Chuck E. Cheese’s Arcade Room (Nintendo 3DS)
Publisher: UFO Interactive Games, Inc.
Developer: UFO Interactive Games, Inc.
Genre: Mini-Game Compilation
Release Date: 04/26/2012
As a child, I only got to go to Chuck E. Cheese’s a couple of times, because I was an army brat and living overseas isn’t conducive to connecting with American culture. However, the few times I did get to go, I remember the excitement of all the screaming kids running to what felt like hundreds of games, the sounds of tickets being spit out, the flashing lights, and of course, the smell of pizza. My favorite game was skee ball and–for whatever reason, considering I’m terrible at it–basketball. It was a great experience that I would hope any kid would have the opportunity to experience at least once.
Chuck E. Cheese’s Arcade Room is not that experience.
Your game options are as such: Basketball, Jasper Racing, Mr. Munch Target Practice, Dress Up, Alley Roller, and Smash A Munch. Dress Up isn’t actually a game. You just use the stylus to dress Chuck E. Cheese up in different hats, shirts, and shorts. You don’t get tickets for it, you don’t really do anything, the audience “oohs” and “awws” no matter what you do. There is literally no point to this other than to waste time. With that in mind, you’re given five actual games, and two pairs of games are similar enough in design (though not content) that there really isn’t a reason to have them both in the game. Some arcade.
Basketball is fine, except it’s easier to play it with the 3DS held sideways. If you do that, getting 150 baskets in a row is no problem at all. Basically, you take the stylus from the bottom to the top of the screen in order to launch a ball toward the basket. Once you get a rhythm going, you can easily manage the ten balls that you’re allowed to shoot at one time. But it’s easier to hold the 3DS sideways so you’re dragging across and not up, for whatever reason. Either way, it’s incredibly easy.
Alley Roller (skee ball to most of the rest of the world) is basically like basketball: you take the stylus from the bottom to the top of the screen in order to roll a ball toward the skee board. The problem here is that there’s absolutely no control over the ball. No matter how consistently and carefully you roll the ball, it’s not going to go where you want it to go. It’s almost like the laws of physics don’t apply to this game either. In real life, if you roll the skee ball all crazy-like, it goes nowhere; in the game, if you do that you just might get it into the 1000 point slot. At no point did my nostalgia for the real-life version of this game get triggered; instead, I just wondered if anyone involved in making this game ever played the game.
Mr. Munch Target Practice is basically you tapping the screen to throw darts at moving targets. The control for this game is pretty terrible, making it annoying at best. There are Munches you can hit for 50 points, bags worth 100 and 500 points, jackpot signs which give you unlimited darts for a few seconds, and dart refill signs so you don’t have to manually reload. If you hit Helen, however, you lose 50 points. It seems weird to me that if you hit the girl you lose 50 points but if you hit the guy you get 50 points (especially since there’s nothing telling you that one is a bad guy or something), but I guess I’m more of an equal opportunity shooter. The darts don’t land where you want them to and I could never seem to get the timing right, no matter what I did. This was probably my least favorite mini-game, other than Alley Roller.
Smash A Munch (think Whack-a-Mole) is basically like Mr. Munch Target Practice, except instead of you tapping the screen to throw darts at moving targets, you’re tapping the screen in order to smash Munches. This particular mini-game isn’t terrible, except if the screen registers you as having hit the Munch twice, the second hit counts as a miss and any combo that you have going goes away. Honestly, though, compared to the other games, this one wasn’t so bad. I would personally rank it below Basketball as one of the more enjoyable games, despite the fact that Basketball was far too easy.
Jasper Racing is basically every annoying 1990s mobile racing game. This one doesn’t include the use of the touch screen; just press A to increase your speed and press left or right to steer. Basically it’s the least complex “racing” mini-game you can imagine. (I put “racing” in quotations because you aren’t actually racing against anyone, and your race against time isn’t very dramatic.) The further you’re able to go, the higher level you’ll get to, with level 4 being the highest. Your goal is to get to 3000 meters before you run out of time, all the while avoiding the obstacles, which increase in frequency as you get to higher levels. The game is easy enough, if not a bit boring. I preferred to use the circle pad as I felt it gave me more flexibility in where I could go; using the control pad only moves you one lane at a time. All in all, Jasper Racing is fine, though not a terribly exciting experience.
You also have the option to participate in challenges in a building that is separate from the arcade. There is one challenge per game: for Alley Roller, roll the ball into the 1000 point hole five times out of ten; for Jasper Racing, reach level 4 without hitting any obstacles; for Smash a Munch, smash 20 Munches without missing within 15 seconds; for Basketball, make 20 shots in a row; and for Mr. Munch Target Practice, shoot the Munch target 20 times without hitting the Helen target.
The Basketball and Smash a Munch challenges aren’t challenges at all; Jasper Racing is annoying because it really depends on luck of the draw in regards to where you are vs. where the obstacles are coming from, and the Mr. Munch Target Practice and Alley Roller challenges are difficult because of control issues rather than actual difficulty. You don’t get tickets for completing these challenges; in fact, the only thing you get from this is the knowledge that you successfully completed the task. What makes it worse is that challenges are separate from the arcade itself; if you complete a challenge while in the arcade section, you don’t get credit for having completed that challenge. You actually have to go directly to the challenge “building” to complete it.
For some reason, there’s also a store. I’m not really sure what the point of the store is. You can buy items that increase your ticket output, making the game easier than it already is, or clothes for Dress Up. That’s it. No new games, no new modes, just clothes and more tickets. There’s also an item in there that’s just there for your collection, but it serves no purpose that I can tell.
I completed all the challenges and unlocked most of the items in the store in just under an hour and a half, which isn’t terrible for a game that costs $5, but with how little I want to come back to this game, I can’t say there’s any replayability beyond sheer boredom. You can replay the game if you want to, if you really want to 100% it for whatever reason, but there’s no real incentive to do so. In fact, there’s no real incentive to complete the game in the first place. If I wasn’t reviewing this game, I would have put it down an hour and fifteen minutes earlier than I did.
Control and Gameplay: MEDIOCRE
Appeal Factor: MEDIOCRE
FINAL SCORE: POOR GAME
Short Attention Span Summary: This game is just not very good at all. Even for a $5 game, I’m not impressed. The selection of games is embarrassing, especially once you consider that one of the six games isn’t even a game and four of the other games are remarkably similar in gaming style to at least one other game in that arcade, leaving one mediocre racing game as unique. The graphics are terrible, the music is nothing to write home about, and it’s not addictive in any sense of the word. The only appeal this game has is that it’s linked to the Chuck E. Cheese name, which is bound to make a few nostalgic people want to check it out for that reason. There are better things you can spend $5 on. Trust me.