Feud for thought
Since 1987 on the Apple II and Commodore 64, we’ve seen several completely different versions of Family Feud for over a dozen different gaming platforms, each offering its own take on public survey-rooted pandemonium. Today, with Family Feud: 2010 Edition, Ubisoft brings us the latest in this long line of soccer mom impulse buys—and, sadly, while it’s solid enough thanks to the predictive text entry and time-tested TV game show design, it ultimately does very little to transcend the typical mold of low-budget licensed game mediocrity.
Nothing to see here
While Family Feud: 2010 Edition does what it has to do to earn its title, it doesn’t bother to do much else—and, as a troubled Chotchkie’s manager once asked, what do you think of a game that only does the bare minimum?
It’s nothing incredibly special, that’s for sure, though it’s hard to argue that it doesn’t at least get the job done. The box touts “over 1,000 surveys” (that’s around 200 different typical game sessions, or something like 40-50 hours of total gameplay assuming you encounter no repeats in the process), and each of them features a voice-narrated question (though none of the answers are vocalized). The game is perfectly functional, and the predictive text entry via Wii remote definitely beats many of the previous options we’ve seen on other consoles which lack IR pointer interface. There’s even a certain degree of spelling correction to be had. In light of all this, the game is certainly solid enough.
But that’s really all there is to be said for Family Feud: 2010 Edition; nearly everything else is entirely unworthy of mention or somewhat disappointing—bare minimum, to be exact (or, if you so prefer, “no frills”). The level of customization is limited to the selection of a character supplemented by a brief wardrobe selection: twelve different choices of hairstyles, headwear, shirts, pants, and shoes, for a total of sixty different options total; that is, once you’ve managed to unlock the 24 bonus items by playing the Story mode. You can also select an attitude, and, of course, name your character if you wish. Considering that earlier versions of Family Feud almost ten years ago included the option to plaster your face on a 3-D model of your players, it would have been nice to at least see Mii support here to make the experience a little more personal.
This Story Mode features twelve different battles, each against a different family, complete with a three-line introduction describing your opponents’ past and general demeanor. Beating each family unlocks two wardrobe options of the total sixty; thus, unlocking everything in the game requires something in the neighborhood of two and a half hours.
Of course, the real fun of the game isn’t unlocking outfits or any of that extra junk, but playing Family Feud with your friends. Fortunately, the game at least fills that need, though again, it does so as minimally as possible. Firstly, the game is conspicuously John O’Hurley-less (featuring a generic voice-over by one Terence McGovern), though it’s sort of hard to fault it for that considering the cost involved in getting a celebrity to voiceover a thousand questions. The rest of the presentation shares no such excuse, however, and it’s just about on the level of an online Flash game. Sure, it works, but the frame rates are choppy, the textures are blurry, and it’s just generally pretty unimpressive. Stuff like completely unwarranted ten second load times, the fact that there are only four family members for each team, and the host’s remark “Let’s see what the remaining answers were” when there’s just one answer left on the board certainly doesn’t help matters.
Moving on to an entirely different matter, the gameplay is adequate, though a bit wonky. The aforementioned predictive text works well enough, allowing you to input words by clicking them after reaching a certain point in your spelling (which can also be a little bit off—the game attempts to correct it when you are). What’s annoying is that it’s too easy to inadvertently select the Enter button (which rests just above the top row of keys), so accidental entries are going to occur. The response interpretations allow for a number of synonymous or related terms to be substituted for the actual verbatim answer, but these are also occasionally finicky; for instance, we entered “candy” when the correct answer was “Gobstopper”, and it didn’t count, though it clearly ought to.
Finally, it’s worth mentioning (though it’s not that big of a deal) that you’re also limited to just two Wii Remotes—one per team—so if you want to play with others on your team, they’ll need to share a remote. Though it’s hardly a game-breaker (and it even makes sense to a degree), it is a bit of an inconvenience at times; it’d be nice to have the option available to cut back on remote swapping.
The Price is Wrong
But when all’s said and done, the most pressing issue with this Wii version of Family Feud is the asking price: 40 bucks. There’s simply not enough here to justify such a high price; the package is as shallow as they come, and there isn’t even an online mode included. If you’re really looking for a Family Feud fix, at least consider the PC version instead, which retails for just half the price at $20.