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Chuck E. Cheese’s Arcade Room (DSiWare) Review

Review for Chuck E. Cheese’s Arcade Room on DSiWare - on Nintendo Wii U, 3DS games review

Chuck E. Cheese’s, as a dining establishment, has been around for quite some time. Founded in 1977 by Nolan Bushnell (of Atari fame), it was designed to be a family friendly environment that incorporated live shows, animatronic characters, and an in-door arcade. During the 80s and part of the 90s it ran under the name Chuck E. Cheese’s Pizza, and now falls under the simple header of Chuck E. Cheese’s. It’s still a kid-focused environment, now featuring a number of games that aren’t drawn from modern arcade titles, which tend to skew more towards adult audiences nowadays, but still features a number of activities geared towards a younger crowd.

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.

Screenshot for Chuck E. Cheese’s Arcade Room on DSiWare - on Nintendo Wii U, 3DS games review

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.

Screenshot for Chuck E. Cheese’s Arcade Room on DSiWare - on Nintendo Wii U, 3DS games review

Gameplay

While not opposed to the ideal of digital versions of more physical, real world games like the ones contained in Chuck E. Cheese’s Arcade Room, the lack of variety here really hurts the experience. Five games that take 30 or so seconds a piece to play through hardly makes for a compelling end product, or even a suitable time waster for kids and adults alike.

Graphics

There is nothing to write home about here, with simple 2D artwork that is almost entirely static until you get to the actual games. The games themselves don’t even require much animation, and look more akin to poorly rendered Flash games than anything that should be running on a handheld console. Also, the constant use of garish, multi-coloured signs, displays, characters, and stands really stands out as an eyesore more than a way to attract players.

Sound

Downright awful. There are only a few musical tracks that play throughout, and every single one is annoying, repetitive, and trite. One of the worst soundtracks players will have been subjected to in quite a while.

Value

There are far better uses for everyone’s time than what can be found in Chuck E. Cheese’s Arcade Room. It makes for a poor representation of the actual establishment, and will do little to placate children that would rather actually be there than playing this game. If you are looking to throw away money, look no further.

Cubed3 Rating

2/10
Rated 2 out of 10

Very Bad

About this score

Avoid Chuck E. Cheese’s Arcade Room at all costs. Even if you have some morbid curiosity, or previous affection for childhood memories of Chuck E. Cheese, there is nothing here but a really shallow experience that is sure to sour any positive thoughts you had about Nolan Bushnell’s creation.

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09.05.2012

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UFO

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UFO

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1

C3 Score

Rated $score out of 10  2/10

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European release date Out now   North America release date Out now   Japan release date None   Australian release date Out now   

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Reader comments - add yours today Comments on this Review

There are no replies to this review yet. Why not be the first?

I visited one of those places a long time ago in Canada...was pretty fun. Had no idea it was started by Bushnell, who is a person hero of mine.

Shame the game seems to have had no effort put into it.

Minigames can work if theres a good reward structure and lots of (different!) unlockables. WarioWare (specific Twisted) being the best example.

"dumb" games can also be very,very addictive if the balance is right.
I urge people to give this a go:
http://www.ludoid.fr/site/index.php/en/chests-en

The game is nothing more then opening chests with keys, yet because of the various items their is to find its strangely addictive.

Please give our little random review show a try;
http://randomreviewshow.com/index.html
We have special effects and umm...stuff...

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