Family Game Night 3

4.0 Overall Score

Written by on December 14, 2010 in

Family Game Night 3 is the first retail version of the FGN series for the Xbox 360. The previous version is available to download on Xbox Live’s Arcade. FGN3 brings to life the animated versions of Mouse Trap, Clue, The Game of Life, Twister, and Yahtzee Hands Down. The game transports you to a remote island that resembles a carnival where each of the games are a featured attraction. As you play through the individual games (multiple times), you can earn building upgrades (such as lights and signs), costumes for your hosts, Mr. and Mrs. Potato Head, and big, gaudy, golden statues for your efforts in the games.

Starting off with one of my favorite board games from my childhood:

The Game of LIFE

Anybody familiar with this game knows that it’s a car ride through life as you select your path. Choose to go to school for a better paying career, or just jump right into your job. Start a family and buy a house. Experience life’s ups and downs as you progress toward retirement and ultimately decide to live in the millionaire estates, or just a regular retirement home. The player with the most assets in the end wins.

This game plays like dragging bricks through the swimming pool. It’s slow. Mini cut-scenes that you cannot skip come up repeatedly. The game uses some mini-games to determine your choices like your house and career. But ultimately the game is almost more time consuming than just breaking out the old dusty game from the closet and playing that instead.

The games all offer a “fast” version. With The Game of Life, it’s just 5 turns and the person with the highest money wins.

There is also the “remix” option on all of the games that take the games and add unique twists. In The Game of Life it’s a race to the end, and the first person to ‘retire’ wins. No money is counted, but instead, landing on green spaces (income or money awards) or red spaces (money you would pay) move you forward or backward in your quest to finish first.

Mouse Trap


I don’t know about anybody else, but what I remember about Mouse Trap was less about playing the game insomuch as moving the pieces around the board, but just putting the trap together and turning the crank a few times to see if it worked. Science experiments for young, so to speak.

In Mouse Trap you do move around the board and assemble the pieces to the trap as you go along. Collecting cheese as bait for your opponents is also part of the process. While this game moves faster and is a little less mini-game-centric (you do play a mini-game to determine the number of pieces you put into the trap on your turn when you land on an appropriate space), it still doesn’t measure up well to the real-life counterpart.

In Mouse Trap Remix, you work around a board in the shape of and infinity sign, or figure-eight, and collect pieces of cheese and try to build small traps to catch your opponents in. You also try to avoid being caught in similar traps by playing a quick mini game. Well, it’s sort of a mini-game. It looks like a curved ruler with a spot that you try to line up a moving piece to. It’s a button press and you’re done. It’s not very intuitive.

Yahtzee Hands Down

Now, this is a game I actually hadn’t heard of, much less played, before I put the game into my console. Sure, I’ve played Yahtzee before, but not some card game version of it. Basically, you are dealt a hand of five dice cards, and from those you try to match one of the combo cards in the “pool” in the middle of the table.

These cards are different Yahtzee combinations you’re trying to get such as: three-of-a-kind, a full-house, or Yahtzee. The cards are color coded, so you have to also match up the type of color theme indicated on one of the pool cards. For example, the Yahtzee card shows that you need four cards of one color and one triple color card. You can have wild cards, but the color still counts. So in the above combination, having three wilds of different color doesn’t do you any good. Since their colors don’t match, they’re not compliant with the requirement of that hand. It’s ‘wild’ in that it can be any number you need. It’s a little confusing, but once you play a few games it all kind of makes sense. If you have the patience.

When you get a match, you go “Hands Down” (pressing the A + B buttons together). When one of your opponents also goes “Hands Down” this initiates a duel that is somewhat reminiscent of a poker game. High hand wins, and if you both have the same combination, then the higher cards win. So, a three-of-a-kind of ones isn’t going to win you anything. The winner gets the card (worth a set number of points) and the loser gets a “chance” card. It’s just a point value card that you don’t find out the value of until the end of the game. The game ends when all of the combo cards are won and the point tally begins. The one with the most points is, of course, the winner. The game does take a little patience to learn, but it’s fairly easy. It’s also just not very fun to play against friends or the computer.

