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Family Games Night DS Review

16/02/2010 Family Domestic Gamer Review
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Family Games Night DS

Family Games Night




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Family Games Night makes the DS more social with classic board games we know and love. As well as playing these on the handheld, it's also a great introduction to the real thing.

My kids are just getting to the age where they can play and enjoy board games. Until now there has been too much squabbling and not enough understanding of the concept of taking turns, winning or indeed loosing.

They love playing their DS's; Friday night is DS night, and they look forward to it all week. I hoped this game will bring the two together nicely. It has the ability for multi players via wireless play, so none of the camaraderie of the board game should be lost.

Family Games Night encapsulates Connect 4, Battleships, Operation and Bop It. Your host is Mr Potato head! Each of the games has a classic version or a new improved for the DS version. For example, Connect 4 now has a version with 'Power Chips' which give you the ability to block or bomb other chips. Some of them have been slightly adapted from their original to make the more playable on the DS.

Operation is similar but rather than just plucking the shape from the patient, you are taken to a different screen where you have to drag the shape along the right route, of what looks like intestines! If it all goes wrong you are able to try and recover your patient by clicking on circles on the heart trace to try and return his pulse to normal.

This DS version is really good and totally addictive. A great way to pass the time on a journey.

I really enjoyed playing Connect 4 again. We have a mini table top version, but it's terribly fiddly. This DS version is really good and totally addictive. A great way to pass the time on a journey. You even get the authentic sound of the chips dropping into their slots. My kids, aged 5 and 7 really enjoyed playing Battleships.

Although we couldn't get the Family Games Night wireless version working, we selected 'Pass Play'; and they were pretty good at taking turns and passing the DS to each other. The game flashes up a screen when its time to swap over, so there is no way to see the other persons board.

Playing against the computer was pretty good too, although the computer doesn't spend ages thinking about its go, so the game goes by rather quickly. This kind of looses the strategic feel you get when there are two real life players. Playing this on the DS was much easier than fiddling with all those tiny little pegs in our travel version of the game, and I can imagine that one being a bit of a nightmare if you did try to use it on a train. The DS is a much simpler way to approach gaming and travelling.

I salute Family Games Night for trying to get past the lone-gamer image of the DS and introduce a family feel.

I salute Family Games Night for trying to get past the lone-gamer image of the DS and introduce a family feel. Although these games are fun played on the DS, it doesn't replace the magic of sitting down to play a board game as a family. But let's be honest, how many families do that anymore these days?

This is perhaps a good reason to buy the game, introduce them to board games in a kid-friendly way and then move onto the real thing. Somehow I don't think a whole family sitting with their DS's playing wirelessly is really going to substitute real family time and actually with the pass play option, you can get away with just one console anyway.

This is where the Wii version of this game may come up trumps, as the Wii brings a more collective gaming feel, and is probably more successful if you do want to create fun family evening. That said, I do really like this and I think the nostalgia of playing the games is a big selling point; The chance to play those games we all loved as kids and introduce them to our kids!

Written by Josie Campbell

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Josie Campbell writes the Domestic Gamer column.

"As quite a domesticated mum of three I love the thought that Xbox 360, PS3, Wii, DS lite and PSP games can have a practical role around the home and enriching everyday life but also fun to chill out and unwind with too. Here are my Domestic Gamer review, join me to read about all sorts of games, from cooking, health, and family ones too."

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