Hasbro Family Game Night 4: The Game Show

4.5 Overall Score
Music: 1/10
Controls: 5/10
Family Fun: 3/10

Connect Four Basketball, YATZHEE! Bowling

Nearly everything else.

Written by on December 20, 2011 in [, , , ]

Tell me what you think of when you think of the title of this game?

Since that was an obviously rhetorical question, I will tell you what I thought.  Before turning the game on, I thought that this could be a fun night for my family to sit down and play together like we did with Scene It? and You Don’t Know Jack.  We would laugh, we would cry, we would hold grudges, and at the end of the game, the family would reminisce about what had transpired fondly.

This was not what happened here this day.

I am honestly kind of offended that the game doesn’t allow for more than two players at a time.  Yes, I said two players.  In a game called Family Game Night, there can only be a maximum number of two whole players.  My disappointment doesn’t end there as not only is there only room for two players, but there isn’t even any LIVE multiplayer if I wanted to play without a family member and I didn’t want to play against the game’s lame AI.

This is only an ideal situation if your family only consists of two people or if you are the type who will challenge the winner of a currently running game.  Neither seem likely with this game; however, as the games included in the compilation range from fun, to absolutely awful.

Mr. Potato Head serves as our “host”, I guess, even though he really doesn’t say anything.  All of the commentary and tutorials are handled by an off screen announcer who’s script had to be about half a page long considering how many times he repeats himself.  Mr. P. Head guides us to each game in a “wacky” and unnecessary bits of unfunny animation which repeat more than the commentary.  Each game serves as a section of a larger “game show” that you are participating in.  After each game, the winner receives a “Monopoly Crazy Cash” card which has a cash value assigned to it that is discovered at the end of the game.  Whoever has the most money at the end of the game wins.

Each of the games included in the game are variations on classic board games, some of which are taken directly from the real game show of the same name.

First up on the game show is “Connect Four Basketball”, which is exactly what it sounds like.  You and your opponent shoot basketballs into the different slots of an enormous Connect Four game as you try to block each other from getting four in a row.

This is easily my favorite of the five games included as it is fun and fast paced, but I might argue that it is a little too fast paced for it’s own good.  “Connect Four” just seems finished before it’s even started and you only get two set ups before the game show moves on to the next stage of the challenge.

Next, we move on to “Sorry! Sliders” where you push enormous “Sorry!” game pieces onto a game board with point assignments on it.  When your piece stops, you get to keep the largest point value you land on.  Your opponent does the same, but they can nudge you off of the board for a reduced score.

Continuing on, we have “YATZHEE! Bowling”  where you roll an enormous ball (sensing a pattern here?) and knock over six sided pins that you play as if you were playing “YATZHEE!”.  This game was actually pretty fun and had a great element of strategy that you can employ as it is easily the deepest experience in the game.

We follow Mr. Potato Head from there to “Scrabble Flash” where you and your opponent is given five “Scrabble” tiles to make words with.  The winning team is the one who can find the longest words available without repeating.  My wife really loved this section of the game show and would handily destroy me with her superior vocabulary.

The last, and the very much least, game is “Bop-It Boptagon”.  Just thinking about this part of the game makes me cringe that I even have to play it.  The concept is that you are in a…say it with me…enormous “Bop-It” and you follow the off screen commentator as he shouts demands and you try to figure out how to meet those demands within the limitations of the game.  For the first few commands, you get an on screen indicator for how to do what it’s asking, but it disappears after a few turns and you are on your own.  Sometimes, even if you know how to follow the command, it doesn’t work as I’ve wiggled the left stick to “twist it” to no avail a few too many times.  After a few frustrating turns of this, you are so ready to “Bop-It”, but not in the way the game hopes you will.

Finally, you are at the end of the game show and you each put your cards into the Monopoly machine and we find out how much fake money you have earned.  I really have no idea if there is some kind of logic behind the totals or not, but it seems entirely random and the person who won the most events generally has more fake cash than the other.  The only thing that is more irritating than having to even go through this portion of the game is the fact that even if you have more cards left, once you’ve surpassed the opposing team’s dollar amount, the game ends without telling you the worth of the final cards.

While the game show is fine, you’d be hard pressed for a full cycle to last over fifteen minutes, which hardly qualifies for a Game “Night”.

Luckily for everyone who manages to buy this game, you can bypass playing the full game show mode and play each event individually.  The only issue with this is that the games are criminally short with most clocking in at a little under three minutes.  The worst offender happens to be my favorite game of the bunch, “Connect Four Basketball”, which can last less than half a minute.

Each game also has a variant game mode, which was welcome at first, but they just seemed lazily thrown together as they are just the standard mode, but faster, or with the pins rearranged in a different way; etc.

The controls are unintuitive and, when playing using Kinect gesture controls, it is flat out broken.  The gestures sometimes make no sense, the game won’t track you if you go too fast or slow, and sometimes I found myself flailing about and looking stupid without any on screen gratification.  Needless to say, I abandoned any idea that I would ever play using gesture controls pretty early on.

Taken as a whole, the game fails on almost every level, but I found myself enjoying a couple of the events.  With this in mind, if you find yourself on Black Friday 2012 and you see a copy of it on the shelf for five dollars, then by all means, buy it.  If it is one cent more than that, then walk away.  There just isn’t enough family, games, or night in this Family Game Night.

A copy of Hasbro Family Game Night 4: The Game Show was provided to The Married Gamers for review.


  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Myspace
  • Google Buzz
  • Reddit
  • Stumnleupon
  • Delicious
  • Digg
  • Technorati
Author: Wallace Phelps View all posts by

Leave A Response