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Family Guy made its name on TV by being simultaneously derivative and edgy; it riffed on The Simpsons’ formula of an animated nuclear family with a drunken, lovingly-dumb father, but its gags went further or weirder. And it did it well. So you might have reason for thinking that Family Guy: The Quest for Stuff—which takes its cues from The Simpsons: Tapped Out—might also push boundaries and poke fun at conventions. You’d be sadly mistaken. The Quest for Stuff is a shallow, money-grubbing, cynical, and downright boring freemium city builder with few redeeming qualities.
On the positive side, great care has clearly gone into the graphics, with all the little visual details replicated on even minor characters and buildings. It’s chock full of the same sharp dialog you know and love (or hate) from the show—albeit mostly without voice acting. Many jokes are recycled from the series, but there are plenty of original (and funny) ones that self-consciously reference the senselessness of your experience and the minutiae of previous episodes. The game hits its high point before you even start playing, though, delivering a delightful animated opening in which Family Guy gets canceled again and Peter fights the Giant Chicken (revealed to be the president of Fox) in a battle that destroys the entire town.
Your job is to rebuild Quahog, a feat made challenging not through difficulty but rather suffocating timers that drag progress to a standstill. You don’t play The Quest for Stuff so much as periodically jump in and tap stuff for 30 seconds to bank money and experience, and put Peter’s friends and family to work on new quests/activities. That's all done so that you may eventually rebuild a new section of the town or unlock new characters, costumes, and quests—ready to repeat ad infinitum.
What’s worse are the minuscule amounts of money and experience most buildings produce on a rolling basis—some as often as every minute, others over a few hours. These resources halt production entirely until you tap to reset them. It’s a slog to get anywhere without splashing the cash, whether you’ve played for five minutes or several hours, and it’s simply not worth the trouble to wade through the crap for well-written speech bubbles and quest descriptions.
The bottom line. No amount of fan service or witty writing can save Family Guy: The Quest for Stuff from mediocrity born of leaden pacing and shameless freemium money-grubbing.
iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch running iOS 5.0 or later
Great introductory cutscene. Witty, humorous writing. Graphics capture the finer details of Quahog.
Takes an eternity to rebuild the town. Not much to do. Limited voice work. Designed and balanced to suck money out of you. As with the show, some dialogue oversteps the mark between edgy and offensive.