Fortune Street is a Monopoly-type game for the Nintendo Wii that brings together characters from the Mario and Dragon Quest universes. The game was developed by Dragon Quest creator Yuji Horii. Fortune Street is actually based on the computer game Idaki Sutorito (also created by Horii), which translates to “Top Street.” Idaki Sutorito was released exclusively in Japan way back in 1991. The release of Fortune Street to Wii marks the first time the game has been made available in the United States. The game was also released as Boom Street in Europe in 2011.
Fortune Street is sort of similar to Monopoly in that players move around a game board buying properties. Instead of “passing go” players must move around the board collecting four suits (i.e. a diamond, clover, spade, and heart) before returning to the bank square to collect a paycheck. Players can also land on squares on which players overturn cards roughly similar to Chance and Community Chest in Monopoly, though sometimes with a degree of interactivity (i.e. chance-based mini-games).
Though the basic principles are the same, there are quite a few significant differences between Fortune Street and Monopoly. Fortune Street allows players to choose from a variety of different boards. The boards have different goals for financial fortune, which changes the difficulty of each game. Additional boards can be unlocked as trophies and stamps are accumulated.
Fortune Street has two modes of play — easy and standard rules. The easy rules setting allows players to get a feel for the game without getting too complicated. The standard rules setting adds the additional element of stock purchase, which is a bit more complicated, but ups the ante considerably. Gameplay is seriously more fun with the addition of earnings from stock investments.
In both easy and standard versions, players move around the board buying property and investing in their businesses. Buying two properties next to each other automatically increases the value of both. When playing in the standard rules setting, properties are grouped in districts. In this mode, buying more than one property in the same district results in increased value regardless of whether the properties are next to each other.
Fortune Street is a fun and challenging game. The game can be played by a single player or up to four. There are always four players on the board, so a single player will play against three computer players. Two players will play against two computer players, and so on. The game is infinitely more fun when playing with friends. Like Monopoly, the thrill is in building up properties to collect higher rents and bankrupt your opponents. This can be a real challenge since properties can only be invested in if you land on one you already own. While the game is fun, it can be rather slow paced. This comes from some of the unnecessary minutiae built into the game play.
When playing against the computer, you are forced to watch every move the computer players make. Instead of being able to simply see the outcome of a role, we must watch the computer player role their dice, comment on game play, and move around the board. This causes the game to drag. I have not done enough testing to prove this point, but it seems the computer characters have far better luck than the human players. They move around the board faster and seem to get enough lucky roles to keep them from paying as much rent. I played enough games for this to be a minor frustration, however I was also able to win a few games, so it was not a huge drawback.
The graphics are typically lacking for a Wii game. The movements are simple and there is not a lot of action in the game. My biggest complaint about the graphics is that the screen is too busy. The game boards are suspended over an elaborate background. There are several different backgrounds that are meant to go with the shape of the board, such as a baseball field for a diamond shaped board. The backgrounds are so detailed it is hard to see the squares on the board. However, the backgrounds don’t affect gameplay in any way so it might have been better to have simpler settings. It’s a minor quibble, since it doesn’t affect the game and I eventually got used to it.
The game is fairly intuitive and easy to play. There are some mini-game tutorials which provide enough information to get going. The automatic setting for the controller is to turn it horizontal, but it can be changed back to vertical through the options menu. Players can either use their own Mii’s or choose from the Mario and Dragon Quest catalog. There are a few mini-games built into the game, but they are all based on chance and not playable. It would have been more fun to have these games be playable, instead of just something that is watched.
Overall, Fortune Street has a few drawbacks, but it is a fun game. Though it has some similarities to Monopoly, it’s fun to have a wide variety of different boards and characters to choose from. I would recommend this game to anyone looking for a fun board type game that can be played with friends.
Fortune Street is rated E (Everyone) by the ESRB for Comic Mischief.