In Yahtzee Hands Down Remix a single combo card is set in the middle, and each player takes turn swapping out cards to try to get a combo to match. It’s essentially a race against the other players to get your “Hands Down” quicker than others.

Overall, Yahtzee Hands Down is a test of patience getting through the learning curve of the game. It does take a little more work to figure out the new gameplay compared to the original dice game.

Twister

A video game version of Twister. How is this possible? Well, it’s done by completely changing the concept of Twister, turning into a rhythm dance game and using a button combination memorization concept to play.

In short, it’s actually terrible. Easy, but terrible. This is one game that should have most definitely been left off of the list.

Basically the gameplay is as follows. A sequence of buttons scroll across the bottom of the screen, then for your turn, you attempt to match those button presses in the area provided on the left side of the screen. Basically you try to time up the button presses when the blank circle reaches the middle of the scoring area. The person with the most points wins at the end of the game.

In Twister Remix the gameplay is basically the same, it also displays a little spinner in the bottom right hand corner that gradually makes the dots disappear which essentially lets you know when the pain is going to end. The Twister based achievements seem to be the easiest to attain.

Clue

Clue is, by far, the best game of the bunch. You move around the board putting together the classic whodunit earning rumor points by playing the mini games that appear when you land on the spaces with question marks on them. The mini games are pretty simple, and earning three rumor points is not too hard. To start a rumor, you need to gain six rumor points. At this time, you can select a room, a suspect, and a weapon. Once you confirm your three selections, your avatar runs to that room. Here, you are given a confirmation/rejection of your rumor by pressing the A button. Opponents are warned to look away (probably the one major flaw of the game) and either green check mark or red X is flashed on your cards.

Pressing the Y button shows you your Clue card showing what you’ve eliminated or confirmed in the three categories.

Entering a room with a suspect in it gives you an opportunity to “interview” them. The interview consists of a nine piece puzzle that randomly flashes a marker over the spaces. You press a button to stop the marker and reveal a piece of the picture there. The picture either shows the room the murder was committed in, or the weapon that was used.

Once you feel you’ve discovered the identity of the murderer, the weapon that was used, and the room the victim met his demise in, you make your way to the center of the board where the pool room is and a police officer awaits your accusation. Get it right, and you win. Get it wrong and you’re out of the game. It’s pretty simple, but the pace of the game is well done, and that tension of wondering how far your opponent has gone in figuring out the mystery is almost tangible.

Clue Remix plays a little different giving you the ability to lock out rooms, lock your opponents in them, and adds a variable die that can set off different actions. The variable die can cause the lights to go out (the murderer strikes and either eliminates one of the other suspects, or attacks you or your opponent causing a lost turn), grant you a full rumor bar, allow you to lock a room down, or eliminate a room from consideration. There is also another, rather annoying, side to the die. The pool party. This resets the board and sets the players back to their starting position and randomly inserts the remaining suspects into different rooms. This can get quite tedious when the pool party side of the die comes up several times in a row. The little dance party that occurs in the pool room, while not terribly long, cannot be skipped and give you cause to shut off the game after it happens about four or more turns in a row.

All of the games incorporate your avatar, so that’s a nice touch, but that’s probably one of the best things to say about this game. Online, there is almost never anyone to play against, and the games just kind of drag on forever.

If you have the original Family Game Night and are hoping this may be more of the same, it’s actually not. The games are, with the exception of Clue, fairly tedious and not all that fun to play. This game is at the very best a rental, otherwise, skip it.

A copy of Family Game Night 3 was provided to The Married Gamers for the purpose of evaluation and review.

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Author: Erik Johnsen View all posts by
A married gamer that spends time editing many of the articles you read right here at The Married Gamers. Erik sometimes reviews Xbox One games and writes articles, but spends his available free time from work or hanging out with his family hunting achievements for a higher gamerscore.

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