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Game Info:

Family Tree
Developed by: Infinite State Games
Published by: Eastasia Soft
Release date: October 10, 2019
Available on: Nintendo Switch
Genre: Pinball, Platformer
Number of players: 1-4
ESRB Rating: E for Everyone
Price: $7.99 USD

Thank you Eastasia Soft for sending us this game to review!

If you have read the last few reviews I have written, then you know that I am a family man. My wife and I have been married for nearly 14 years and have two beautiful children and one on the way. Life is pretty good, and as the father of the house, it should be clear that I would never let anything happen to my beloved family. I wouldn’t even let a maniacal candy skull named Pedro abduct them and strew them across all four seasons. Nope, I would fight to save my family, no matter how incredibly impossible or unrelatable that scenario actually is. However, for the little fruit people of Infinite State Games’ level-by-level platformer Family Tree, this is a horrific reality.

The day is going well for Mr. Fruits and Momma Orange and their family of a million and two seed children. The children are told not to stay up too late, but they don’t listen. As it gets dark, a maniacal floating skull named Pedro comes and steals all of the seeds away. It is up to Mr. Fruits to go from tree to tree, season to season, and rescue his children before Pedro is made aware of the caper. It is a fun and very simple story to match a very simple game.

Family Tree
Highlights:

Strong Points: Family-friendly fun; very colorful and original gameplay; ease of play is great for young gamers
Weak Points: Extremely repetitive gameplay; maybe too juvenile for older players; controls take some getting used to
Moral Warnings: The main antagonist, Pedro the Skull, may be to too creepy for younger players to handle

Family Tree is a pinball platformer game that has a level by level system very similar to that of most free-to-play cell phone titles. I call this game a pinball platformer because it does not use the traditional control scheme that most platformers use. In order to move up the tree, Mr. Fruits has to be launched instead of directly jumping with the push of a button. This forces the player to aim the fruit and calculate its trajectory using a dotted-line as a guide. Mr. Fruits can move back and forth, but he only hops a little in each direction with the use of the L and R trigger buttons. These controls take a little bit of getting used to, but after a while, they prove to be smooth and responsive.

Each level presents a wide variety of obstacles ranging from “barrel blasting” plants to angry purple squirrels. Momma Orange is the goal of each level, and she usually sits high in the tree that Mr. Fruits must climb. He must also collect fruit seeds along the way. When Mr. Fruits begins his climb, a timer begins to count down showing when Pedro will wake up and mount his attack. If the level is not cleared fast enough, Pedro the Skull will show up and slowly chase Mr. Fruits until he catches him, stripping him of all the seeds that he accumulated during his trip up the tree. Trust me, Pedro means business.

Family Tree is broken up into various “years,” each of which is divided into four seasons. Each season consists of a total of eight levels. The sprites and obstacles change their appearance depending on the season that you are in. This change, however, it purely cosmetic, as the mechanics of each level stays pretty much the same. After each set of eight levels, Mr. Fruits must transition to the next season by engaging with Pedro in a race to Momma Orange and her seeds. This event takes the place of boss battles, and can actually be a little challenging.

The childlike aesthetic of this game adds rather colorful flair to the gameplay. Family Tree’s hand-drawn animation is somewhat basic in design, but it complements the simplicity of the game itself. The color palette in this game is bright and lively, showing each of the seasons in the colors they are known for. If I didn’t know better, I would say that this game has a child’s touch, innocent and simple.

Family Tree
Score Breakdown:
Higher is better
(10/10 is perfect)

Game Score - 80%
Gameplay - 15/20
Graphics - 6/10
Sound - 8/10
Stability - 5/5
Controls - 3/5

Morality Score - 98%
Violence - 10/10
Language - 10/10
Sexual Content - 10/10
Occult/Supernatural - 9/10
Cultural/Moral/Ethical - 10/10

Simplicity, as it seems, also translates into ease of play. Once you get a hang of the controls for Mr. Fruits, it is actually quite easy for seasoned players to fly through the levels. Most of the obstacles and enemies are simply reused over and over again, so the game does not present a wide variety of gameplay. Every stage is pretty much the same; Mr. Fruits starts at the bottom of the tree and must hop to the top and rejoin Momma Orange. There are no “monkey wrenches” in this system; it is uniform, consistent, and predictable.

From what I can see, this game was made with children in mind. The gameplay is very simple and the mechanics do not allow for a great deal of concentration or thinking to navigate. Morally, Family Tree is as innocent as its name suggests. However, I did let my daughter play the game and she had one minor concern; Pedro is a little scary. It’s not that he is this monstrous skull that steals the happiness of children, he’s just creepy. Couple his creepiness with the timer heralding his arrival and you get an anxiety-laden experience that some children will shy away from.

Family Tree is a fun little novelty game that kids will love and parents will enjoy right alongside them. There is a multiplayer mode that allows for up to four players to battle each other in a vertical race to see who is better at navigating obstacles. Overall, Family Tree presents the Nintendo Switch with a fun little title that is best played in spurts. The hand-drawn graphics and child-like aesthetic keep this game interesting despite its rather repetitive gameplay. This game is a good addition to any family’s Switch catalog at a mere $7.99. Just look out for Pedro, because as my 8-year-old says, he’s really creepy.

About the Author

J.R. Sommerfeldt

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Christ Centered Gamer looks at video games from two view points. We analyze games on a secular level which will break down a game based on its graphics, sound, stability and overall gaming experience. If you’re concerned about the family friendliness of a game, we have a separate moral score which looks at violence, language, sexual content, occult references and other ethical issues.

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