Simpsons did it

We all know by now that taking a movie, TV show, or comic book and trying to turn it into a game rarely works. More often than not, it ends up being a huge mess that neither fans nor developers end up happy with. Occasionally, though, someone hits it out of the park and the risk pays off. One media property that’s still trying to hit gaming gold is Family Guy.

We’d rather sweep games like Back to the Multiverse under the rug than celebrate them, so Fox looked to change the series’ digital luck like they did with the Griffins’ Animation Domination cohorts, the Simpsons, and Tapped Out. Instead of EA Mobile, Fox tapped (no pun intended) TinyCo, the creator of TinyMonsters, to bring the mobile digital revolution to Quahog. Instead of breaking new ground, though, they simply decided to retread what’s already been done over in Springfield.

Right from the get-go, you can tell that Family Guy: The Quest for Stuff is a carbon copy of The Simpsons: Tapped Out. Sure, some minor tweaks are present, like the story and characters obviously tailored to fit Family Guy, but starting with Peter and Ernie the Giant Chicken destroying Quahog in their latest brawl the same way that Homer destroyed Springfield by letting the power plant have a meltdown, this is just another free-to-play city builder with some Sunday-night flair.

The gameplay consists of rebuilding Quahog in any way you deem fit. You’ll be laying down roads, rebuilding houses and businesses from the show, and sending your favorite characters off to do various tasks in an attempt to earn currency to build up Quahog bigger and better than it was before. If you don’t want to wait for an hour for Chris to finish picking his nose or six hours for Mort to do Peter’s taxes, you can use real-world cash to buy premium currency or “clams” to make everyone almost instantaneously finish what they’re doing. The app also features a social aspect (explained as being part of Stewie’s multiverse) where you can invite your Facebook friends to join—and, if they do, you can visit their unique Quahogs and earn extra money and XP.

The payoff of hoarding cash and visiting friends is hopefully forwarding the “story” of rebuilding Quahog and unlocking some original animation and dialogue. The humor here is definitely a bright spot if you love the show, and Quest for Stuff even introduces its own set of zany, one-off characters, but I would’ve loved some more voice acting besides the prerecorded one-liners that get repeated constantly.

A major difference between Quest for Stuff and that other Fox animated-sitcom-inspired city builder is that each character also has bonus costumes that give them a new set of actions. Performing specific activities or having particular buildings also gives you bonuses to unlock even more costumes. Peter dressing as a “lady of the night,” Quagmire stripping down to a Speedo, and Lois going commando (not that kind of commando—like a soldier) are just some of the different outfits available.

Family Guy: The Quest for Stuff also tries harder not to turn into a game where you’re constantly waiting for quests to finish up. You rarely have to endure 12- and 24-hour tasks in order to finish quests that advance the game as you continue to unlock more of Quahog’s unique denizens and structures. This is a double-edged sword, though, since I also found that my Quahog got very cramped very quickly. I was constructing buildings faster than I was unlocking land—the exact opposite issue I often face in Tapped Out.

Despite the glaring lack of originality, The Quest for Stuff isn’t a bad game if you simply take it for what’s it worth: a free-to-play title that’s great for killing 5 to 10 minutes on your lunch break. But it won’t get you through a long plane flight. It won’t kill all that time wasted sitting at the DMV. It won’t get you through that boring meeting at work as you pretend to take notes on your iPad.

But dropping into your own digital Quahog for a couple of minutes a day will probably give you a much-needed chuckle as Bonnie twerks for way too long on a backyard stripper pole, Quagmire lets his pet gerbil loose, and Peter stuffs his face at the local burger joint. If you’re a fan of Family Guy (and considering you don’t have to spend any money on this), there are probably a lot worse things taking up space on your mobile device’s hard drive right now.

Developer: TinyCo • Publisher: TinyCo • ESRB: N/A • Release Date: 04.10.14
The lack of originality is evident from the opening animation, but in small doses, The Quest for Stuff can provide fans of Family Guy a welcome chuckle here and there, and that makes it worth the free download.
The Good Captures the essence of the show’s humor.
The Bad A lack of originality; only good in short intervals.
The Ugly Meg.
Family Guy: The Quest for Stuff is available on Android and iOS devices. Primary version reviewed was for iOS using an iPad 2. Review code was provided by TinyCo for the benefit of this review.