What do Yahtzee, basketball, bowling, Connect Four, and Mr. Potato Head have in common? The latest iteration of the Family Game Night video game series, Family Game Night 4: The Show, that’s what! A game based off a TV show, which is based off the game, that takes Hasbro games and makes them more physical. It sounds complicated, but once you start playing it all makes sense.
FGN4 comes packed with 5 games; Sorry Sliders (slide Sorry pieces towards a bullseye, with the option of knocking your opponents pieces off their points), Connect 4 Basketball (take turns shooting basketballs into a Connect 4 setup), Bop It Boptagon (a crazy contraption with various button presses to “bop it”, “kick it”, etc.), Yahtzee Bowling (roll a ball, knock over pins, select what you want to keep and do it again), and Scrabble Flash (a quick version of Scrabble, taking turns rearranging letters to spell words). You can play them individually, which also allows a variant of the game to be played, or you can play through a “game show” mode.
Playing through a show, you play all five games against a computer or local opponent. Sorry, there is no multiplayer option here. Winning an event will earn you a Monopoly Crazy Cash card with a random amount of money on it. This leads me to problem number one. You can win three events, and your opponent win two events, and they can still win. I realize this is mimicking the game show, but even in that situation, I would be furious if I lost because they just happened to of received the better cards (randomly, mind you). So being called the “winner” at the end of a series of events means very little.
The controls are better played on the Move. The Dualshock is a lot of analog back-and-forth motions. In the spirit of what the game is going for, mimicking the game show, the Move just felt more natural and I had more fun doing the motions for the games. My wife felt that using the Dualshock, most of the analog motions could have been assigned to the “X” button and had a better effect. For example, while it shows pictures of what to do, you always had to press back on the analog stick first, which it doesn’t show. So just flicking the analog stick up to shoot a ball didn’t work.
My wife was very excited to play this game with me, but after one series of events, she couldn’t play anymore. I continued playing, but her reasons were valid. The controls on the Dualshock bothered her. The fact that winning an event meant little, because even if you won the majority of the events, you could still lose, was a large negative. She really didn’t enjoy the games themselves either. I played quite a bit more, and while the controls didn’t both me (on either the Move or Dualshock), I will admit again that the Move felt much better. The trophies offer a little replay value if you do pick this one up for the family. As far as mini-game collections go, you can find better out there, and hopefully the next FGN returns with original games and rewards the winners with something better than “a mystery amount of money”.
My son (7) played this with me the first night I got it. We played through a whole show. Out of the 5 games, he really only understood 2 of them; Sorry Sliders and Connect 4 Basketball. He had a lot of fun with those two, and the other three I had to explain and he still didn’t really get it. Scrabble Flash is still a year or two ahead of him, but he gave it an honest effort and got a word or two himself. Yahtzee Bowling was way over his head, and he was losing interest by this point. He could play some of Bop-It Boptagon, but once the help cues disappeared after a few rounds, he quickly went under.
After that first experience, I honestly couldn’t even bribe him to play with me again. Again, he had a lot of fun with Sorry Sliders and Connect 4 Basketball. So I don’t know if the other three games just brought him down or what. I asked him often if he wanted to play it, and he always refused. In a year or two, when he is closer to 10 years old, he might grasp every game more and enjoy it more.
Bringing board games to the consoles for families to play was a genius idea. No more clean up or sorting pieces. Mr. Potato Head as your host for the evening. An assortment of games on one disc. It all adds up to a great night with the family. Sadly, trying to mimic the game show and put variations of family favorites into the mix doesn’t really translate well.
- Connect 4 Basketball is actually a lot of fun
- Mr. Potato Head!!!!
- budget priced at $40
- unfair earnings can make the “loser” the “winner”
- game variations don’t hold their own
- only a few of the games are really kid friendly