This game comes hot on the trail of the hugely successful Wii-Fit and while many people will see this as an opportunistic rip-off, I donít completely agree with that statement, it may be opportunistic but I wouldnít call it a rip-off. There are plenty of games which can accurately be described as rip-offs but you canít on one hand claim that Wii-Fit is a fresh idea and then jump on the next game which comes along and makes use of a similar formula. If every genre and sub-genre only had room for one title, while we would have a much easier time choosing what to play next, I donít think the industry would last very long.
If I were to judge this game purely on whether or not young kids would enjoy it then Family Trainer would end up with a very high score but, I am not going to be doing that, I will instead judge it on its main selling point, accessible family entertainment. As I write this I am having flashbacks to my review for Samba de Amigo which can be found here. I started my review for that game in a similar fashion by stating that kids would love the game but the difference is, despite it not being marketed specifically as a family friendly title, I actually found Samba de Amigo to be more accessible.
I had a lot of fun with that quirky maraca shaking game but I didnít feel the same level of enjoyment with Family Trainer and, while Iím not in the targeted age bracket, Iím old enough to have young children and if I was a parent Iíd be the person expected to open my wallet. If I was in a position where I did have children I honestly couldnít see myself purchasing this game for them.
For a start, this isnít cheap, itíll set you back £50 for the game and mat and I simply donít feel that this game is worthy of such a pricetag. Before I go into my reasons Iíd like to take a moment to look at the good sides of Family Trainer and, despite my reservations before trying the game, there are a few.
If you are looking for a game which will entertain you while you exercise and you want an alternative to Wii-Fit then thereís a good chance youíll find what youíre looking for here. Of the games on offer I found Kayaking and Stomp the Mole to be most enjoyable with the former needing no description and the latter being an updated version of Whack Attack but without children taking their frustrations out on each other with a plastic hammer. If your aim is to work up a good sweat, beside the more obvious crude suggestion, then this game will help you achieve that. You will find yourself chasing better times for a higher score and in the end you will feel like you have been through a decent workout.
Now comes the negative aspects of Family Trainer. As I mentioned above the idea behind this game is that it will bring the family together and I have found some holes in this otherwise solid marketing strategy.
I live directly above someone else and given that many of the mini-games expect you to jump up and down on the provided mat, while this may be acceptable if youíre fortunate enough to live on the ground floor, I happen to have reservations when it comes to disturbing my neighbours. When you factor kids into this equation, and they decide it would be the perfect time to pretend they are elephants, you may have a bit of a problem on your hands.
A pair of little angels (Note: Reality may differ from this advertisement)http://www.teamteabag.com/wp-content/uploads/2008/10/family_trainer-wiiartwork4774atari2.jpg
Letís say, for the sake of argument, that you live on the ground floor and disturbing your neighbour isnít an issue, try to imagine the following scenario. ďIíve been stuck at work all day, itís a good thing I can put my feet up and watch something on TV, some sport or perhaps my favourite Soap Opera, right?Ē. No, Iím afraid youíre living in fantasy land, because the reality is that your kids have their friends over and they are busy taking turns tearing up your living room.
I find it very difficult to get beyond Wii-Fit and the main reason for this is because the Wii-Balance board is not only a much more durable peripheral but it already has a list of interesting games developed with it in mind. Ubisoft have made a commitment to the peripheral with their upcoming Rayman Raving Rabbids TV Party and Shaun White Snowboarding: Road Trip, two very different games which have been created to make use of the Wii-Balance Board. The same canít be said of the Family Trainer mat which instantly makes the title less attractive than Wii-Fit as you wonít get as much use out of the peripheral.
If you canít get hold of Wii-Fit as itís sold out everywhere and youíre desperately after something similar then Family Trainer might well fill the gap. I recommend that you consider Samba de Amigo which is a more enjoyable alternative or, better yet, if you can hold off a little longer youíll begin to see a great deal of similar games on the market and many of them will be Family Trainerís superior.7/10