When it comes to the television show Family Guy, some of the best episodes out there are the ones in which Brian and Stewie travel together and actually don't feature the rest of the cast. One of the better episodes was an episode in which Brian and Stewie traveled through the Multiverse. Apparently the creators know how popular the episode is because they made a video game that was a sequel to it. Back to Multiverse can be considered fan service in just about every respect. If you really love the show and its humor you'll really love this game to a certain extent. And while it's packed full of references it's hard to say this is a game worth forking over sixty dollars for. If anything it would've easily sufficed as a downloadable game on Steam, PSN or XBOX Live Arcade. There isn't really enough content to justify the price tag (though it's sure to go down eventually).
Back to the Multiverse begins in typical Family Guy fashion. It's as though you're playing through an actual episode of the show. It plays the opening of the show- credits and all - as though this really is going to be a typical episode. It then shows Brian and Stewie. Their banter is quickly interrupted when Bertrum shows up from a different universe. He wants revenge on Stewie and is about the travel the multiverse to amass an army. It's up to Stewie and Brian to stop him by following him through the multiverse. As far as Family Guy goes, the actual synopsis for this episode is definitely pretty cool. And it's got some great humor in many respects. The cutscenes themselves are full of some nice witty banter between Brian and Stewie but once you get into the actual game only your fan devotion is likely to hold you. And you'll need to be a die hard fan of the show for it more so than just someone who watches it every now and then.
There are ten levels in Back to the Multiverse. Each complete with objectives. You'll never get lost as there is a marker that will always show you where to go and where you should be. Each level seems to have its own theme. There's one level where it's all filled with Amish. Another where everyone is crippled and you must battle through their fortress and a few more surprises I won't spoil. Although there isn't much to spoil. Any die-hard fan of the show will have seen this all before. You don't get the sense there was much created from scratch for the game.
You'll play as Brian and Stewie and be able to switch between them on the fly. Each of them have their own set of weapons at their disposal. Stewie has his trademark ray guns and inventions while Brian has the standard stuff like pistols, shotguns and rifles. Characters also have secondary weapons and items they can use. You can throw diaper bombs with Stewie or molotov cocktails with Brian. It seems like there is a lot of variety but Back to Multiverse puts an emphasis on shooting your way through. And hordes of enemies will come at you from everywhere. The difficulty spikes seem a little unbalanced. One minute everything seems manageable, the next you're overrun and barely able to survive. It's okay though, because a lot of health packs and ammo are plentiful throughout each level. There isn't really too much variety in the objectives, though. Many times it's usually finding something to open passage so you can move forward, or it's something along the lines of killing a certain enemy to move on.
As you kill enemies you'll also collect cash. You'll be able to use this to buy more weapons and costumes, as well as increase your health or the amount of ammo you can carry.
The biggest drawback is that the game is relatively short with little replay value. The game can easily be completed in 3 to 5 hours. It's brief, just like an episode of the show. And while some of it is funny and witty, it's really only the cutscenes that are really that fun or engaging to watch.
At the very least fans of the show will be happy to know that the writers and voice actors did step up to the plate to help out with the story and characters. The cast is here to deliver their lines and it's done rather well. The graphical presentation is a little jarring at first. It's cartoon like, which is a good thing. On the other hand, some animations seem a little stilted. Mostly the cutscenes and the lip movements from time to time. Likewise, the game being in 3D makes certain aspects look just a tad... strange. Such as looking at Stewie's hair or Brian up close. Nevertheless those are small nitpicks. There are also moments in which you might feel the game could use a couple more details. A lot of environments strangely feel scarce or empty. I like that it looks like the cartoon, but you sometimes get the sense that they could've done a little more.
Back to the Multiverse isn't a bad game at all. It is a little steep to pay the full sixty dollar price tag for a game that's this short and doesn't offer nearly as much replay value. There are a few extra things to do outside of the main story, but it's really nothing special. It's a great amount of fan service at least and if you're a die hard fan you may like it.
Genre: Action, Adventure
Developer: Heavy Iron Studios
Release Date: 20 Nov 2012