3 Star Games, Game Reviews, Games, Reviews

Family Party: 30 Great Games Obstacle Arcade Review


It’s been quite a while since I’ve played a low budget party game but it was time to finally do so again with this title. 30 Great Games is actually a series that also had an installment on the Wii. That one was not particularly good and the same can be said for this one. There are some decent mini games thrown in of course, but they’re surrounded by poor game design and odd decisions on how they are structured. You won’t be sticking with this game for very long.

As the title suggests there are 30 different mini games to choose from here. Some of them are pretty solid while others leave much to be desired. If you just look at the games you would probably expect this game to actually be pretty decent. They aren’t as overly long as in other party games and there are actually good ideas here that I would like to see Mario Party incorporate. If the game could have just put a little more effort into the other parts then it could have been good.

Where the game messes up is in every other area. For starters the only modes in the game are the free play mode and the main campaign option where you unlock all of the mini games. Free play is self explanatory and works well. The main campaign has issues though. There are 6 worlds and each one has 5 levels. That would have been straightforward enough but then you have to get through the 5 Gamepad levels as well and there aren’t many of those so prepare to face the same mini games over and over again. This is definitely a case of quick padding to extend the game despite the lack of content. Think about it, for every world to have 10 levels we would need 50, but since there are only 30 that means you need to keep on replaying quite a lot. Throwing away the Gamepad levels or simply including them once would have been much better. It would have been a proper campaign even if it was rather short.

As for the controls, they aren’t particularly good. Part of the point of the Wii U was to finally get rid of the motion controls so we could go back to proper gaming. Unfortunately this game didn’t get the memo. Wii Remotes are actually mandatory and you very rarely get to use the Gamepad. The game can’t even decide on what control scheme it really wants so you are forced to keep on changing depending on the minigame that has been queued up next. This means that you have to have the Wii Remote and Gamepad on the entire time which is a huge waste of battery power.

I wouldn’t say that the graphics are anything to write home about either. It looks pretty standard and I’ve seen some N64 games with more heart. Forget about a soundtrack as well. There are unlockables here and it is a party game so I suppose we do have replay value. It’s not done in a very organic way though. You can’t even play the final 2 worlds unless you beat the first 3 multiple times. I don’t really get the purpose of this except to annoy the players. Why lock the final levels behind this extra grind? It just isn’t right.

I guess we should talk about some of the minigames though. One of the ones that I did enjoy is where you have to walk around a log that is constantly shaking. While you attempt to do so the other 3 players will try to hit you with cannonballs. You can block with your shield, but you can’t move while you are blocking with is definitely a tough tradeoff. You have to go slowly but surely as you wrestle your way through the stage and it is not easy. Then you’ve got a level where you try to run over 3 players who are hiding in the dark. The 1 vs 3 games were just the most fun even if they didn’t always feel very balanced. The 3 have the edge in most of them.

There’s a free for all minigame where you have to jump over hurdles and sprint to the end. This one’s pretty fun and doesn’t really have any gimmicks. It’s just about going fast. Then there are various reaction games where you have to press the combo on screen before anyone else does. You do this for a few rounds and then the points will determine who won the battle. These are all solid and I can’t say that there were any minigames that were bad. The worst ones are really just hurt because of the motion controls. For example there was a jumping one where I couldn’t get the remote to let me jump sideways. Likewise there was another one about moving sideways and my guy wouldn’t budge. Take that away and those games would be a lot of fun.

Overall, This is not a party game that I would recommend. I would consider it to be one of the worst ones. At least the Wii party games have a good excuse since they were forced onto the console and needed to use the motion controls. This one just chose to do so for some reason and that was not the best decision. I’ll always stand by the fact that motion controls will always be worse than the standard ones and so I’m glad that they’ve been phased out. If you want a good party game to play through then I’d suggest picking something a lot more mainstream like Mario Party. You want a game like that which will last a while as well as give you a good journey along the way.

