Review: Family Fun Pack 1

Family entertainment in 4 classic games. (October 21st, 2005)

MacNN Rating:

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Product Manufacturer: Feral Interactive Ltd.

Price: $39.99 US

The Good

  • Hours of non-stop fun. Engaging games. Good variety in 4-game pack.

The Bad

  • Must update games from web site before use. Installation may be confusing. (This issue has been fixed.)

Feral Interactive's Family Fun Pack 1 is an appealing family gift for the upcoming holiday season. This big box pack offers four classic engrossing games. The games drew a crowd around our ruby iMac, with each of our 4 younger children impatient to test their skills saving alien Sheep, developing a successful Theme Park, completing missions as a Worm, and helping the Zoombinis reclaim their ancestral home.

Sheep

In Sheep, the goal is to rescue sheep. Why? They're aliens who have forgotten their mission and their home world. They must be herded to Mt. Mouflon and transported back to their home planet, before Mr. Pear captures them and steals their DNA to implant into humans to make them submissive So that Mr. Pear can rule the world. Despite the quirky plot, Sheep is addictive. My children played Sheep for days. There are seven worlds in which you herd the sheep through several maze-like levels. Of course, the sheep are not cooperative. They act like real sheep and run from the herder (your character). There are four breeds of sheep to herd and four herders (characters) to choose from, including BoPeep. Obstacles include fences, rivers, buildings, animals and hired henchman. A training course helps new players become familiar with the game. Sheep offers plenty of challenges, problem-solving, entertaining game play, quality graphics and smooth, fluid motion, even on an older Mac. Adults love it as well as kids. My kids picked it up faster than I did.

Worms Blast

With Tetris-like game play, 60 missions, puzzle and tournament modes, and multi-player features, Worms is a Blast! It offers superb graphics and fluid motion, comparable to Sheep. You choose from six boat-riding worm characters, and blast colored blocks with colored ammunition. When ammunition of one color strikes a block of the same color, that block and touching blocks of the same color are destroyed, similar to Tetris. When a block is not the same color as the ammunition, the block changes color. The blocks advance toward the user's character, and in some cases the water level rises and falls. Obstacles include fog, sea monsters, falling anvils, and explosive weaponry, such as bazookas, dynamite and grenades. You can play in puzzle mode, tournament mode, head to head with another human being or Worms' own computer-based opponent. Worms Blast offers enough challenging game variations to garner your attention day after day. If you like Tetris, you'll like Worms Blast, no matter your age. As in Sheep, Worms Blast also offers a training area to hone the skill of new players.

Zoombinis Island Odyssey

Zoombinis Island Odyssey, like previous Zoombini titles, incorporates challenging puzzles into the game play. In this release, the Zoombini Island's ecosystem has been destroyed by the Bloats, and the Zoombinis must replenish the moths to save Zoombini Island. A noble task!

Players help the Zoombinis through this odyssey, solving puzzles to advance to the next stage. The challenging puzzles deal with mechanics, symbols and symbol matching, coins and counting, and time as seen from earth and outer space -- and these are just the first three puzzles! Game play is smooth and engaging for youth through adult, and, even for younger players (i.e. 3 years old). Zoombinis also incorporates an immediately accessible and useful help system. Zoombinis Island Odyssey is a great family game. The puzzles may require an adult's explanation to help a child to understand the multi-level puzzle themes and solutions.

According to Feral Interactive, "There is currently a known issue with Zoombinis when used in conjunction with OS X Panther (10.3) or Tiger (10.4)." They are working with the original developers to come up with a patch as soon as possible. UPDATE: The patch is available from the Feral Support page.

Sim Theme Park World

My daughter and wife were thrilled when I installed Theme Park World. Both are familiar with the Sims variety of games, so playing Theme Park World was familiar to them. In Theme Park World, players build and manage their own theme park, complete with attractions, breakdowns, rain, employees, and customers. Players earn money as long as the gates are open, then they spend that money for new attractions, new employees, more land and all the things to grow a successful theme park. Roller coasters are a special attraction in theme parks, and they're not overlooked in Theme Park World. When funds are available, players can research and design their own roller coasters, inserting loops, peaks, drops and more. The ability to ride your own creations, including roller coasters, and to see things from the point of view of your customers is a really cool feature! It is a truly addictive game and no two theme parks are alike. You can develop up to four amusements parks (Lost Kingdom, Halloween World, Wonder Land and Space Zone). Just be sure not to stay up too late!

Installation Labyrinth

I experienced noteworthy difficulty installing select games in Family Fun Pack 1. System requirements range from Mac OS 8.6 to OS X 10.2. This causes considerable confusion during installation, and creates a high potential for problems. If players do not have OS 8.6 or 9.x (AKA Classic), they will not be able to install Sheep or Zoombinis Island. These two games can be upgraded to Mac OS X 10.x, but they must be installed in Classic first. Sim Theme Park can be installed and upgraded to OS X without needing Classic and Worms Blast is OS X-compatible out of the box. Updaters are included with the Family Fun Pack 1 bundle on the sampler DVD, but they can also be downloaded from Feral's web site.

EDITOR'S UPDATE: All of the games in the Family Fun Pack run natively on OS X now. According to the developer, the Zoombinis installer runs a check on your OS and then automatically opens up the correct installer, either for Mac OS Classic or Mac OS X. For Sheep you can go to http://feralinteractive.com/sheepx/ and find a download link for the Sheep Carbon application. As "long as the 'Sheep Data' file is located in the same folder as the Carbon 'Sheep X' application, the game should run in OS X without any problems."

I heartily recommend that users have Mac OS X 10.3 or better installed. Before you play any of the games, go to Feral Interactive's web site and download the latest updates. This helps eliminate problems, especially if you don't have a DVD drive to read the sampler disc. It is curious that all the games in the Family Fun Pack are not OS X-compatible out of the box, since Mac OS X 10.2 was released more than 3 years ago. .

A Sure Fire Hit for Holiday Gift Giving!

Despite potential problems with installation, Feral Interactive's Family Fun Pack is a great collection of entertaining, nonviolent, and educational games for the entire family. I have to give it 5 Stars! Feral's Family Fun Pack is the perfect choice this holiday season no matter which Macintosh five years old or newer you own. Good, clean gaming is just around the corner with the Feral's Family Fun Pack.

Edited by Ilene Hoffman, Reviews Editor

by Mike Swope


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