Mr. Potato Head hosts a game show comprised of several remixes of popular Hasbro board games. Contestants in Family Game Night 4 are represented by Xbox LIVE avatars, which personalizes the game nicely, and players interact with giant sized familiar game pieces like Sorry tokens, and a story-high Connect 4 board.
Players can either play each challenge separately, or play all 5 challenges one after the other, collecting Monopoly markers to cash in at the end of the game. Although the game is called Family Game Night, and most families are more than two people, only two players can compete at once.
Some challenges remain virtually (see what I did there?) the same as their physical counterparts, like Scrabble and Bop-it. Connect Four is livened up by allowing players to shoot tokens like basketballs, allowing errors and bounces to add unpredictability to the game. Yahtzee becomes a bowling game with 6 sided pins instead of dice. My favorite is Sorry Shuffle, in which players push giant pieces as in shuffleboard, requiring strategy and allowing players to bounce opposing players out of the scoring zones.
Although playing Basketball Connect Four and Shuffle Sorry are both fun, each challenge only lasts a few minutes. This may be good for a family of 6, since only 2 can play at once, but after a while, the play experience feels rather shallow. Even though each challenge type has two modes, regular and extreme, a player can experience all the game has to offer in 30 minutes or less.
Family Night’s biggest flaw is the Kinect controls. Player motions are often not recognized, and the problem intensifies with two players. It can be very frustrating to have a word spelled out in Scrabble, and not get points because the time ran out, and the game did not recognize a left swipe. The game also frequently grinds to a halt when two are playing, and demands the players to painstakingly back up and fit themselves into silhouettes to be rescanned. Other games do not seem to have this issue, and it really takes players out of the experience.
Familiar game icons supersized and thrown around by my avatar.
Very few game modes, little replayability
Wish I could change:
Family Game Night 4 was provided for review by EA. 11/32 trophies were earned over the course of 2 1/2 hours. All modes were played, including multiplayer. Two 7 year olds contributed this review.