Update: I was unfortunately not aware of Shamus Young's severe criticism of Fallout 3 available here to link in the original piece and I regret that. It dovetails rather nicely with what I've written and it's much better executed than my piece. I strongly recommend anyone...
A game meant to be played Faster Than The Speed Of Love.
I just got back home from attending an event in LA to show off the newest entry in the world of Family Guy: the iOS and Android platforms. In between drinking my "Shut Up Meg" Old Fashioneds and being physically intimidated to talk to the diminutive Alex Borstein, I was able to get my hands on the upcoming mobile game. It was like that time I played croquet with a drunk camel on the moon. (EDIT: Crap, we didn’t get the rights for a cutaway gag. BUT MOVING ON.)
Family Guy: The Quest For Stuff is a town-builder in the Family Guy universe, where Peter and the Giant Chicken have had their biggest fight yet… and it destroyed the entire town. So Peter’s taken it upon himself to start the rebuilding effort, and that means appeasing everyone that he’s wronged along the way (which, of course, turns out to be everybody). If Peter can help the various townspeople enough, he can get their help in restoring the town. But they have their price to pay to get back on their good side, like a new pair of pants for Chris after he’d wet himself. After each successful discovery and finished scenario, new characters are unlocked that can lead to more buildings, challenges, and non-sequitors.
The demo was quite fun, poking around to see just what was poke-able. Picking a character, for example, pops up a menu for players to select different character outfits and scenarios (once they’re unlocked, of course). What surprised me is the wealth of minor touches, the stuff only the fans would really notice: one-time characters that never appear again; how whenever someone falls, his or her arm is dropped in an awkward and uncomfortable position, that sort of thing.
There’s a significant amount of detail put into the entire world, and characters will react on their own if they’re dropped next to certain other characters. (I remember Joe and Quadmire playing mace tag at a bus stop.) There’s even a “FaceSpace” for characters that have been unlocked to “live their own lives” by posting status updates about their days, like Chris having his more risque posts being quickly “liked” by Herbert.
TinyCo is looking to keep people engaged for as long as possible, telling me they’re hoping to keep supporting the game for at least two years with new content. There weren’t any real specifics, but if playing the game already plays like a lot of the episodes, then more jokes and run-ins between characters could keep the app alive for a while to come. And thankfully, there’s nothing behind a paywall. Sure, unlockables are available for people who want to pay a little to get ahead, but there’s nothing that can’t be unlocked over a long enough period of time. That should stick in Carter Pewterschmidt’s craw.
The game’s out on April 10th on Android and iOS platforms. As Adam West told me at the party… actually, I was too afraid to talk to him as well. I mean, he’s Mayor Batman, that’s intimidating! But Family Guy: The Quest for Stuff looks really spiffy and it should be worth a distraction for quite some time.