After four instalments of EA's Family Game Night series you'd expect the company to have the format pretty down-pat by now, but regrettably Family Game Night 4: The Game Show is totally off the mark.
Based on the Family Game Night TV show, the game is split into five activities, each based on a Hasbro board game: Connect 4 Basketball, Yahtzee Bowling, Bop-It Boptagon, Sorry! Sliders and Boggle Flash. Most minigame compilations fall down by offering too much, but Family Game Night 4 has neither quality nor quantity on its side: of the five games here, only Connect 4 Basketball and Sorry! Sliders stand out, with the others being barely playable.
The biggest problem is the lack of response to your movements. Take basketball, for example: it can take five seconds from making the throwing motion to your Avatar actually releasing the ball. Other games fare no better, either: the whole package feels clunky and sloppily produced due to the unresponsive and frustrating controls, a feeling that's not helped by the unhelpful introductions — it would have been better to have detailed step-by-step demonstrations instead of the vague instructions we get here. It's tough to know what the game wants you to do when it won't explain; when you do get it right, it's too slow to respond. It's a lose-lose situation. Even with the added delay the games are over far too quickly, and there's no incentive to replay these repetitive and uninspired games.
It's also missing other touches that similar games have done better: there's no ability to make your Avatar celebrate after a victory like Kinect Sports: Season Two for example, and no video recording either. It's a basic package, but doesn't pull off its meagre feature set very well.
The audio's not so good, with tinny music clashing instead of fading smoothly and an extremely irritating voice over all adding to the frustration factor. A suitably shoddy presentation, considering the quality of the rest of the package.
Overall this is an extremely weak effort from EA: after three previous releases and a year to wrestle with Kinect's capabilities, you'd think the end result would have been far better than this terrible effort. There are much better multiplayer games out there for your money: don't pick this one.