Family Guy: Back to the Multiverse is exhibit A in everything that is wrong with licensed titles. The weak, uninspired gameplay, poorly designed levels, insipidly bad hit detection, and wooden animations combine to form Voltron: Defender of Horrible Game Development Strategy. But, sadly, as a gamer who’s seen far too many similar titles strike the market, I wasn’t surprised. Games like Family Guy don’t get their sales from their gameplay: they get them from the license.
Clearly, this is a product aimed at fans of the show. The opening sequence of the game is the actual title sequence to the show, and Back to the Multiverse is built around the plot to one of the episodes in Season 8 (sadly, long after the glory days of good Family Guy had passed, but that’s a debate for another day). Unfortunately, as soon as those opening credits end, so does any hope for any sort of quality. As the first scene opens, Brian and Stewie stand around, spewing out their normal dialogue and looking like statues. Their arms looked like they were stapled in place. And as I listened to them speak and attempt joke after joke, I learned the horrible truth: This game isn’t funny.
I didn’t laugh a single time.
And the more jokes I heard, the more the game made me want to either die or stop playing. I chose option B.
You see, despite the obvious attempts to appeal to the Family Guy fan, the game fails to even approach the standards of humor that series reaches. Eschewing the pop culture references that made the series great (who can forget the Kool-Aid man? Oh yeahhhhhhhhhh), the game focuses solely on utterly lowbrow toilet humor. I think I was ruined for life in the Fraternity level, as Lois repeatedly said, “fill me up boys” and “Did you ever finish on a c-section scar?” Yes, when Meg lifts up her top for an Amish man he vomits all over the ground. Pleasant. And while this is par for the course in a Family Guy episode, it’s packaged so poorly around the game play that it doesn’t even act as a sort of relief from the poor gameplay.
And, oh boy, is the gameplay bad. Turning this series into a third person shooter was a questionable idea to begin with. But the floaty, unsatisfactory shooting combines with the brain dead AI to achieve something that is both annoying to play while and extremely easy. The enemy AI basically charges you with every single foes, while you attempt to blast away at them with your ray gun or pistol. In the first level, I battled hordes of frat boys as they ran after me. I spent the level running backwards, shooting them in the face. That was the entirety of the gameplay for the entire 25 minute level- running backwards from easy-to-kill, brain dead enemies. I didn’t realize Family Guy was about zombies.
The game does include local co-operative play if you wish to inflict it upon someone else. You’ll play as Brian and Stewie, and if you want even more options, you can try out the competitive multiplayer. But really, the gameplay is so horrific that it’s hard to recommend trying it with a friend.
If you’re an obsessed Family Guy fan, you might find some iota of value. Otherwise, you’re better off spending your time fighting Ernie the Giant Chicken. Cluck cluck.