[Review] Family Tree – Nintendo Switch

Written by slimwiggins

Reviewed by Thomas

  • Developer: Infinite State Games
  • Publisher: eastasiasoft
  • Release Date: 10/10/2019
  • Price: $7.99 / £6.99
  • Review code provided by eastasiasoft

Intro

It’s not too often that I indulge in the simpler games on the Nintendo eShop. As a father of three, I play a range of games with my children. However, my youngest daughter who is now seven began playing games geared for an older audience sooner than my other kids. It was a bit refreshing to jump into a bright game that wasn’t loaded with loot crates and costly skins. I let my daughter take the reins and guide our time with Family Tree.

The Fruit Doesn’t Fall Far

Despite the vibrant colors and happy looking fruits, Family Tree’s narrative is a nightmare for any parent. Just before bedtime, Mr. Fruits reminds his children not to stay up too late. Soon after, an evil flying skull appears and abducts all the children of the Fruits family. It’s up to the parents to scour each level to rescue the children, all the while racing the clock before Evil Skull Pedro returns.

The Apple of My Eye

The gameplay in Family Tree is deceptively simple on the surface but you’ll soon find it’s more challenging than it appears. It’s almost a mix of a slingshot/pinball game with a hint of platforming. You pull back on the analog stick in the opposite direction you want to launch Mr or Mrs Fruits, and let fly. Dots on the screen signal your trajectory and give you a good idea where you’ll land. As levels become more complex, you’ll have to outmaneuver all manor of forest denizens. Some of which include nut tossing squirrels, flapping birds, and manic owls. Fortunately these obstacles aren’t too imposing. If you’re hit, you can continue on.

Throughout each level you gather missing fruit and coins. Once hit, one of your precious fruit babies drop to the bottom of the level. It’s up to you to backtrack or continue on as a bad fruit parent and leave them to their fate. If time runs out and Pedro hunts you down. You can try to avoid him and get to the end but if you fail and he hits you, you start from the beginning of the level. The only penalty is to your high score.

There were a few levels that my daughter had trouble with. Being a veteran gamer who cut my teeth on Pong, I gently moved her aside to display my mad pinball skills. The Joy-con resting confidently in my hands I took aim and let go. To be repeatedly rejected by an annoying block who looked like he failed Bowser’s school of Baddie Blocks 101. Time soon ran out and after a while I beat the level.

The difficulty curve isn’t so hard that you want to give up but the lack of penalties gave an excuse to take your time and try to find everything on a board. There’s not a lot of variety in the gameplay outside of obstacle placement so it was hard to stay engaged for long sessions. Shorter bursts, however, were a pleasure and it’s well suited to swap the controller back and forth to enjoy with others or race with couch co-op. And if you want to demolish your seven year old’s high score, there’s always that.

Fruit By the Foot

Each level is rich with splashes of color throughout. Family Tree sends you across the four Seasons to search for your little ones. Each one has a vivid palate and harnessed my daughter’s imagination. From the colorful characters to the bright enemies and everything in between, Family Tree makes it clear that it’s not taking things too seriously and just wants the gamer to enjoy their foray into the world of non-perishable fruit.

The music likewise captures the flavorful fun found in the rest of Family Tree. If you listen long enough, you’ll find a fruit rap ready to set the stage for your bouncing Orange to bop up and down each tree. From a technical standpoint Family Tree ran smoothly. We did have to swap out some controllers due to Joy-con drift. If you suffer from such a mechanical melancholy, this game will not be forgiving.

Final Wrap

Both my daughter and I enjoyed our time with Family Tree. It’s not breaking any records in complex gameplay or deep storytelling but it does a great job offering a quirky title for a wider audience. Family Tree is a great game for little ones or those young at heart. Even for an older audience there is plenty to be found with unlockable content and high scores to set and beat. On the face of the eShop many will scroll past this pinball climber. Do yourself a favor and check it out.

Pros

  • Ton of Level Variety
  • Colorful Fruit Characters
  • Family Friendly
  • Great for Short Bursts

Cons

  • Limited Gameplay
  • Not Great for Long Sessions

Verdict
Family Tree slingshots vibrant joy across your screen full of family laughs.
4/5

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