This is the fourth offering in Hasbro’s Family Game Night series. Turns out it is based on an actual game show, but having never seen or heard of this game show, it’s hard to make comparisons. In this digital version, there is a red team and a yellow team, and you can play either with the controller or using a Kinect.
Family Game Night 4 features five different mini-games that make up an ‘episode’ of the game show. You can choose to play an entire episode of all five mini-games, or just select individual the mini-games. Selecting the individual mini-games allows you to choose between the normal, show version of the mini-game, or a slightly modified version with a few extra parameters to keep things interesting.
First upis Connect 4 Basketball, where the two players must get four balls in a row by shooting them into the Connect 4 grid. You can interfere with your opponent’s attempts, or just focus on getting your four as quickly as possible.
The second mini-game is Boggle Flash, where you are given a set of 5 letters and have to rearrange the letters to make words and gain score. You and your opponent share the board and the letters, so the other team may steal the word you were planning to make next. This particular mini-game is awful on the Kinect, as it is quite hard to select the letters and move them around quickly. Using the controller is also a bit buggy, and you may find the letters moving down when you wanted to go left, for instance.
The next mini-game is Yahtzee Bowling, where you literally bowl over 6-sided pins (instead of throwing dice as you would in normal Yahtzee). The more matching numbers you get, the closer you are to winning and to Yahtzee (five of a kind). This game is rather fun, though it requires very little skill.
Next is Sorry Sliders. You have a gigantic game piece which you have to push forward and hope it lands in one of the scoring zones. You have two sliders per round, and there’s nothing to stop your opponent’s (or your own) sliders from colliding with others and pushing them out of the scoring zone or even into another scoring zone. The score you get for each round is only counted when all the sliders have stopped moving. So you can go from 5 points to 0 through a bit of bad luck or skill on your opponent’s part. You may struggle with the controller during Sorry Sliders, as it is not easy to regulate how hard to push the slider using the analogue sticks. The announcer is also particularly annoying and repetitive in this mini-game.
The final mini-game, Bop It, is one of the more entertaining mini-games. It requires you to have fairly good reflexes, as you must complete a certain action based on the announcer’s commands. This mini-game works equally well on the controller or the Kinect (if you can remember all the moves), though you may have some collisions if you are playing multiplayer using the Kinect.
Unfortunately, the Kinect controls are not as polished as you might expect, given that the box states ‘Better with Kinect sensor’. In fact, most of the mini-games are easier with the controller. On the other hand, you may find certain circumstances where the Kinect allowed a little bit more control, especially in games requiring you to throw or push items. In other words, both control schemes are flawed, so you are likely to be somewhat unsatisfied, no matter which option you choose. You also cannot change your mind during a given mini-game or episode.
The game is very noisy, the music is repetitive, and often the crowd noises and game sounds are louder than the announcer (who is also very repetitive). While using the controller does allow you to skip most custscenes, there are a few that can’t be skipped, including the long ‘winning’ cutscene where your totals are added up. Which brings us to the iffy system for winning an episode of the game show: Every round you win, you gain a Monopoly money card. At the end of the episode, these cards are fed into a machine that shows the card’s value. So you could have won more cards than your opponent, but still lose the game because your cards happen to be worth less than theirs!
The game is easy enough that most kids (and adults) should be able to master the mini-games. There’s quite a bit of variety between the mini-games to keep things interesting: some test your skills or speed, while others are based on luck. However, the dodgy controls, especially when using the Kinect, let it down.
Design and Presentation: 6/10
There’s nothing wrong with the graphics in this game. They are clean, cartoony and colourful. The contestants in the game show are Xbox avatars, so there’s nothing fancy there. For some reason, however, the game designers felt the need to make the music, commentators and other sound effects as loud and annoying as possible. After a few episodes of the game, these are likely to drive you and everyone in your house mad.
This game is quite fun, especially if you’re playing against a friend or family member. However, as there are only five individual mini-games that do not require much skill to master, it may quickly become repetitive.
Kids might enjoy this game, but adult members of the family will suffer. The host, Mr Potato Head, is quite amusing in his various getups, and the mini-games are quite fun, but everything quickly becomes repetitive. Also, no more than two people can play at the same time, so the rest of the family will just have to watch!
Last Updated: November 15, 2011