Saturday, May 8, 2010
Quality Family Time Comes in a Box
Family Game Night is a disc that consists of seven family friendly games. You can buy all seven games at one time in a box or certain consoles allow the individual game to be downloaded independently. The games are Sorry, Boggle, Yahtzee, Connect 4, Sliders, Scrabble, and Battleship. Each game has the ability to play solo, with three other players locally, or even play with friends over the console's network. What's even better, is that all three major consoles have this game available.
Story: There isn't one ! It really is the equivalent of bringing out the board game. The only advantage would be that you aren't going to have to struggle to play with pieces of the game missing. And potentially the space saved from storing seven board games in a closet somewhere.
Graphics: 7/10 There is some fun animation of a Mr. Potato Head. He dances, cheers, and periodically flies around the room. There are also some fun animations related to shaking dice, pulling new Scrabble letters, and the like. There is nothing spectacular or really that impressive. But its made for kids and families, so it doesn't really need to be. One of the Design aspects of the game that I found unnecessary was that the games are kept in a "Family Room". You can download new themes for the room and spin around in a circle to view it. You can't really spend time in the room and it seems to be pretty pointless. They could have saved the time and money the spent designing this room and added more achievements or even another game.
Sound: 5/10 Prepare yourself for some pretty annoying music. Its extremely redundant and geared for small children. There are lots of little exclamations made by the omnipotent Mr. Potato Head. Where the game does make up for all this is the life-like sound of the games. The rattling Yahtzee dice in a cup, the little Boggle cubes, the Scrabble tiles, etc. If you play the game for more than an hour or two, those sounds become really irritating. But you probably weren't meant to be staring at this game for a full day.
Game Play: 9/10 This game is really easy to understand. If you can play the games in real life, you can play them on the screen. If you don''t know how to play the games, there are a lot of easy to follow instructions. The opening screen takes awhile to navigate through and that can be pretty annoying. But once the game starts, its really easy to play through. There is not a ton of time wasted in between player turns or even when starting a new game. The fast load times keep the games quick and entertaining. There are also different game modes for each title. You do speed rounds, versus modes, and lots of other old school options. So if your family is used to playing a certain way, it is most likely an option here. You can even set up your own personalized games with game types, score limits, and more.
Overall: 8/10 This game is great for a family. Its not made for little kids. So don't expect your child to come on this thing and understand Boggle or Scrabble before they can spell. Depending on the mental skill level of your child, I wouldn't really play these games with anyone under the age of eight. The game has the great reliability much like Tetris or Peggle. It is easy to play when I don't really need to focus. The achievements are pretty fun as well. They have a pretty great spread. About a third of the achievements are really easy and will be reached through natural play. The next third take some intentional attempts. And the last third are really hard to do and are based almost on luck.
Buy / Rent: This game was a Buy for me and I'm glad that I did it. It is a classic, easy game that can be played over and over. Much like these board games have stood the test of time, they do the same on this disc. Even if I don't play the game every week, I still come back to this it periodically. When I can't decide what game to play, I will chat with people over the network and play this until I have made my decision.
This game is a little bit older, but that just makes it even better. You can buy it pre-owned for around $35 and it is well worth that money. There are newer versions of the game that have other Hasbro titles, but since the game is newer, it is also more expensive.