Now more than ever, having things to do with the family is crucial. With 2020 being the year of lockdowns and Christmas cancelled in the UK, you can only play Monopoly so much with your family before you end up driving each other insane. Every year, I am on the hunt for the perfect family-friendly console game that I can play with my loved ones over the Christmas. I was worried that this year, I wouldn’t have anything to play. Thankfully, Family Feud fills this void perfectly. For those who aren’t aware, Family Feud is what the Americans call Family Fortunes in the UK. The only real downside to this game is that Les Dennis doesn’t reprise his role since the game is based off the American version of the game show. Nonetheless, the format is exactly the same.
Family Feud pits two families of up to five people each against each other in a survey-based quiz game. After having played 20 game shows, not a single question was repeated, suggesting that the game has a large library of questions and answers. The format of the game show is relatively simple – there are multiple rounds where family members try to earn points by trying to guess the top answers to a question. The top answers are decided from a survey of 100 people. The family with the most points gets to go first in a final showdown where they each have to guess the top answers to five questions within a short amount of time frame. Going first is a benefit since you’ll have the opportunity to guess the top answer before the other family can. Whoever gets the most points in the final showdown, wins the whole game. What’s fantastic about the game show format is that the team who has the least points doesn’t necessarily lose. They are disadvantaged in the final showdown but it’s ultimately the winner of the final showdown who wins the entire game show.
I’m so accustomed to Ubisoft producing great quality games, especially since I just pumped over 100 hours into Valhalla, that I went into Family Feud with high hopes, and it largely doesn’t disappoint. In fact, as a quiz game, it’s fantastic. I expect nothing less however given that the developers of Family Feud are Snap Finger Click, the same team behind It’s Quiz Time (an Xbox quiz game that is perhaps the best in class on any console). It’s worth noting that Family Feud works perfectly well on Xbox Series X and in fact that’s the platform the game was played on. The game is not going to be rated on its visuals since this is clearly not the focal point. It is worth mentioning however that the developers clearly wanted to capture the essence of the real game show and they have done this really well. The moment you fire up a game, you’re instantly transported onto the set of Family Feud and the way the game imports your family name and characters onto the stage makes you instantly feel a sense of pride and need to win.
The game does a great job in ensuring that the quiz continues to move at a steady pace. It gives players a timer when answering every single question so that they cannot waste too much time in thinking about an answer. I was seriously concerned with the answering system going into the game. How would a player input their answer, and what if the game doesn’t accept a perfectly valid answer. What if the game asked me: “Name something that people do when they wake up” and I type in “shower” instead of “wash”? Also, although I am a keen gamer, how will my parents (who aren’t quick with a QWERTY on-screen keyboard) be able to type the answer quickly given that they only have 30 seconds? What was initially my biggest concern turned out to be the game’s most impressive feature. As you type an answer, the game automatically predicts what you’re going to say and gives you four predicted answers on top of the on-screen keyboard. The predicted answers update as you type more manually. Each of the four predicted answers are also mapped to the shoulder buttons of the controller, so you can very quickly select an answer. What’s more impressive is the dictionary of answers that the game has. 95% of the time, whatever answer I thought of, was an option in the game!
I also particularly loved how your answer did not necessarily have to be exactly the same as what the game expected, in order to give you the points. This is exactly how the game show works in real life too. As an example, if I answered ‘shower’ for the aforementioned question, the game would accept my answer and translate it to what it expected, which may be ‘wash’. The developers must have spent a huge amount of time just mapping answers to other possible answers.
Family Feud also contains a variety of modes. You can play the classic Family Feud game where you match up against the AI. You can compete against three different difficulties of AI. This mode allows for up to five players to enjoy the classic Family Feud experience offline. Couch vs. couch allows you to take up to five players locally and compete against another family of up to five players online! The only issue with this mode was that I spent too long finding another family to compete against. However, we did manage to find one family and beat them! I am a hugely competitive gamer especially when it comes to games like FIFA and Warzone, however I never thought that I’d get the most competitive competing against another family in a quiz show. Your entire family name’s pride is at stake!
Party Battle lets you play entirely offline. You can form into two teams of up to 5 (this is best played when you actually have two families playing under the same roof) and compete against each other. What’s great about this mode is that the game gives you a lot of flexibility. You don’t need to play 5v5. You can play any combination e.g. 3v2, 5v5, 4v1. The game will automatically update according to how many family members are in each team. If you have less numbers in your team, it just means that you’ll play a more active role. The mode is also flexible enough to let you decide whether you pass the controller between both teams or if both teams have a controller each. It’s a shame that there are strict lockdowns during the Christmas period that prevent multiple households from gathering, since this would be the best mode to play. Having said that, if you have four people in your household, you can still technically split up into two family teams and compete against each other.
Live Show is a very interesting mode where Ubisoft and the developers make a very clear statement about their support for live streamers. This mode allows you to live stream your game on YouTube or Twitch and let you interact with your viewers who will try to guess answers on your behalf. Unfortunately I wasn’t able to test this mode to the fullest since I’m not a live streamer, however this is a highly innovative mode that more developers should be looking at implementing into their games where possible.
Surprisingly, there are quite a lot of customization options in the game. You can customize each member of the family via the create mode to make them resemble their real life counterparts. You can choose from a variety of default templates and then modify hair styles, skin tones, facial bone structures and also the apparel they wear. The game doesn’t intend to go over the top with the options, but it has enough options to allow you to create characters that resemble your family members.
I also appreciate that the game doesn’t cost the price of a standard retail AAA title. In fact as things stand, you can buy the game on Xbox for £12.99, which is a fantastic price since it will give you many evenings’ worth of game time. As things stand, I haven’t heard of any plans for the developers to provide new questions via DLC. It could be a good idea to have themed packs where the questions are tailored towards genres such as movies or music. Without some DLC, it is inevitable that you’ll end up replaying a question at some point. There’s nothing worse than competing in a game show where you already know the answers to a question. I haven’t experienced this yet, but the more you play, the more you’re likely to come across this situation.
Family Feud is the perfect game show experience for the console. It doesn’t take itself seriously yet it brings out the competitiveness in all of the players, therefore bringing the family together for an activity on a big screen. What’s perfect about the game is that children can get involved too. Unlike traditional quiz games where the questions may be tailored to a mature audience, Family Feud’s questions are for anyone to answer. The fact that it has online multiplayer and even a live streaming mode is testament to the level of quality that Ubisoft and the developers stride for no matter what game they work on.