Hands on with Family Guy: Uncensored on iPhone
The Griffin family have long been known for being irreverent and random, but their debut on iPhone is anything but unpredictable. It was only a matter of time before the series' off-the-wall humour was stamped onto your touchscreen, complete with nonsensical mini-games in tow. While not everything about this adaptation has us laughing, Family Guy: Uncensored looks to be a capable fan service.
Those who have visited Quahog before will instantly feel at home with Family Guy: Uncensored, which has been penned in collaboration with writers from Fox Network. The game's original story has you playing through half a dozen mini-games starring notable characters from the series as they attempt to solve a power outage that has left the city in the dark.
It all begins when Peter sits down to watch a risqué television programme and the electricity cuts out. Jolted out of a hot shower, Brian emerges from the bathroom upstairs to quip about Peter forgetting to pay the electricity bill. Instead, he gets hounded by Stewie to pay back a debt of $100.
Strike up the first mini-game: you take control of Brian as Stewie attempts to attack him with laser beams and boomerangs. Running down the hallway, sliding a finger up and down instructs Brian to move between three planes (top, middle, and centre). Tapping the screen triggers a jump, which comes in handy for leaping over laser beams lying on the floor. Getting to the end of the hallway where Lois snatches Stewie and his weapons is a simple matter of evading the lasers by jumping and moving out of the way.
The mini-games become much more interesting as you dive deeper into the story, which itself gets increasingly convoluted. In the same style as the show, the mini-games veer off tangents that put the characters in hilariously unusual situations. 'Jungle Love', for example, departs from Quahog to the humid rainforest where Quagmire swings from vine to vine in an effort to reach a loincloth-clad Lois of his dreams.
Here the controls leave something to be desired in terms of responsiveness. Quagmire jumps between vines with a swipe of a finger, though it's a tricky technique to get right. You can also slide him up and down a vine to improve the jumping angle by tapping above or below him, although this isn't always as precise as you expect.
Easily the star of the show, Stewie wins our praise for having the best mini-game of the bunch. 'RoboStewie' takes inspiration from the classic side-scrolling action of the MegaMan franchise, even gearing up the same 8-bit visual style. A left-right directional pad and jump, attack buttons allow you to move about shooting enemies and hopping through each of mechanised level.
Despite floaty jumping and movement that could use a slight speed boost, Stewie's robotic adventure is surprisingly fun. It's a great parody on the Blue Bomber, while at the same time blending in running gags from Family Guy. At the end of the level we played, for instance, Stewie confronts love interest and nemesis Olivia who stomps around inside a giant mechanised dinosaur.
Family Guy: Uncensored promises to wholly capture the humour of the series, even if the mini-games are – at this stage – looking to be hit or miss. While we enjoyed RoboStewie, the others played a little flat. The writing is good and the graphics too, though the lack of voice acting will surely be missed when the game hits the App Store in September.
Tracy Erickson 17/7/2009
© Steel Media Ltd.