Overall 3/10

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3 Star Games, Game Reviews, Games, Reviews

Star Wars Flight of The Falcon Review


It’s rare that I play a game that falls under a 5. For the most part there are usually fun things to enjoy in a game so I won’t be giving it a downright negative score. That being said, Flight of The Falcon is definitely one of those. It’s limited by a lot of things including poor level designs and the lack of a continue feature. Mix em all together and you’ve easily got the worst Star Wars games and it ranks as one of the worst titles that I’ve played. I don’t know what this game was thinking.

The game very vaguely follows the plot of the original trilogy. The levels have you flying around in the Falcon as you blast away at enemies or try to make it to the end goal in the time allotted. There are 14 levels but good luck seeing all of them. They are divided into 3 chapters. Once you’ve lost all your lives and continues you’re taken to a game over screen and start back from level 1. You can put in a password so that you can continue but it only takes you to the beginning of a chapter. So for example, if you lose on level 6 then your only options are to start over at level 1 or skip to level 7 which starts chapter 2. There is no way to return to where you started.

Even for password save games this is a bit much. I can’t think of any other game which is so restrictive with the continue feature. If you ask me there wasn’t a whole lot of quality control done on this game. It seems like they really slapped it together. Aside from this, the level designs aren’t any fun either. They all drag on for too long and there are glitches everywhere. The only real way to beat level 2 is to fly straight through the buildings. If you zoom straight ahead and start to turn then it’s like the building won’t exist anymore. You can just go through it and save some seconds. On the other hand, sometimes the building will appear and you’ll end up dying. One hit to the terrain is instant death of course.

You can expect to die a lot of times here. This game is super difficult, but not in a legit way. Throw in some good levels and it would be a pretty reasonable game. The objectives aren’t even clearly defined as you can easily get stuck in a level because you aren’t sure what to do. Some levels have you taking down enemies while others have you rushing towards the goal. Apparently you can determine this by looking at a small indicator near the bottom of the screen. Good luck looking for that one!

The graphics aren’t anything to write home about either. The sprites are very blurry and the camera literally can’t keep up when there are too many objects on the field. As a result you’ll die to invisible things in some of the later levels. A meteorite didn’t properly load so you bump into it and then it appears. Whenever you die like that it definitely does not feel legit. The soundtrack is also pretty bland. There’s nothing to it and I’m sure you’ll forget it within minutes of completing the level. It’s a shame, but the game had no soul to it.

Naturally that also means there isn’t a whole lot of replay value. If you can ace the levels you can beat this game in under 2 hours. Otherwise, you can also be here forever if you don’t conquer all of the levels. I beat the first 5 and then beat levels 7-8, but I’m not about to start from scratch every time I get a game over. I called it a day here, but call me back when the game gets an HD remake with a save feature that works. The password system just hasn’t aged well and this game takes it as low as possible.

I tried to think about any positive aspects of the game, but I’m running on empty here. I suppose the loading screens are pretty quick. You don’t have to worry about getting bored there because the levels do come up fast. Maybe that’s because the game doesn’t have to bother loading much since the game isn’t saving anything anyway, if so that’s a silver lining I suppose. Most of the cutscenes start out with 10-20 seconds of nothing happening though so I think the budget for the animations was probably pretty slim. There’s nothing exciting about seeing a ship move in slow motion for ages until the cutscene ends.

Overall, Flight of the Falcon is a game I’d recommend avoiding. Unfortunately it snaps Star Wars’ streak of solid games all around. I suppose when you get enough games you’re bound to run into a bad one at some point. The concept isn’t bad and at least it’s a unique style, but the execution was just really weak. I can’t say that I’ll be missing this game and hopefully the next GBA title in the series is a lot better. I can’t see how it would be worse to be honest so it should be uphill from here on out.

Overall 3/10

3 Star Games, Game Reviews, Games, Reviews

Family Game Night 3 Review


It’s time to look at an old party game I have for the PS3. Oddly enough, even though I played the games back in the day I never bothered to actually upload it to the site or anything. Well, it was a good excuse to go back and replay the game for the review, but unfortunately it isn’t as good as I remembered it and I already knew that it was a bad game. I dare say that this could be the worst party game of them all and that’s saying something. At the very least it gives the bottom tier ones some competition.

