|System: Wii||Review Rating Legend|
|Dev: Konami||1.0 - 1.9 = Avoid||4.0 - 4.4 = Great|
|Pub: Konami||2.0 - 2.4 = Poor||4.5 - 4.9 = Must Buy|
|Release: May 19, 2009||2.5 - 2.9 = Average||5.0 = The Best|
|Players: 1-4||3.0 - 3.4 = Fair|
|ESRB Rating: Everyone||3.5 - 3.9 = Good|
Maybe I'm cynical, but when I first started Yu-Gi-Oh! 5D's Wheelie Breakers, I was really expecting a bad game. There is no shortage of bad and broken racers for the Wii console, and the fact that it was based on a card game/anime that has been dwindling in popularity in recent years didn't do much to inspire confidence. But, I have to admit that this game definitely surprised me. Though you wouldn't think a kart racing game could mash up well with the Yu-Gi-Oh! Card battling system, the combination works surprisingly well.
On the surface, Yu-Gi-Oh! 5D's Wheelie Breakers is just your typical kart game. You're able to select drivers, karts, and race against other players. There are three main modes you can participate in: Story, Grand Prix, and Matchup mode. Story mode follows a user-created character who wants to be the best Wheelie Breaker and race rising star Yusei Fudo, who has recently risen to fame from obscurity. The story is not that complex, but fans of the anime series will see plenty of recognizable characters and plot elements.
Grand Prix is a very basic series-based mode that allows you to race various computer opponents of increasing difficulty in order to earn trophies and cash. Matchup is the game's multiplayer mode, and it allows you to play with up to three friends.
The biggest feature of Yu-Gi-Oh! 5D's Wheelie Breakers has to be the unique way it implements the Yu-Gi-Oh! card system. Instead of picking up items like you would in Mario Kart through question boxes, you pick up cards. These cards are randomly selected from a deck that you have created prior to the race. If you are unfamiliar with the Yu-Gi-Oh franchise, this might seem a little weird, because there are several different types of cards involved in Yu-Gi-Oh battles including Spell, Trap, and Monster cards. These cards each have different properties, and while scrolling text at the bottom of your screen will explain what can be done with each card, it can be a little difficult at first to read and drive.
The game boasts more than 150 different cards that you can use in play, but you won't have access to all these cards immediately. You'll start out with a balanced starter deck and will have to earn new cards by participating in races and earning money. From there you can build your deck, although you have a limit of how many cards you can have active at one time.
Using the card battling elements of Yu-Gi-Oh! in the game adds a fairly large amount of strategy to the gameplay, which largely echoes the card game upon which this racer is based. Although the cards used in Wheelie Breakers are a lot simpler and easier to manage then those found in other Yu-Gi-Oh! games (such as the World Championship series), using the cards strategically is a must for success in the game, adding a great deal of depth to the overall kart-racing experience.
Speaking of kart racing, that is another area where this game is solid as well. I can't tell you how many Wii racers I have played where the racing mechanic was just broken. Whether the controls weren't implemented correctly, the racing system was too bland, or the A.I. was too slow, there seems to always be something that stops other racing titles from reaching their potential. Thankfully, this is definitely not the case in Wheelie Breakers.