Rediscovering the 80’s Dream In ‘Wheel & Deal’

Wheel & Deal by Robote Games is a retro-futuristic title that brilliantly delineates the neon contours of the 80’s while supposedly making witty references to the era. The vehicles, for instance, make references to the Volkswagen Golf MKII and even the DeLorean from Back To The Future.

Is that the Golf? Minus the wheels?
Is that the Golf? Minus the wheels?

Two oxymoronic words kept buzzing in my head as I tried to fend off against waves of merciless police cruisers – cruel kindness. It’s been fairly recent that I truly became indulged with the 80’s vibe. I owe a fair amount of gratitude to games such as Hotline Miami, movies like Drive, and music artists like Kavinsky.

Personally, the focal point of this attraction lies on the principles that materialized the 80’s – boldness to try new things, over-the-top-ness (in hindsight no doubt), and the conception of digital virtuality.

Whether or not these factors truly brought us the idea of retro-futurism is not the point because Wheel & Deal will leave you confronted with a whole crate (which too is virtual) of destructive goodies that will help you defeat waves of choppers and cruisers, to a limited extent. From the lightsaber that extends out a good amount of distance from your front hood to pink aura shields, you will instantly find yourself accustomed to the simplicity of the game, not to mention its responsive controls.

There it is! The lightsaber in all its glory.

If there is one drawback, it would be the rather ephemeral gameplay that falls short with the delightfully catchy soundtrack. If you find yourself bobbing your head up and down to this point, fear not. The developer has submitted an update addressing the brevity of gameplay sessions while also keeping the neon grid free of reported bugs.

Anyway, back to the future. Whoops, I really meant to say “back to the game”.

The genre is a definite cross between a top-down aerial combat and a top-down racer – it spontaneously flaunts both combat and racing mechanics. Basically, it is very much in the vein of Seibu Kaihatsu’s Raiden Fighters or its predecessor, Namco’s Galaxian.

Onto the replay value. Someone who is fond of keeping games for extended periods of time, I absolutely cherish the in-game currency system and find games like Wheel & Deal exceptionally appealing. Incentive is a much needed feature for high-score games because really, nobody gives much a damn about beating their friends after some time. Not only that, in-game currency generally equates to unlockable items. As much as games are sources of consumption and inevitably investment, it is crucial that the replay value of a title left overlooked.

The title screen screaming style.
The title screen screaming style.

A title wielding phenomenal visual stylistic on one hand and impeccably simple yet enjoyable gameplay on the other, Wheel & Deal is a welcoming experience that offers upon both gamers of old-school background and enthusiasts of the 80’s an unblemished episode of revivalist aesthetic that possesses immense appeal on many levels.


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