Frontier Hunter: Erza’s Wheel of Fortune – Steam Deck Review

A MAPPA-style Metroid game with Street Fighter-like combat sounds great, but how well does it run on the Steam Deck?

Performance Review

Erza’s Wheel of Fortune on Steam Deck with Medium settings on.

Left: Erza’s Wheel of Fortune on Ultra settings. Right: Medium settings.

Overall, and considering the early access nature, Frontier Hunter: Erza’s Wheel of Fortune runs at a smooth 45 to 60 frames per second with minimal tinkering for the most part. That’s not to say this game runs at 60 all the time, but the dips rarely delve lower than 45, which if you’ve been playing on the Steam Deck for a while, you’ll know is barely distinguishable from 60 unless you really, really focus hard.

Will get into issues later, but it’s worth noting, as of right now the developer behind Erza’s Wheel of Fortune, IceSitruuna, is pushing out fixes at a fairly rapid speed. So much so, in fact, when I hopped on the Deck to grab my images for this review, a patch went live that fixed one of the problems I had. That’s a promising sign, especially for a game that runs this well that’s still in early access. 

Frontier Hunter: Erza’s Wheel of Fortune Overview

Erza’s Wheel of Fortune in fullscreen mode.Erza’s Wheel of Fortune in borderless fullscreen mode.

Left: Fullscreen. Right: Borderless fullscreen.

Think Metroid if it were made by MAPPA. That’s the rough pitch for Erza’s Wheel of Fortune. It’s a Metroidvania game full of places to explore, bosses to learn and best, all with an authentic anime kick.

What’s especially sunk its teeth into me is the combat. Normally these types of games have a habit of being fairly basic – shoot, dodge, shoot – and while you can do that, the combat is more comparable to Street Fighter than it is Metroid.

Depending on who you’re playing as, characters can unleash satisfying streams of bullets or engage in hard-hitting theatrics. See that stumpy tree enemy? Jump in the air and you can boot its face in before launching into a fast-paced volley of attacks.

I did have some issues with some of the inputs for certain attacks (namely forwards and X to perform a flying kick), but as mentioned above, this was fixed while I was grabbing my images for this review. After a brief test, the problem isn’t 100 percent fixed, but it can be pulled off much more consistently.

Frontier Hunter: Erza’s Wheel of Fortune on Steam Deck Settings

Frontier Hunter: Erza’s Wheel of Fortune Steam Deck Settings in action.

Performance in Erza’s Wheel of Fortune is solid. Areas with more enemies, effects, or non-player characters cause dips, but it’s manageable. Dropping down briefly to 45 from 60 isn’t noticeable unless you’ve got robot eyes anyway.

One fairly glaring issue that I assume is specific to the Steam Deck, the borderless fullscreen option crops the left and right part of the screen to fit the image on the Steam Deck’s awkward 1280×800 display.

You can play in regular fullscreen mode and just deal with the black bars, but it would be nice if this could be looked at prior to release at some point as the game’s colorful and varied world really pops on the Steam Deck, and the extra screen real estate would only help it shine brighter.

If you’re looking to gain some extra frames, feel free to drop the quality down to medium. You will suffer some blurring in the background areas, but as with most Steam Deck games, the visuals still look great.

TDP here is an interesting one. Obviously on full, at 15 TDP, the game runs the smoothest. But if you’re living in fear of the fan blaring (who isn’t?), running on 10 TDP is totally doable.

Frontier Hunter: Erza’s Wheel of Fortune (In-game Settings)
Display: Fullscreen Vsync: On
Resolution: 1280×720 Anti-Aliasing: Ultra
Quality: Ultra Enable Mouse Support: Off
Steam Deck Settings (Quick Access Menu)
TDP: 10 (45-60 frames) Estimated Battery Life: 120 Minutes
Docked Mode Resolution: 1280×720 FSR: On (Docked Mode)
GPU Usage: 70-80% Temperature: 65 degrees
Overall Rating: 3/5

Issues Overview

As Erza’s Wheel of Fortune is an early access title, this review is subject to change over the course of the game’s lifespan. The reason being, I’ve seen first-hand how often IceSitruuna is updating the game. Even if you read this performance review a week after it’s published, chances are they’ll be more fixes out there. 

As of right now Erza’s Wheel of Fortune is in need of some bug fixing in places, and the introduction of a native 1280×800 resolution for Steam Deck users is sure to be appreciated. All that said, given the game is still newly-released, what we have got is in a beautiful, very playable shape, and can surely only get better as it evolves time.

In short, if you pick up Erza’s Wheel of Fortune on Steam Deck right now, before it leaves early access, chances are you won’t be disappointed.

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All images captured by RetroResolve on Steam Deck hardware / Review code provided by PR

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Wesley Copeland

Wesley Copeland is a gaming and tech journalist with over 10 years of experience writing online. Originally starting in video games before specializing in tech and toys, you can find his bylines at IGN, VG24/7, Kotaku, Tech Radar, Games Radar, PC Gamer, and many more. He's also highly passionate about how tech can be used to better our day-to-day lives.