A BrutalGamer.com review.
Has Mr Potato Head had his chips!? EA struck marketing gold earlier in the year with their HasbroFamily Game Night package on the Wii. Having spent a fair few hours paying battleships and other things with the kids I can attest to the fact that it works well enough and saves looking for the bits to the board games for hours on end. Along comes the DS version of the package that is now available as Family Game Night 2 and is also kicking about on PSN and XBLA.
The package contains 4 board games. Battleships, Bop-it!, Operation and Connect 4. Yup that’s it. So let’s wade in to the “fun” shall we? Graphically not a whole heap has been done with these titles. They are all fairly flat representations of the board games they are based on. So much could of been done to upscale this experience or jazz up[ the environments but what we have here is a very plain, function game space. Each game is recreated well enough and is completely function to look at. The inclusion of Mr Potato Head as your games master is welcome once again. Everything about the graphics in the game scream “functional” at best.
Sound wise the game at least has a good stab at upping the ante. The spot effects are well made and fit well in with the game – who does not want to hear large explosions as you take down a battleship? The tunes and little ditties that play throughout the package are all of a superior quality to the rest of the game and help life the overall package well above it’s mediocre station.
Gameplay wise things range from kind of fun to kind of broken. Battleships is as great fun as ever and adding to the standard Battleships mix the ability to undertake the Salvo mode where you take several shots each round. It works by allowing you to take a shot per ship still afloat – 3 ships then 3 shots per go. You can also unlock Super Weapons that add to the gameplay as well that take out several “squares” at at time.
So from the best of the bunch to the worst – Bop-It! This is the representation of the reaction game you hold in your hand and slap about, twisting and turning and thumping the big button on it. This simply can not and does not work. Try as you might you just can not get the system to respond well enough as it issues you command to touch this or twist that or yell X into the microphone. Connect 4 is 100% functional – it does no more or no less than a standard board version would do & offers a reasonable distraction – once again it saves looking for the last 2 red counters down the back of the sofa. Sure “Power Chips” add a little spice by blocking a column for x number of turns but it is still just Connect 3
Operation rounds out this motley crew and tries hard to add some touchscreen variation to the game. Of all the titles that would fit with a touch screen, stylus based, console this should be it. They try to make it more interesting by adding a game mode that makes you guide the removed operation part through a narrow tunnel after removal. This sort of works but reduces the games tense atmosphere to just a time trial game instead.
Multiplayer wise you can play these titles against a friend. You can do this by either sharing the titles via system link downloads or by both having a cart. By using the 2 carts you get all the features but if you go the download route you will get reduced in game options on some titles. As ever playing against a human player is infinitely more fun than playing a CPU player. It adds a lot of longevity dependant on who you play with.
I’m sure this title is not aimed at me at all as a hard-core gamer and if I took it at face value we would be looking at a score of 2 to 3 max. That said I sat down with my kids and we had a few goes on it and the kids enjoyed what they played – and there is your target demographic. I just think that EA have kind phoned this collection in. With the Hasbro moniker on the front and regular family favourites on the play list it will appeal as an easy purchase for parents and grandparents for younger kids. As such I can see it’s merit but there are 1001 freeware titles online that will do just as well. If you do want this kind of thing on the go this will fill that gap just don’t expect much more from it than the bog standard games in a handy cartridge.