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.
Sometimes licensed games leave you scratching your head in confusion at their bizarre muddling of a beloved pop culture franchise. Yu-Gi-Oh! BAM Pocket adapts a popular trading card game based on the Yu-Gi-Oh manga and anime series into an entirely different trading card game, just barely managing to string together something moderately enjoyable in the process. Battling wits with virtual and real opponents is both fun and challenging, but there’s not enough depth to keep you interested for long.
Since film reboot The Muppets was released in 2011, the furry creatures have skyrocketed back to a level of popularity they haven’t enjoyed since the 1980s. My Muppets Show gives players the chance to put on their own titular performance, inspired by the classic television series, by tackling myriad tasks around the stage. While the Muppets themselves are true to form, the gameplay is of an ilk we’ve seen many times before with no real improvement on the basic design.
G.I. Joe fans no doubt remember their collection of action figures and the fun times they spent going on imaginary missions against Cobra’s army of evil. It's no surprise, then, that the action card game G.I. Joe: Battleground rekindles some of those memories as you assemble your squad and recruit your favorite soldiers for combat. It may not always be the most exciting experience, but it’s a quality card game that doesn’t require much effort to enjoy.
Depending on your feelings about the company's distinct brand of entertainment, Wake Up With Disney either takes a bit of the pain out of dragging yourself out of slumberland or ensures you’ll never want to sleep again. You’ll have to love Donald Duck and his propensity for tantrums to stand it for more than a few minutes, as he’s the one and only choice of companion in this playful interactive alarm clock. He’ll huff and he’ll puff, and he’ll either drive you insane or delight you with his wake-up-time antics.
Very few educational math apps have recognizable characters, but the newest such iOS edutainment game from JumpStart features animals from the Madagascar series of animated films. Madagascar Math Ops balances education with fun by rewarding good math skills with an Angry Birds-like physics game, in which you hurl the penguins – who are wearing jetpacks – at obstacles in order to free the other animal characters.
Pairing Disney's biggest original iOS hit with the company's most iconic character, Where's My Mickey? XL delivers another breezy physics puzzler that challenges you to guide a stream of liquid to the cartoon mouse. Skillfully utilizing a classic Mickey Mouse aesthetic with animated cut-scenes, the game maintains the winning gameplay formula that propelled Where's My Water? and licensed follow-up Where's My Perry?, though a lack of challenge makes it less memorable than expected.
Despite its wide catalog of beloved characters, Disney’s mobile games (like the great Where's My Water?) have often introduced their own leads created especially for each game. The company's latest such entry is Mittens, a physics-based puzzle-platformer starring that favorite of Internet obsessions: Cats. Mittens is strung together by adorable animated cutscenes, which show the irascible titular feline attempting to woo a prissy purple kitty. Every time Mittens tries to give her a gift, she inevitably grows distracted by some other potential sign of affection. As a result, each set of stages introduces a new target gift to win her heart, like milk, balloons, and chocolates.
Developed by Angry Birds creator Rovio, The Croods is a village-building game inspired by DreamWorks’ latest CG animated film. With these two studios behind it, you might expect the game to be a sure thing, both as a promotional tool and as a fun iOS game for all ages. Instead, this freemium title isn’t the least bit charming, and all it seems to want is your money. Your objective is to create resources for the prehistoric Croods family by trapping, taming, and caring for wild animals, but the game downplays its characters in favor of a hollow gameplay approach.
My Little Pony - Friendship is Magic shines right out of the gate, but it loses its gleam when you hit the inevitable paywall. The core of the game -- building and expanding a town -- is fun and compulsive, while the repetitive mini-games are short enough to be only slightly annoying after prolonged play time, plus Gameloft pulled out all the stops in presentation. But your progress gets heavily stilted if you don’t shell out for in-app purchases, and it appears impossible to finish the story without spending big money.