Which is what this DSi Ware title, Chuck E. Cheese’s Arcade Room, is presumably trying to capture, albeit quite poorly. This extremely small collection of mini-games is definitely not geared towards anyone either entering or past their teenage years, but even when approached through the eyes of a child there is little to value in this compilation.
First, let us take a look at the presentation. When first booting up and choosing a save file, a simple 2D representation of the restaurants lead mascot greets the player in a lobby like area. This represents the main menu, which contains all of three options. The Arcade that houses the mini-games to play, a Store that allows the player to spend earned tickets won by completing mini-games, and a Challenge mode featuring those mini-games but with specific challenges to complete. This incredibly static menu is all backed by an increasingly annoying musical track that seemingly loops every thirty seconds. It is certainly not off to a good start here.
Journeying to the Arcade, the menu screen will then change to give the player the choice between five mini-games that make up the meat of Chuck E. Cheese’s Arcade Room. These five activities are probably familiar to just about anyone that’s ever attended any kind of carnival or child-themed event. Of course, everything is labelled in Chuck E. Cheese’s lingo, opting to use character names taken from the fictional friend list of the mascot mouse.
These five events are as follows: Jasper’s Racing, Mr. Munch Target Practice, Alley Roller, Smash a Munch, and the lazily titled Basketball. Here is what the games equate to in the real world: top-down driving game, a shooting gallery, skee-ball, Whack-a-Mole, and basketball. All five games are played using either the touch screen or D-pad for controls, and are all incredibly simple to play. Being simple doesn’t mean they work well, though, as skee-ball and basketball tend to be unresponsive at random times. Also, none of these events are particularly fun to play, and become incredibly repetitive after just a few minutes.
In order to keep players coming back for more, the game doles out tickets for completing events. The amount of tickets is based on the overall score, which is divided up into four ranks using a gold star based system. Once four stars have been achieved, the player receives the maximum number of tickets for that event, which is still unfortunately quite low. Eventually when earning enough tickets to buy something, that is when it is discovered that the prizes are woefully underwhelming.
To the game’s benefit, the number of tickets required to buy prizes in the store is pretty accurate to real life for most establishments that use a similar system. However, the lack of game variety found in Chuck E. Cheese’s Arcade Room is a massive hindrance here, and cycling between those five games over and over again just feels like a chore more than anything that would actually resemble enjoyment.
Finally, there’s the Challenge mode offered, which is little more than a single goal for each game type to try and achieve. Even these goals are a little too easy, and since players don’t earn tickets for completing the games in this mode, there is little incentive to play. There are some store unlocks tied into finishing the challenges, but again, the store prizes don’t result in much more than badly rendered 2D objects that do nothing inside the game than just sit on a shelf. A handful of prizes will impact the amount of tickets earned at each game, but other than that, they are mostly useless.
Chuck E. Cheese’s Arcade Room is definitely not a contender for downloadable title of the year, needless to say. Its gameplay is remarkably bland, it offers up little more than a handful of events that take mere minutes to complete, and there is nothing particularly noteworthy about those events that make them worth playing through time and again. It is the very definition of middling, licensed digital trash that occasionally pops up on every download service, and should definitely be avoided at all cost.