Before video games, there were board games. Gamers of a similar age to myself will likely remember sitting down with family and friends to play board games. Younger gamers will more likely remember being forced to play these games when visiting Gran, when all they really wanted to do was play GameBoy. Such is life.
With Hasbro family Game Night 3, from EA, we have five classic board games, or rather non-video games, that have been given the digital treatment in order to appeal to youngsters and ignite a spark of nostalgia in the older gamers out there.
Good ‘ole Mister Potato Head returns as host for this compilation and greets the players as they arrive on the island theme park that acts as the games main menu. From here the player has access to each of the games, which offer a standard version and a remixed version where things are slightly tweaked. The presentation can’t be faulted, even on the Wii version which I tried out. It is bright and colourful and will catch the eye of any youngster in the room. Mister Potato Head helps with this, being an instantly recognisable character that kids love. But, funky menu aside, the meat of this game is in the five board game adaptations on offer.
Let’s start with Mouse Trap. I don’t know about you, but when I was young the most fun to be had with this game was in constructing the complex trap. In fact, I don’t think I ever actually finished a proper game. Sadly the construction of the trap has been removed from the players control here, resulting in a simple board game race to the finish. The remix version makes the game a bit more fun by adding the chance to set traps for your opponent.
Cluedo, the classic game of deduction, makes an appearance next. Staying relatively faithful to the original board game ensures that this game at least still offers the thrill of the original. But this is all messed up by one very simple fact – everyone else can see your clues. That is unless they look away when they are asked to before they are displayed on the screen. Which is unlikely to happen. I can understand that this is a difficult problem to solve, but politely asking everyone except the current player to look the other way seems a bit hit and miss to me. Still, the remix version spices things up by adding a die that dictates random events, such as being attacked by the murderer and losing a turn.
Yahtzee Hand’s Down is simply a card based version of the Yahtzee dice game, with player having to make a decent hand from the six cards they are given. Of the whole collection, this simple card game probably works the best and is the most fun. But this could simply be because of the games simplicity.
The Game of Life is another board game, much like Mouse Trap, that is simply a digital replica. Players race around the board, making various life style decisions, until a winner is announced. It works perfectly well, yet still feels as if something is missing, like a soul.
Finally we have the most interesting of the bunch – Twister. How are you imagining this to play? Perhaps a mini game for each coloured spot, with difficulty dependant on the difficulty of the maneuver? Or maybe you imagine that you use the WiiMote to strategically position your avatars limbs in the correct places?
Actually, it is a rhythm game where the player must simply press the correct buttons at the correct time. Nothing at all to do with the original Twister game. To be honest, I am not really sure what happened here.
It may seem like I am being a bit harsh here, and maybe I am. The presentation of the entire game is top notch, with all of the board games being represented with 3D equivalents and Miis being integrated into each of them. There are mini games in most of the different board games which, whilst not exactly taxing, do offer some distraction. And at the end of the day, it is aimed more for the little people.
Whilst most gamers will have trouble finding anything in this package to get excited about, Family Game Night 3 offers at least a couple of faithful representations of classic games that board game lovers will enjoy. And what better way for them to interact with the younger generation than through video game adaptations of classic board games. One for the younger and the older.