EMERGENCY TOWN MEETING!!!
For the uninitiated, Family Guy is the hit animated series created by Seth MacFarlane, which airs on FOX on Sunday nights, following the adventures of Peter Griffin and his dysfunctional family and friends in Quahog, Rhode Island. The creative minds at TinyCo have just released their new mobile game Family Guy: The Quest for Stuff, which pairs with the series well but could have been so much better.
The game begins with a mini-episode that sets up the premise. FOX has once again cancelled Family Guy and the residents of Quahog are off to a town hall meeting to meet the new top executive at FOX and hopefully learn why the show was canceled. Those of you familiar with the show will easily recognize the new executive as none other than Peter’s nemesis. Ernie the Giant Chicken, Ernie comes crashing through the town hall’s skylight, and he and Peter instantly start brawling. Just like the show, the fight carries on from inside the building out into the street; a truck driver hauling a load of chickens tries to avoid the pugilists and crashes right into Peter and his friend’s favorite bar, the Drunken Clam. Along with the bar, the load of chickens all burst into flames and scatter throughout Quahog and burn the whole town to the ground.
As the player, you are tasked with the rebuilding of Quahog, with one of your first objectives being to hire the nearby Worker and have him repair the Griffin’s home. Once completed, the home generates cash and experience points every 30 seconds. Giving Peter additional “quests” to complete will earn you an assortment of cash, XP, special items for new character outfits and the occasional “Golden Clam," used as an alternative to waiting out the time necessary for your character to complete the task assigned to them (but more on that later).
Once you have cleaned Spooner Street along with some of the surrounding area, the game provides you with additional room to add both Joe Swanson’s and Quagmire’s homes. Players will recognize many of the show's characters and locations, from McBurgertown to Al Harrington’s to Goldman’s Pharmacy. Also when placing some of the known locations, you’ll also unlock their respective character like Mr. Herbert after placing his home on the map. The town of Quahog is completely customizable: You can put the homes and businesses wherever you like, line the streets with flower beds, trees, signs and random objects to make the town look vibrant and alive. Once you’ve completed enough tasks and unlocked a few more characters, other districts in Quahog will unlock and you’ll start the process over in that new area.
Where things start to become tedious is the amount of time it may take to complete a task or repair/build a new location. This is where the in-game currency and Golden Clams come into play. When a new district unlocks, before you can start building and customizing, you have to clean the fire-burned areas. Initially the costs are minimal and wait times are only an hour or two, but by the time you reach the fourth and fifth districts you’re looking at an investment of $10-$12K of in-game currency as well as 48 hours (real-time) for the area to become available. So if you want to play for longer periods of time you’re looking at investing your own real money with in-app purchases to help speed up the processes. Don’t get me wrong, you can enjoy the game without spending any real money in it, but how patient are you willing to be? In that time, you might just stop and start playing something else…
If you connect the game through your Facebook account, you can start playing with your real friends. You’ll eventually earn the ability to use Stewie’s teleporter device to travel the “Multi-verse," with which you can visit your Facebook friend’s version of Quahog and also earn a little bit of XP, Golden Clams, or a personal customization item.
Family Guy: The Quest for Stuff also has its own version of social media called FaceSpace. As you unlock new characters, their photos will show up on your friends list and you’ll have the ability to look at their wall to see what they’ve been up to. Leveling characters always generates a new FaceSpace post; Consuela’s feed even has real images of cats! You can also click the “Share” button on a character’s FaceSpace post and it will share to your own real-world Facebook feed.
Family Guy: The Quest for Stuff gets a lot of things right. It captures much of the outrageous, borderline offensive humor of the show, has the character voices we’ve all come to know and love, and has the spot-on look of Quahog and funny animated sequences. Where it fails are the huge amounts of time it take for tasks to be completed, the amount of real money you could spend to speed things up, and the eventual repetitiveness of the spoken dialogue by each character. If you’re a hardcore fan of Family Guy, this might be worth checking out. If you’re familiar with this style of F2P gaming, you may want to pass or wait a bit to see if the developer decides to add some balancing adjustments to the time investment and real currency expense.