Tapping into Family Guy: The Quest for Stuff - Article

By Xavier Griffiths, July 16, 2014
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Earlier this year I wrote an article about The Simpsons: Tapped Out, calling it the best Simpsons game yet. That claim may sound hyperbolic to some but I stand by it. Indeed, I often still pop in to check on the denizens of my virtual Springfield. Family Guy the TV show owes a lot to The Simpsons, so it is only fitting that the franchise’s foray into mobile gaming should model itself after Tapped Out. Unlike the Origin-dependent Tapped Out that was published by Electronic Arts, Family Guy: The Quest for Stuff comes to us from Tiny Co. and Fox Digital Entertainment. Family Guy: The Quest for Stuff may also be the best Family Guy game there is, though I can’t say for sure because it is the only one I have played, but by all accounts the rest of them are pretty terrible.
 

Even the set-up of the two games is similar. Peter gets into a gigantic fight with his sworn nemesis - the Giant Chicken - and in so doing destroys the entire town of Quahog. The premium currency is clams instead of donuts. There are 19 free characters available, including the main cast and supporting characters such as Jerome, Herbert, Mort Goldman, and Connie D’Amico. Premium characters include one joke wonders such as Consuela, Buzz Killington, and Brain Damaged Horse.

Setting your characters to perform tasks results in coins and experience. Certain actions will also offer the chance of dropping unique items necessary to unlocking new characters, with the chances ranging from common, to rare, to epic (meaning very unlikely). This means you will, by necessity, set your characters to perform the same tasks over and over again in order to get the item you want. 

Quahog is not as iconic a cartoon town as Springfield, so I was not immediately familiar with a lot of the buildings that constitute the town. In addition to the Griffin’s House and their Spooner St. neighbors, landmarks such The Drunken Clam, The Lobster Shanty, and Anal Point are available. There are also a lot of random places such as The Awful Person Hattery and P.F. Chinese. Construction times range from between a few hours and a few days depending on the size of your expandable (for a price) workforce of Portuguese immigrant laborers.
 
 
Costumes play a big part in Family Guy: The Quest for Stuff. The process of unlocking a new costume is identical to that of unlocking a new character. New outfits open up a plethora of new tasks for your characters to complete. Peter has the highest number and most outrageously bizarre costumes to discover, including Hooker Peter, Anime Peter, and Mermaid Peter. 

Family Guy: The Quest for Stuff tries to mix up the monotony by holding special limited time events, such as a month long event involving a mysterious pyramid showing up in Quahog. For this event, Peter received a costume resembling Indiana Jones and needed to rescue Cleveland from sinking into a pit of quicksand. The zany and convoluted storyline also involved dancing mummies and the appearance of a Pharaoh called King Butt (named so because of his exquisitely plump ass). The event had its positive moments but mostly it just provided busywork and pressure to go after more items.

One thing Family Guy: The Quest for Stuff definitely has going for it is a strong sense of humor. The jokes and barbs the game hurls at you between objectives are genuinely funny, which is more than I can say about many newer episodes of the long-running TV hit. The voice actors all lend their talents, providing for short, memorable soundbites that are synonymous with their characters.
 
 
Each character has its own FaceSpace profile which is updated intermittently as they level up. FaceSpace is a huge source of humor in the game as Peter and company use it to parody some of the more annoying posts you'll have come to loathe from your “friends” on Facebook. The game also incorporates genuine Facebook integration for multiplayer purposes, so you can visit the town of a fellow player if you are friends with them on Facebook. If you want, you can have progress updates from the game displayed prominently on your timeline, which is of course one of the most annoying Facebook behaviors out there, only marginally less irritating than sending Candy Crush Invites, humblebragging, and #excessive #hashtag #symbols.

The animation is good but not great. Because the game is online at all times, the smoothness of your experience is at the mercy of the strength of your internet connection. Fortunately, my time with the game was comfortably stable for most sessions. The interface can take some getting used to, however, because of problems independent of server issues. By holding your finger over a specific character you can pick them up and drag them to specific buildings where you can set them to perform location-based tasks. It is easy to accidentally pick up a character, leading to a lot of unpleasant screaming and flailing from them. Other touch-based inputs, such as setting down a new building location, are similarly imprecise and cumbersome.
 

Family Guy: The Quest for Stuff employs the same free-to-play model as other similar apps that you either hate or learn to tolerate. I’ve gone pretty far in the game without spending any real money... yet. This is largely because the game is more generous in distributing clams (the premium currency) than The Simpsons: Tapped Out is with donuts, though I don’t know the exchange rate between the two games so I can't stack up how the value of one compares to the other. That said, you can spend well over $100 if you so choose and still not unlock everything there is to get. The game is constantly expanding with new districts and characters to unlock to keep you playing longer.

This is not a formal review, so I will not be assigning a score to Family Guy: The Quest for Stuff. I enjoy it for what it is and can recommend it to fans of the show and anyone who enjoyed Tapped Out as much as I did, but it is not as polished as it could be and it's filled with a lot of characters you won’t care about (Stewie is the last main character to be unlocked, a fact which the game is both aware of and exploits for humor). Nonetheless, it's intriguing enough to devote a few minutes of your day to if you’re so inclined. If I may offer suggestions for the next adult-themed animated TV show to be converted into a free-to-play game I politely suggest Futurama, American Dad, or Archer. All of which are much funnier than Family Guy.

Oh yeah, I went there.

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