Reviewed: July 9, 2009
Released: March 18, 2009
Founded in 1923, Hasbro (then called Hassenfeld Brothers) predominantly made school supplies. In the next few decades they expanded to children's toys including doctor kits and eventually the ever popular Mr. Potato Head. Hasbro was wise enough to know that boys don't play with dolls, and before long I was playing with G.I. Joe action figures.
As with most successful companies, at some point they reach a stage when the financial climate is right to start gobbling up competitors and their intellectual property. Which is what happened in 1984 when Hasbro acquired Milton Bradley, makers of Yahtzee and other popular board games. Hasbro has continued to be wildly successful, to the tune of over 3 billion dollars in revenue. They have adapted to new technologies with the changing times, with many of their IP's ported over to video game systems for the current generation and plenty of good product placement in movies like Toy Story.
Connect Four is a game I remember playing as a kid, but I also remember not playing it for very long. It's kind of a gravity based tic-tac-toe. The only thing I remember enjoying about this game is moving the bar on the bottom to let all the colored chips come crashing down out of the game grid.
Hasbro Family Game Night on Xbox Live Arcade offers a common apartment game room interface to launch all their games. When you start up HFGN you are greeted with a Welcome menu which you can choose from local play, Xbox Live play, or you can look at the leaderboards, achievements, and options. Up to 4 people can play locally or online. Once you pick your game type, you chose your game. Currently, HFGN includes Yahtzee, Boggle, Connect Four, Sorry, Sorry Sliders, Scrabble, and Battleship.
When you select your game, your host Mr. Potato Head flies off to the apartment game table and sets up the game board. He is somewhat helpful during the game... he never speaks, but he will give certain facial and verbal expressions that sometimes can give you hints that what you just did was significant.
The goal of Connect Four is to be the first to place four chips in a row, vertically, horizontally, or diagonally. You flip the chip to decide who goes first (which certainly does give an advantage to the winner). On your turn, you drop a colored chip into the grid. The first person to Connect Four chips wins. Game modes include Original, Advanced, and Power Chips.
The graphics in Hasbro Family Game Night are clean and fun. You can choose from 5 room themes (Jungle, Girls Room, Secret Agent, Boys Room, and the default Modern). The additional rooms are a free download and take about 30mb of hard drive space for each theme. Each theme has unique graphics and sounds. There isn't much to see in Connect Four. The game grid looks just like the original. You just drop your piece in the grid and it continues from there.
Each downloaded room theme has it's own music. The music is fun at first, but quickly gets repetitive and annoying. The same could be said for Mr. Potato Head. His “woohoo” expressions and various sighs can be helpful for gameplay, but usually prove to be an annoyance at best. Thankfully, all of the above can be turned off in the options menu. Connect Four has basic sounds which match a basic game. You hear the chips slide into place and Mr. Potato Head cheers when you win.
There are significant items to win or download in Hasbro Family Game Night. The room themes are available for free to download. The game trophies go in your room trophy case for you to enjoy. Additionally you can win certain furnishings for your apartment like themed pillows and other items. Hasbro Family Game Night offers 1,400 achievement points. Each game has 20 achievements, which can all be earned over the normal life of playing the games. However some of them are extremely rare occurrences. Achievements such as rolling a Yahtzee (5 dice of the same value) on the first roll are lucky beyond measure.
The individual games in Hasbro Family Game Night are 800 Microsoft Points each. That is a little pricey. These are simple games, which are nice for rainy days when the family is cooped up indoors, but these are not games that people generally will play over and over again. The price should easily be half of what they are charging.
Hasbro Family Game Night is a good family game for rainy days. It is especially good for families with younger kids who wouldn't do well with group games like Scene It. Hasbro once again bridges the gap between generations with Hasbro Family Game Night. If you are a fan of any of these games, it will be a “must purchase”. However, at a steep 800 points each, choose your purchases wisely.