Developer: Heavy Iron Studios
Join Brian and Stewie in their dimension-hoping adventure as they use the Multiverse remote to stop Bertram, Stewie’s evil half-brother, who plans to use his own remote to build an army and destroy the Quahog duo’s Universe.
This gives the game a chance to provide a wide range of settings. From Amish farms, Santa’s weapon workshop with inbred elves, to a world populated by the handicapped and so on. Bertram has convinced everyone in these universes that you must be killed, so in turn you’re shooting pretty much everyone in sight. Be they Amish farmers, jocks, cripples on crutches or small homicidal alien chickens.
Not that the action sees as much variety. The game is a microwave ready-meal equivalent of a third-person shooter. Not great, but gets the job done and keeps you going before your next big meal. The game is always keen to have a laugh at its own expense too, even admitting it probably won’t make enough money to warrant a sequel. Early on, it tells you that Brian gets boring guns, while Stewie gets fancy laser guns and they weren’t kidding.
The game can be played splitscreen or solo, with you able to swap between characters at any time. Stewie can handle platforms with a bit more grace, but otherwise the weapons are the only difference. A light lock-on feature lets you mow down the large numbers of enemies that attack you on sight. Stewie enjoys ray guns and flamethrowers while Brian gets a pistol, shotgun and sniper rifle amongst others.
Grenades come in the form of vomit-inducing diapers and Molotov cocktails. More amusing items include decoys like Peter’s Giant Chicken nemesis, or the Wacky Inflatable Arm Flailing Tube Man. Everything has been designed with a mind to fan-service.
Understandably, the humour is strictly fans-only, with lots of inside jokes and familiar wisecracks during gameplay from numerous recognisable characters. The cutscenes portray a brand-new episode. However, the scenes are shot with the in-game engine rather than doing the sensible thing and reverting to traditional hand-drawn animation like the show.
The lack of any form of cutaway gags in cutscenes or gameplay robs the game of a large part of the show’s laughs as it generally relies on the main script or canned lines on repeat. The decision to have only Brian and Stewie as the main playable characters seems like a dumb choice too as it limits the humour available. Pop-culture references are there for you to find, although there’s a lack of videogame references, but the Aliens nod should raise a few laughs. Every evil Mayor should have a few nukes with cats taped to them too.
Even as a big fan of the show, some of the humour felt a bit much even for what I’ve seen before and I don’t count myself as someone easily offended. On the other hand, I did have a few sly chuckles at things that probably added a few stamps to my “You’re going to Hell when you die” card.
The game’s far from ugly. Yes, it’s very basic, but environments are bright and crisp enough to capture a reasonable feel of the show in a new 3D setting. The lip-syncing is a little off though and every cutscene weirded me out just enough to make the omission of the aforementioned hand-drawn scenes a constant grievance.
Collectibles scattered throughout the stages help to pad out the experience. Complete collections to unlock new items in the store like characters, costumes, multiplayer maps and so on. A potential annoyance though is the repeated loops of dialogue during a stage, even during the first stage, I abandoned my search for piñatas and pics of drunken co-eds because I couldn’t take listening to jocks say “Gaybo” anymore.
When you’ve wrapped up the story mode, there’s a challenge mode to take on solo or in local co-op. These involve wave-defences, defending a boat from pirates, checkpoint challenges and kill ‘em all arenas. They’re short and nicely balanced enough to make them worth a shot and they also allow you to play as some different characters, which you’ll be grateful for just so you don’t have to hear Brian quoting his line about midgets and gin or whatever his apparently best line from the show is to use over and over again. There’s a wealth of new weapons to use in this mode too, which begs the question of why they couldn’t have included some of them in the story mode.
Additional multiplayer modes are included in shooter regulars like deathmatch and catch the greased-up deaf guy. These cater for up to four players locally, but there are no online options. But a very achievable list of Trophies may persuade you to keep playing to collect an easy Platinum. This at least makes a change from watching the same three episodes in a week on BBC3.
- Enjoyable action in a tuned-out sorta way
- Some funny lines
- Multiplayer and co-op options make it fun with fellow fans
- So very basic gameplay
- Repeated canned lines may annoy
- A couple of crashes required stage restarts
The Short Version: Everything points towards a rental recommendation for a few nights where you can sit down with some fellow Family Guy fans and enjoy the laughs and simple throwaway gameplay on offer. It was never going to break the tie-in mould, but this goes some ways to ease the painful memories caused by the awful PS2 game.