Mario Party makes Nintendo a boatload of money at every installment, which means it also spawns a lot of clones. Since Nintendo’s franchise is only available on their consoles, there’s a giant Mario Party-sized hole from other platforms’ library. Multiple other big franchises like Crash Bandicoot, Rayman and Sonic tried to fill that void to varying degrees of success. This time, it’s an iconic comic character trying to make the jump into the world of party games: it’s Garfield, and this is XboxEra’s review for Garfield Lasagna Party.
Ain’t no party like a lasagna party
So how closely does Garfield’s venture into the world of party games mimic Nintendo’s timeless franchise? Very much, I’d say. The main game mode is Lasagna Race, which is an interactive board game where the four players, played by live players or the AI, take the roles of iconic characters Garfield, Odie, Nermal and Arlene in a quest to collect more lasagna than their rivals. If you ever played Mario Party, you know what to expect: players take turn throwing the dice to move on the board, they can use power-ups to change the values on other players’ throws, and then various funky actions happen depending on where the player lands on the board – be it simply being pushed to another block, a boost in coins or lasagna count, or even random cards that can change the course of the match.
At the end of every round, the four players have to play a randomly selected minigame out of a solid roster of 32 against each other. The locations of all these games are quite iconic for fans of the orange cat’s comics: the top of the wooden fence, Jon’s house, Liz the veterinarian’s office, the pizza parlor and so on. The actual minigames are about as classic as they get gameplay-wise, with usually one or two buttons needed in a selection of simple games such as having to throw pizzas in the oven from a distance, having to push each other off while rolling on giant balls of snow, or stealing lasagna from plates in the garden without being discovered by Jon. These short games are rather basic but polished enough to be fun.
Lords of the board
While most of the minigames are simple in design, a handful actually show some decent technical framework in the game. A few minigames in fact put the players in full control of a 3D environment, being able to move around in third person view and interact with the surroundings using the classic twin stick control method seen in modern three-dimensional titles. The rules remain simple, but it’s nice to see a bit more complexity from to time. As for the board itself, it’s not the most inspired of the bunch, with very few truly surprising events on it, but it gets the job done.
If I said board, singular, is because Garfield Lasagna Party has a single board unfortunately. Sure it’s replayable enough, but surely there should have been more variety? The other game modes don’t really help the situation either, since there’s only two other modes: one allows the gang to select any minigame to play freely, the other is a minigame competition where the game selects the activities casually. So much like the Lasagna Race, except without the board game part. There’s also no online play, with only local play against people on the same console or three difficulties of the AI, and there’s no extra characters, skins, or anything to unlock. A single board, 32 minigames, 4 characters. What you see is what you get.
I hate mondays
Keeping the review short because the game itself doesn’t have a lot of meat to it – with a launch price of 39.99USD/39,99 EUR/33.49GBP, having a single board, 4 characters, 32 minigames, no unlocks whatsoever, no special modes and most importantly no online play, it’s extremely difficult to recommend this game right now. For shame, too, because it’s far from an original or exciting game experience, but the Lasagna Race is chaotic enough and most of the minigames are competently made and fun. The game’s creators also seem to respect the source material, with a lot of iconic locations lovingly recreated, the character animations generally on point and with music and sounds fitting for the IP. But no amount of Garfield love can hide the game’s shockingly low amount of content, making this lasagna party end way too soon.
|Reviewed on||Xbox Series X|
|Available on||Xbox Series X|S, Xbox One, PlayStation 5, PlayStation 4, PC, Nintendo Switch|
|Release Date||10th November 2022|
|Rated||ESRB E for Everyone, PEGI 3|