Boom Street (Fortune Street) (Wii) Review

By David Kelly 29.03.2012 9

Review for Boom Street (Fortune Street) on Wii

For many years now, the Itadaki Street series of Monopoly-style video games have been stuck in Japan, and whilst there were murmurs of the Nintendo DS iteration, featuring Mario and characters from Square Enix’s Dragon Quest universe, it has taken until now for it to breach the confines of its homeland and spread its wings to pastures new, this time on Wii, and under the new name of Boom Street in Europe, or Fortune Street in the US.

Boom Street is a strange game -- it comprises of pure board game related action, which sounds tiresome as a video game but proves to be very enjoyable and strangely compulsive. In essence, Boom Street plays like Monopoly plus…share trading, forced property buy-outs and other extras like vacant plot development, and so on. It is themed around the Mario and Dragon Quest universes, which makes for an unusual but pleasing feel as they make strange bedfellows, yet the sights and sounds on offer look like there is a ton of fan service for fans of both series.

Despite the inevitable dice rolling mechanic, it comes across as a game of skill and those looking for a light family board game need to be aware that this is no Mario Party. There are no between round mini-games and no tedious text mashing or long animations to sit through either. This is a game that takes a bit of time investment to “get” but when it clicks it proves to be quite addictive.

The aim of Square Enix’s Boom Street is to amass a target amount of wealth made up of cash, shareholdings and properties. There is an option to end the game when a set number of players go bankrupt with the winner being the richest at that point. One of the key mechanics of the game is the ability to make investments in your own and opponents' properties, which results in not only dividends from collected rents but also big earnings (or losses) from changing property values reflected in share values affected by development and share trading.

Screenshot for Boom Street (Fortune Street) on Wii

There are eighteen boards (twelve, plus six locked) and their layouts are not simple circuits. There are lots of split paths so that even the roll and move play-style requires some thought. To earn a salary and level up, players must pass through four key squares positioned around the board and return to the bank square so you are forced to visit most parts of the board.

Each board has its own features that arise from the clever use of layouts and the positioning of key squares, which means that while certain tactics will apply generally, chances of winning are enhanced greatly by applying strategies pertaining to each layout. All of the boards have unique backgrounds based on the Mario and Dragon Quest games but they have no impact on the gameplay, which garners this some criticism at certain levels since all they do is provide a change of scenery and background music. However, at least they provide some variety to the overall look of the game as progress is made.

Online and local single- and multi-player modes are supported but for some reason the local multi-player mode has no mid-game save. Whilst some review sites have stated there is a multi-player mid-game save, they are incorrect as there actually isn't -- so be prepared to play a game in one sitting. This is understandable in online mode but it's an odd design decision to not have the option in local multi-player as a game can take a couple of hours and a mid-game save option is available in the single player tour mode. While in the multi-player and online modes, players can instead take a break and select "Out to Lunch," which lets the CPU take over for a while -- and you can select a play-style (more of these play styles are unlockable, for reference). Examples of these are "aggressive," "timid," and so on -- or players can select what opponent character they will be less/more aggressive with.

Screenshot for Boom Street (Fortune Street) on Wii

The single player tour mode requires the player to complete twelve boards, finishing each with a minimum ranking position. Being successful in this unlocks a further six boards, so a fair bit of time in single player mode is needed to unlock all of the boards. Mercifully the CPU moves happen quite quickly and there are options to speed it up even further. Even the default speed is quite quick once character chat is switched off, so beginner players might feel a little bit overwhelmed by it all but this feeling will pass after a game or two. There is an excellent tutorial mode and also a simplified rules option but it should only be used for learning as it removes a lot of the skilful and more interesting elements of the game. There is a free play mode in which the target fund needed to win can be customised, but lowering this while shortening the game time will lessen the skill factor too.

A board game site should actually review this as it is in essence a "pure" board game, albeit one that would be a chore to play as a physical game since the CPU does a lot of calculations (for instance, return on investment on opponents' properties you have invested in, property value growth after investment, and so it goes on). This is a true "video board game."