There are 5 minigames total. That’s already a pretty sad number when you consider that this is a PS3 game. I mean, you could have a little excuse for this if it was for an older system, but for the PS3 I expect more. There is nothing else to do in this game so if you’re looking for some good replay value look elsewhere. I mean, I suppose you could go after the Platinum trophy, but you’ll have to sink in a decent amount of hours for that and with how many luck based trophies there are it could be a while. I think you can cheese most of them through two player mode if it helps. You will also be gathering some Potato Head costumes along the way which I guess should be interesting.

Lets look at the actual games though as a party title lives or dies on those. We’ll start with 2 of the good ones. The first is Twister. It’s pretty self explanatory except they misspelled Dance Dance Revolution. After all this Twister game is nothing like Twister. You hit the right buttons as they pass the screen. It’s the exact gameplay of a DDR game, but without having to actually dance and hit the buttons yourself. It’s an easier way of doing it, but less engaging. Still, on its own I actually like this minigame. There was a reasonable amount of effort put behind it and the core gameplay is just fun. Not to mention that there is less waiting on this one since I believe each player tries to match the notes simultaneously.

The next minigame is Yahtzee. This one must be easy to develop or something since it seems to be the old standby for pretty much all of the party games on the block. Well, that’s not a bad thing I suppose since the gameplay isn’t half bad. The problem is that they add a Hands Down! mechanic where you have to get a certain combo and then fight someone with the same one. I don’t get the point of this and it just takes away some of the fun. It drags the games out more than they should be since it forces everyone to keep going until 2 people have the exact card combination. Of course dragging things out is exactly what this game likes to do as you’ll see in the next 3 games.

Next up we have got Mouse Trap which is basically a movie. You roll the dice and move through the board that has no ending. The goal is to pick up a lot of cheese which you get by landing on a cheese spot. Thing is, you can’t control anything except for dodging some traps by pressing x at the right time. Beyond that, you just follow the dice and keep on rolling until you get your cheese. This can take over 15 minutes, likely longer if you play multiplayer. The problem is that the cheese traps take your cheese away and the odds of getting a lucky roll to land on the cheese 6 times is quite low. At least, it’s low if you want to finish at a reasonable time. I think my problem with this is that you aren’t really doing anything so is it really a game at that point? It’s 100% luck and that’s not cool. There is absolutely no point to the game and it takes too long to finish. Making it more interactive would have helped a lot.

Life falls into the same traps. This one has you on a long, straight board without any real mixups or elements to make it interesting. You want to retire and whoever does so first wins. So, to do that you spin the dice and watch where the road takes you. You do get some slight options like choosing 3 cards out of 9 but they are all random so you can’t see what it is anyway and then you pick your favorite card which will give you some effects. You won’t know which effect you’ll be getting though since you have to wait until you roll the dice for that. Everything is just so random and nothing is explained properly. It’s another really boring auto game where nothing is happening.

Finally we have Clue. This one is a slight improvement over the last 2 but not by much. At least you are trying to solve a case and you can choose in what direction you move. On the other hand, a lot of time is wasted for the many special effects that happen every turn. Whenever someone turns on the lights we get a cutscene and either a suspect is eliminated or one of the players will lose a turn. Either way it takes up time and if someone rolls a house party effect then everyone is reset back to their original positions. This is the longest cutscene by far as it’s almost a full minute and the computer activated it multiple times during our encounter. The minigame is pretty faithful to the board game, but it’s nowhere near as fun.

Family Game Night just didn’t realize how to make the board games fun in video game format and that is the big problem here. The game could and should have been a lot of fun, but instead it is just too drawn out. There are also loading times between every game that take up a lot of time. It’s the same cutscene for each loading time as well which doesn’t help matters. Each game also gets an unskippable intro that isn’t as amusing as it seems to think it is. The game is definitely not optimized.

As far as the graphics go, it’s certainly not PS3 level. I doubt that a lot of serious effort was put into this game. It was probably slapped together very quickly and rushed out to stores for the $$$. Hopefully it didn’t work as I can’t imagine buying it for full price and then realizing how terrible it was. At least Game Night 4 heavily improved upon this game but there is still no excuse for starting out this badly. At least give us a good soundtrack!

