Electronic Theatre In-depth Review: Hasbro Family Game Night

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            Electronic Arts have finally brought Hasbro Family Game Night to the Nintendo DS. After launching late last year on Wii and at Easter this year on Xbox LIVE Marketplace, with an Xbox 360 retail release having also arrived recently, the Nintendo DS version couldn’t come soon enough. The fact that Hasbro Family Game Night for Nintendo DS features a number of the Hasbro games included in the Wii release of Hasbro Family Game Night Vol. 2 may confuse some, but it’s quite obvious from the titles included that they have been chosen for their adaptability to the Stylus and Touch Screen combination.

            The entirety of Hasbro Family Game Night is controlled using the Touch Screen, from menus to every in-game action. The four games present are adapted to the console asElectronic Theatre Image would be expected, with Connect 4 being a simple case of dragging and dropping tokens whilst Battleship asks for a simple tap to select your target square on the grid. Bop It! is perhaps the least enticing game included, whilst Operation demonstrates an interesting adaptation of the original’s hand-eye coordination challenge.

            While the original Operation game tasks the player with removing body parts from an uncomfortable looking patient whilst avoiding making contact with the edges of their cavity, here in Hasbro Family Game Night, the player must extract the body part along narrow tubes representative of the original task. Touching the sides will disrupt the patient’s heartbeat, giving you a limited amount of time to resuscitate him by tapping the screen at the command of a heartbeat monitor. Each game features additional challenges on top of the recreation of the original game, and here with Operation players are challenged to more enduring procedures and the incredibly frustrating Speed Operation mode.

            Connect 4’s basic mode plays exactly as you would expect, while the Power Play mode adds an additional layer of strategy to the proceedings. The idea here is to connect as many sets of four as possible in the given time limit, with tokens being removed from play when matched and any tokens above falling to fill gaps – allowing for well managed combos. Special tokens are included, such as the bomb token which blows up all other tokens it touches when placed and a heavy token that will destroy every token already placed in the column you drop it. Battleship’s Salvo Mode is perhaps the most interesting addition however, allowing players to plot a shot for each ship they have remaining.

            Hasbro Family Game Night features a number of additional challenges, such as beating a Genius difficulty opponent at Connect 4 or winning every game through wireless play, each of which unlock new items. Each game also has a number of backgrounds that can be unlocked by Electronic Theatre Imagesuccessfully beating Artificial Intelligence (AI) opponents at increasing difficulty settings and by performing record manoeuvres such as connecting five tokens in Connect 4, or running a five-hit lucky streak in Battleships, but even this is unlikely to hold the players’ interest longer than the multi-player options.

            Hasbro Family Game Night utilises that much cherished feature so frequently ignored with modern Nintendo DS releases: Single Card DS Download Play. It may only be available for two players with either a Game Card each or just a single copy, but is quite clearly the intended way to play. Each of the four games can be played wirelessly or in the Pass Play mode, in which the console is passed back-and-forth between each player.

            While Hasbro Family Game Night isn’t the most attractive game on the Nintendo DS, its’ presentation is comfortable. A three-dimensional Mr. Potato Head is present to manage each game, and though simple in their appearance, each game is instantly recognisable. The soundtrack however is simply best removed from the picture, with some of the most annoying sound effects ever witnessed in videogaming.

            With only four games available on the Game Card, it would be easy to suggest that Hasbro Family Game Night is a limited game. The single-player aspect, though entertaining, will not hold a players’ interest for too long and being reliant on multi-player may make the game suitable for long journeys or the occasional evening, but certainly not a month or two or regular play. Hasbro Family Game Night joins the line-up of games perfect for a long train ride or flight, but will rarely return to the console beyond that.

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