Chuck E. Cheese's Arcade Room
Reviewed by Brandy Shaul
Review Date Platform Genre Rating Production
2012-04-30 Nintendo DS Mini-games E (Everyone) UFO Interactive

From UFO Interactive comes Chuck E. Cheese's Arcade Room, a Nintendo eShop title containing five mini-games based on those you might find in a crowded Chuck E. Cheese restaurant, but without all of the slobbering, crying children to get in your way.

As a mini-game title, there's unfortunately not much variety here, with just five games to play. You'll be able to throw balls up a skeeball track, shoot hoops in a timed free throw basketball game, take aim in a shooting gallery, drive a virtual motorcycle on a top down racer and whack critters in a variation on whack-a-mole. Each game comes with different controls, but four of the five solely utilize the touch screen while the final game uses the d-pad (or analog stick) and the A button.

In terms of complexity in both the gameplay types and the controls, there simply isn't much here, making the game perfect for a youngster who is just starting out in gaming. The basketball game has you simply flicking the stylus up the middle of the touch screen to make a basket, while the whack-a-mole game has you - you guessed it - tapping on critters as they pop-up through holes in a block of cheese to whack them on the head with your virtual mallet. The controls in four of the five games work as intended, while the skeeball game suffers from poor design. While you can easily flick the ball towards the top of the screen, hitting anything other than the 100 or 200 point circles seem unintentionally difficult. That is, the ball will look as though it should land in the 1,000 point slot (the most points you can earn for a single thrown ball), but will instead ricochet off of invisible barriers only to land in the lower-point circles instead.

Each mini-game can be played freely and repeatedly as often as you'd like, with tickets being awarded at the completion of the games according to how well you performed on that particular game. These tickets can then be used to purchase prizes at the main menu, with each prize serving as a power-up to your future progress (most give you permanent boosts on the amount of tickets you'll earn in the future).

Adding just a touch of depth to the experience is the ability to change Chuck E Cheese's clothes using clothing you'll unlock by playing games, and the ability to complete a single challenge for each of the five mini-games. These challenges have a particular goal in mind - say, making 20 shots in the basketball game without missing a shot - but these challenges seem to have little purpose other than to simply lengthen the amount of time you could spend with the game.

Chuck E. Cheese's Arcade Room definitely isn't recommendable to adults, but that's not really a detriment to the final game either. This is an experience designed for and tailored to younger players, and in those respects, its bite-sized gameplay fares incredibly well. For $4.99, it's hard to say whether or not the final product is worth the price (with so many other games being available on iOS or Android for free or even $0.99), but if your DSi or 3DS is your child's primary gameplay device, it's probably worth a look.