Screenshot for Boom Street (Fortune Street) on Wii

By all accounts, Boom Street has been going strong in Japan since the SNES days and the design of the user interface is very slick, indicating perhaps that this is the product of several iterations, which is indeed true. The board view and menus are very well laid out and it's actually a pleasure to use such a well thought out scheme. There is no Wii waggle with this game -- the remote is held in the horizontal position like the old NES pad). Boom Street also has a wide selection of characters from both universes to use as avatars, and while in Free Play players can select a character, yet in other modes only the player’s Mii is available. To introduce a bit of variety there are lots of costumes, animations, mascots, and much more to unlock in the single player tour mode that can be used to adorn Mii characters with.

Online mode only allows the display of emoticons as a way of communicating with other players, which is a shame -- this was the game to actually implement Wii Speak with properly, which really would have added something to the online experience. The usual Friend Code system, or anonymous matching at global or regional level, is available. Graphically this game isn't exactly stunning but everything is clear and the characters and boards are well presented. It has a pleasant look overall. Sounds are quite low key and the soundtrack gleaned from both series adds some fun as players spot the little jingles that pop up with different game events.

Boom Street isn't recommended for all, but for anyone who likes the sound of a board game mechanic that is a step up from the mere ‘roll and move’ game, this is an unusual and enjoyable proposition.

Screenshot for Boom Street (Fortune Street) on Wii

Cubed3 Rating

8/10
Rated 8 out of 10

Great - Silver Award

Rated 8 out of 10

It is a shame that this debut of Square Enix’s unsung hero will probably fall between the cracks of traditional board game lovers and video game players. Boom Street is an original game that deserves to do well in the West. It is well presented and provides a big challenge for single players and lots of game time for board game aficionados.

Also known as

Fortune Street

Developer

Square Enix

Publisher

Nintendo

Genre

Party

Players

4

C3 Score

Rated $score out of 10  8/10

Reader Score

Rated $score out of 10  3/10 (5 Votes)

European release date Out now   North America release date Out now   Japan release date Out now   Australian release date Out now   

Comments

I love the Mario remixes in this game. I wanted to try this at some point, given the time, just for curiosity's sake.

Now if only they would do a Mario X Final Fantasy crossover...

It bombed in Japan at first...but in recent weeks has been making somewhat of a comeback and is roughly around the 150,000 units mark, which isn't awful. Not a patch on the DS version's sales, but still not too shabby.

Shame it hasn't really taken off here. Perhaps the name and lack of real advertising push didn't really help Smilie

Adam Riley [ Director :: Cubed3 ]

The Japanese titles are long-winded, but a silly subtitle might have helped slightly.

"Boom Street: Mario X Dragon Quest Monopoly"

Or something.

( Edited 31.03.2012 23:45 by Azuardo )

Exactly - I'm shocked Nintendo didn't include Mario in the title...and all I can assume is because it didn't want to detract from the forthcoming MP9.

It *did* have 'DQ 25th Anniversary' on the box, though, which is odd for Europe considering we didn't get a proper DQ game until DQVIII on PS2! Smilie

Adam Riley [ Director :: Cubed3 ]

Agreed that the name didn't help - nor the timing with MP9 knocking on the door.

Mario/DQ Monopoly as a title would have sold more - but then there are licence problems with that.

Nintendo did back Boom Street a bit - the Nintendo Channel on the Wii had a few promo videos prior to the launch.

Our member of the week

Adam Riley said:
Exactly - I'm shocked Nintendo didn't include Mario in the title...and all I can assume is because it didn't want to detract from the forthcoming MP9.

I definitely agree with this. Some stores who sell loads of games have the game cases arranged so that one only the edge with the title on it is visible. One scanning across a whole bunch of Wii games and seeing a game titled Boom Street, not knowing what it is exactly, would probably not stop to think and ignore it, whereas if it has the Mario name in the title, that would attract attention.

Strangely, the title was localized differently for French speaking regions. It would translate roughly to "Race towards Fortune", which isn't a much better title though, IMHO.



( Edited 02.04.2012 16:07 by RudyC3 )

Cubed3 Limited Staff :: Review and Feature Writer

I'm pretty annoyed they reused old artwork for the Mario characters and don't find it amusing that they got sex-appealing Jessica to hide her breasts. Sinful.

Would you prefer this on there:


??? Smilie Smilie

I wouldn't mind a bit of this...



( Edited 02.04.2012 19:05 by Adam Riley )

Adam Riley [ Director :: Cubed3 ]

Holy bajesus! Why, lord, why?!

Yeah, that girl does a fine Jess.

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