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Hasbro Family Game Night - Yahtzee EA, Xbox 360, March 2009

Xbox Live Arcade Hasbro Family Game Night by Electronic Arts
Title
Publisher
Year
Players
Price
Yahtzee
EA
2009
1-4
$10 (800 MS points)
I have to confess, Yahtzee was not a game in which I was particularly well-versed. I tried a little Word Yahtzee as a kid, but the standard game was foreign to me-- as foreign as the notion of a dice game being played on a TV might be to you. Just like the other games in this collection, it translates fairly well to the video game experience, except the online part.

Technically not a standalone game, Yahtzee exists as "downloadable content" for the free 250 MB Xbox 360 Live Arcade Hasbro Family Game Night application. Basically, it's like this: you can download a complete suite of Hasbro board games absolutely free, but it's going to cost you $10 a pop to play any of them. It's like downloading an entire Namco Museum collection for free, but each game is going to cost you. The real dice-and-pencil-and-paper game costs anywhere from $10-$20, so this version is priced about right.

Control

For a game needing almost no flashy controls, the developers allowed an option for you to "shake" the dice cup for longer than necessary, which is either a fun little extra or really annoying. I appreciate it.

Gameplay

Yahtzee: Mr. Potato Head Wants To Sink Your Submarine To play, you push a button to roll the dice, and use the d-pad to select the dice to "keep" or to re-roll. The goal is to roll the 5 dice in various combinations, such as getting as many "2"s as possible, or getting a "full house" with three of one number and two of another. Since there's nothing to hide from another player, it's a perfect fit for either online* or offline multiplayer, plus the computer opponent works just fine.

To keep things interesting there are bonus modes, like a "wild" die which allows you to basically cheat. Well, "cheat." You know what I mean-- if you can reassign a number, it does take a certain element of chance out of the game, but there's still the strategy of filling in the score card as best you can.

Online Play

This game, like the others, has difficulties being played online. Like the others, it suddenly ends without warning mid-match. About 10 minutes before uploading this review, I played another round just to see if it had gotten any better since the last time I played it. It hadn't. I was about two turns from the end of a three-player match, too.

From my experiences, you are very unlikely to have a good online experience due to the Electronic Arts servers, which frequently drop games or flat-out refuse to let you connect to them after waiting 5-10 minutes. (Yes, I timed it to check.) Just to be sure it wasn't my hardware, I went online and tried several other non-Family Game Night games in a versus match, and all of them were completed to my satisfaction. Except for the fact that I lost, that is. The problems seem to vary by night, but the one consistent experience I've had with this game is that it doesn't work properly online. If you have a friend that owns these, you may wish to ask them how it's working for them before you take the plunge. Heck, ask me, I'll be happy to see if they made any changes.

Is It Worth It?

RATING
C-
PATCH IT
I want to like this game more, but the bugs preventing online (and some offline) play prevent me from suggesting you dash out and download it. I continue to have fun with Yahtzee as a local game to play against other actual human people. If the only console you own is an Xbox 360 and you're looking for a game to play against friends that doesn't involve a spinning bird kick or a fatality, it's worth giving a try. While some complain about the price tag, it's not awful-- or rather, it wouldn't be an issue were the entire collection of games not available for less on other consoles. Of the initial four games, this one is one of the better translations to the digital realm, but not in terms of how it plays online. I knocked it down another point for still not having been patched or having had the servers fixed. Fun game, other than that, it's just broken.

It's also worth noting that the Playstation 2 and Wii versions of Hasbro Family Game Night have an SRP of about $39.99 and include everything but Scrabble. I've seen the PS2 version at Target stores for as little as $13.98. Your mileage may vary.

--Adam Pawlus
May 1, 2009

Game Reviews

Nintendo Wii
Final Fantasy IV: The After Years
 Main Game
Strong Bad's Cool Game for Attractive People
 Homestar Ruiner
 Strong Badia the Free
 Baddest of the Bands
 Dangeresque 3
 8-Bit Is Enough

PSP
 Kurulin Fusion
 Thexder Neo

Xbox 360
 Battleship
 Bubble Bobble Neo
 Bust-A-Move Live!
 Comic Jumper
 Connect 4
 Encleverment Experiment
 G.I. Joe: ROC
 Gel: Set & Match
 Hard Corps: Uprising
 Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix
 Lode Runner
 Mega Man 9
 Puzzle Quest Galactrix
 Qix++
 R-Type Dimensions
 Scrabble
 Sonic's Ultimate Genesis Collection
 Space Invaders Extreme
 Space Invaders Infinity Gene
 Splosion Man
 Trivial Pursuit
 Yahtzee
 Zombie Apocalypse
 Zombie Wranglers
Walking Dead
 Episode 1
Wallace & Gromit
 Fright of the Bumblebees
 The Last Resort
  Muzzled!
 The Bogey Man

GameBoy
 GameBoy Advance SP Famicom Color

Saturn
 Salamander Deluxe Pack Plus

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