Yes I’m a video gamer but I’m not un-partial to the odd board game or two but I admit that my Scrabble board hasn’t seen the light of day since the official Scrabble app arrived on Facebook. As well as playing computer and video games since an early age I have always liked board games, some of my favourites include classics such as: Monopoly, Chess and the aforementioned Scrabble. So as you can imagine, when Hasbro Family Game Night for Nintendo DS arrived for review I wasn’t too displeased.
Sadly before my review of Family Game Night has hardly begun, I already have a complaint. It contains just four (yes 4) games. Battleship, Connect 4, Bob It and Operation are all digitally created here for your portable playing pleasure; so will the transfer from the real world to the virtual world suit these classic games? Whilst none of these games made my favourite list I have still enjoyed many a game of Connect 4 and Battleships during my youth; it must be said though that Operation and Bob It have never had the pleasure of my playtime, until now.
I’m sure most of you will have played some or all of these classic games in the past so I won’t spend too much time introducing them to you.
- Battleship is a strategic two player naval war game. Both players secretly position 5 differently sized warships on a large grid which represents the sea. Players then take it in turns to fire a missile to one square in that grid. If they’re very lucky they’ll hit one of their opponent’s ships and can then plan a strategy to sink that ship. More often than not a player will miss and fire a missile ‘harmlessly’ into the sea.
- Connect 4 is of course the simple game we all know and love where your job is to match four of your coloured Chips in a row before the other player. Players take it in turns to place their coin into a vertical grid either to build up a row themselves or try and block their foe.
- Bob It is the most unusual addition to the game because it is in fact a toy as opposed to a board game. It’s a musical toy that asks the player to perform actions on the device (such as pushing a button or twisting a handle) at an ever increasing speed until the player mucks up and does the wrong thing.
- Operation of course is the kids favourite title where players have to remove an awkwardly shaped piece from a game board with tweezers. What makes it fun is the game board is shaped in the form of a hospital patient. Once again players take it turns to remove a piece from his body without catching it on the side and setting off the buzzer, or killing him I suppose.
So how do the games transfer from the physical world to the DS? Well in my opinion it’s a bit 50/50 because I only like two of the games. Connect 4 and Battleship feel absolutely natural on the touchscreen; be it tapping on a grid coordinate to send your missile towards an enemy ship or placing your yellow chip right in the way of an upcoming row of 4 red chips. On the other hand Bob It feels a bit out of place with it getting you to pretend to twist a crank or shout into the DS microphone. Operation on the other hand has been revamped a bit from the original game and actually puts you inside the body with obstructions such as mobile phones stuck inside the guy’s body. The principle is still the same but it feels much more like a Wario Ware mini game that has been dragged out a bit too far.
Now even the craziest of board game fans may feel a little short changed by this display of contents; thankfully EA have out a bit more effort into the production with some neat extras. Firstly you can choose the difficulty of the cpu opponent (if you’re playing on your own) from Normal to Expert. Secondly each game has at least one extra play mode which can at times veer things away from the rules of the original. For example you can play Connect 4 with SuperChips; here you’ll have a much more exciting game against the clock as well as having special powered chips which can affect the gameplay in interesting ways. These include a bomb which will blow up the surrounding chips, a newton chip which pushes the bottom most chip in that column out of the board and a basic but lovely double score chip. Oh and not to forget in this mode you can connect more than 4 chips in a row with successive combos, great!
Aside from all this the most fun you’ll have in Family Game Night on DS is with another player, you can either take it turns on the same DS or if you have another you can share the game using Single Card Download Play or Experience the full game in multiplayer if you own two copies of the game.
Presentationally the game is pretty sweet, all of the games are pretty faithfully recreated in look and feel and the addition of Mr Potato Head of Toy Story fame as host rounds things off nicely. Whilst I didn’t like two of the games I know it’s all down to personal choice so there isn’t anything that negative to say about the game apart from the stingy offering of just four titles.
Hasbro Family Game Night does exactly what it says on the box. It’s a fun recreation of four of their most popular games on the DS and scores a decent 7 out of 10.
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Related: Rubiks World Review for Wii, Rubiks Puzzle World for DS