Overall, This game is brutal. I’m not going to mince words here, the game is terrible! There’s no heart behind the game and the actual game selection is bizarre. You shouldn’t have 3/5 of the games be all about rolling the dice and hoping that you get the right number. It probably saves on production costs since the games are so similar, but it’s not great from a player perspective. There won’t be any point where you are actually enjoying this game enough to justify buying it. I highly recommend avoiding it and if you want a decent party game check out the Mario Party series. That one gets in a proper balance of skill and luck while also making sure that no minigame overstays its welcome. That’s how you make a party game.

Overall 3/10

3 Star Games, Game Reviews, Games, Reviews

Pac-Man Pinball Advance Review


I rarely give negative reviews to video games because I tend to enjoy them all, but this is certainly one of those exceptions. Pac-Man Pinball forgets the essence of what makes a Pinball game good. You want to try and beat your high scores and watch yourself improve. Even the legendary Pac-Man game wouldn’t be quite as good if you couldn’t save your scores. Add in the fact that this game seems to have a pretty small budget and little quality testing…and you certainly do not have a winner on your side. Pac-Man couldn’t save the game and if he couldn’t…who could!?

There are only two stages to choose from in this game. Each stage has a night and a day form. You then go around collecting pellets, but even when you do, more of them just pop up. It’s hard to know exactly what you are supposed to be doing. Maybe you have to light up the full Pac board instead of focusing on the Pellets or you have to enter the mysterious house. Either way, good luck with that since the controls are so bad and the house is only open for a very short amount of time. The controls just aren’t as smooth as Mario pinball and sending the ball where you want it to go is a surprisingly difficult task.

One ability that just makes the game more complicated is that you can shake the screen. It definitely has an effect on the ball, but it’s hard to say which direction it brings the ball or if it is even handy. There didn’t seem to be much of a point to the shaking gimmick. Maybe the developers were hoping that it would distract the players from the rest of the game. If so…I have to say that it was a rather clever move…or just a desperate one.

The graphics aren’t all that bad. The highlight of the game is the opening cutscene. I don’t even know if there is an ending, but if so, getting there is nigh impossible. I don’t plan to spend 20 hours mastering the gameplay and since it is partially luck based as well, it just wouldn’t feel worth it. The stages are clear and easy to see and all of the character designs appear to be on point. The game looks as good as you would hope and at least it means that you are in for a visually pleasing experience. As for the soundtrack, it is pretty nonexistent. You’d hop that the game could have grabbed a nifty Pac-Man theme or something, but it feels like free domain themes that won’t grab your attention for any more than a few seconds. It’s just how it is.

I barely even need to talk about the replay value because there is none. There is nothing to do in the game besides playing those 2 levels over and over again despite not having any incentive to do so because there is no high score. It really feels like this game was abandoned when it was very early in development. It’s just not complete and must have just been prepared to earn a few extra bucks. Certainly not a very nice gesture on their part and I’m glad that I only paid a few bucks for it.

Overall, This is one of the lowest scored games that I’ve reviewed. It’s just hard to get much worse than this and I’d say that you can make an argument for a 2. I’m just giving it a 3 because at the very least, the gameplay is fairly entertaining. It’s Pinball and I do enjoy Pinball, but it’s just so low effort that it is sad. You would have more fun playing Pinball on the computer, after all, that’s what I did for many hours back when I was a kid. The sound effects were a lot more hype and trying to beat my record was always a whole lot of fun. If you’re looking for a fun game to pass the time by, you can do a lot better. There is no reason to buy this game so I highly recommend staying away. Curiosity is not a good enough reason to buy this game although I suppose you may feel obligated to do so anyway if you’re a huge Pac-Man fan. If so, take the plunge, but prepare yourself. If anyone actually does beat the game (If there even is an end point to reach) let me know what the ending’s like. Surely it will be a great reward for those of you who stuck with the game for so long without any actual payoff.

Overall 3/10