptyness next to the track shows a healthy dose of irony or a love for tin boxes falling into the abyss. The gameplay is astonishingly bad, and in the best case scenario only lovers of extremely difficult games will be busy with this for some time. About five minutes, that is, before they realise this game just doesn’t reward you to keep trying, and give up.
Only small light at the end of the tunnel is the addition of split screen multiplayer with up to eight players. But why would you have your friends go through this experience? What might lead to about an hour of fun is the Battle Mode in which you get to shoot other players with rockets and other gear. In this mode there are no bad tracks but just a fenced area on which you can do your thing. Not that this part is so great.
The last downer is the music. The soundtrack consists of lifeless technotracks that get repeated until you’ve gone insane and prefer to hear David Hasselhoff featuring Scooter on repeat. No, the devs didn’t put their best work forward with the audio either.
The only thing that remains for me to do is to repeat that you better leave this one alone – or you might want to consider committing murder for a new racer on the Wii – and just get Mario Kart of F1 2009. Too bad as the Wii could use a broader scale of racing games. That Bethesda (Fallout 3!) and Awesom Play (cough) put this on the market shows they’re underestimating the Wii user. Up to you to prove the contrary.