Board games, in the correct context, are great things. Sure, the technology of moving little chunks of plastic around a slab of cardboard hasn't really evolved much in the last 50 years or so, but under the right circumstances, there's a social nicety to setting up a board and playing and chatting with other human beings. As such, plenty of board games have made their ways to consoles over the years. To a certain extent, this makes good sense. You can never lose the pieces, or deal with folks cheating, and most games will allow you to save mid-game if time is pressing.
Hasbro Family Game Night Vol 3 grabs a bunch of classic board games in an attempt to bring them into the digital age, but somewhere along the way, the fun of board games for most of the titles has been lost. Hasbro Family Game Night Vol 3 comprises four titles: The Game Of Life, Mouse Trap, Twister, Cluedo and Yahtzee Hands Down.
Your host through all the games is Hasbro's own Mr Potato Head. And he's easily the best thing about the title, hands down. Anyone who doesn't like Mr Potato Head, frankly, has no soul.
The problem is the rest of the games on offer largely don't have any soul either.
After starting the game up, you're given the choice to play online or locally with between 1-4 players and either with single or multiple controllers. A selection of eight "personas" (think Miis, Avatars or whatever virtual character naming scheme suits your fancy) are pre-configured for you. And they all share the same trait. They’re all quite ugly. That's objectively speaking. You can edit them to make them a little more palatable. Once you've selected your play characters, you head out to the game plaza to choose your title.
The Game Of Life
First up, The Game Of Life. If you're not familiar with it, it's a board game that takes you from school to a career along the way, with the winner being the one with the most profitable 'life' at the end of the game. It's amusing in real life if only because it's kind of fun when Auntie Pamela suddenly becomes a top surgeon or Cousin Trevor has multiple babies.
The animations are nice in the Game Of Life, but because it's so totally random, and the way the board scrolls makes it tough to assess where you are relative to other players, it's just not that much fun to play through, even with multiple people in the room with you. We didn't play any online games of The Game Of Life, but we suspect that'd only be worse. In order to spice things up a little, EA's dropped in some mini-games for specific tasks, but they're all awful. As an example, when picking a job card, you'll sometimes be faced with a mini-game that has you clicking on letters of a specific colour to get the most cards to pick from. It's substandard stuff you wouldn't accept as a free Flash game and it's repeated in essence in the Cluedo game as well.
There's also a very light Dance Dance revolution mini-game on offer here whenever your Game Of Life character goes to a dance. You've played better, perhaps even if you've never played a dance/rhythm game before. And if you carry on with the other titles in the pack, you’ll play it again. More on that shortly.
The other mini-games in The Game Of Life are indeed, quite mini. For example, the instructions for the "Have Children" mini-game (yes, that’s actually a mini-game, at the end of which, as a reward, you "receive" a child. Who knew childbirth was that easy?), read as follows:
Stop the flashing square to see how many children you have!