Thank you so much to eastasiasoft for providing a review code
Family Tree is a cute and colorful 2D platformer that has arrived exclusively on Nintendo Switch. From a first glance, it looks to be a title suited towards all types of players. However, does the game’s simplistic nature hurt the overall experience? Let’s find out
You play as Mr and Ms. Fruit who one night after tucking their children away from bed experience an absolute nightmare. The Evil Skull Pedro has sucked away all of the Fruit Family kids into a portal and now they’re spread all across the forest. It’s up to Mr and Ms. Fruit to save their children by climbing to the top of every tree and rescuing their young ones.
Besides the initial cutscene, there’s not a whole lot more to the story. This was clearly meant as a lighthearted game and does not try to engross you with its story. It’s there and while it doesn’t add much it also doesn’t take away from the game at all.
Family Tree is a 2D platformer mixed with pinball-style elements. The game’s broken up into over 100 different levels in two different level formats. The majority of Family Tree’s levels are played as a vertical platformer where your goal is to ascend a tree and make it to the endpoint. Along the way you’re mission is to gather as much fruit as possible, because your poor children have been turned into regular fruit.
Every level sees you jumping launching yourself in the air to reach further up the tree. How far you jump and what location you’ll jump to is all shown via an indicator that shows you where you will land. You can also use the R and L bumpers to move in a certain direction while in the air. You can ricochet off walls run and bounce on top of objects as well. The main method of transportation is cannons which you can jump into and blast your way across the level with. There are a few other elements that are added in every now such as enemies and different bounce pads.
Family Tree is a high-score driven game centered around collecting everything possible. For every fruit, you collect you will gain points towards your high-score. There’s also a timer that will count down in every level, so the faster you complete a level the higher the score you’ll receive. Make sure your timer doesn’t run out though or else Pedro will appear and cause you to have to restart the level. Your timer’s also decreased by jumping into enemies. Thankfully, you can defeat enemies by landing directly on top of them.
Throughout the game’s 100+ levels a tally is kept that shows what percentage of the Fruit Family kids you’ve rescued. For every specific percentage milestone, you unlock new abilities. Abilities range from slower enemies, invulnerability, and changing your regular jump into a big jump. It’s always nice to see some incentives and encourage players to collect as many items as possible.
The levels are broken up into 4 different environments each one being one of the seasons, summer, spring, fall and winter. There are multiple levels in each season and once you reach the end of the seasons you’ll return back to summer and restart on the next year. As you progress through levels the trees will start to get higher and add in more obstacles. Even then, however, a level will usually only take you a minute or less to complete
Once you’re ready to enter a new season the gameplay will change and you’ll enter a horizontal platforming level. The Evil Skull Pedro will start to chase you across the level and your goal is to make it to the endpoint before he does, so you can move onto the next level. If he’s able to get ahead of you at any time during the level you’ll fall through the platforms and have to restart.
Family Tree does offer up additional options for those looking to keep themselves entertained. There’s a bunch of achievements to unlock for performing specific tasks. If you have a few friends you can get them together to enjoy some 4 player local co-op. In Endless Climb mode, you can race friends and see who comes out on top by out jumping them and collecting fruit along the way.
Family Tree is a cute and simple platformer that sets the bar of entry low so that all types of players can enjoy it. Unfortunately, its also the game’s simplicity that holds it back. The gameplay is too easy for any veteran of the platforming genre to enjoy for long periods of time. It’s very endearing at first, but the gameplay never evolves enough to make you feel really engaged.
The controls are also very touchy and can be very frustrating when trying to make precise movements. This isn’t a bad game by any means and the right crowd (like families) will find Family Tree to be a lovely experience. However, for many, less casual players Family Tree doesn’t do enough to draw them in.
Family Tree has a colorfully animated visual design that pops right out at you. Everything feels like it was taken straight out of a children’s book and I mean that in a positive way. The enemy designs along with the environments are really cute as well. My issue with the presentation was with the level designs. Besides the trees growing bigger and changing around the obstacle placements they don’t differentiate from one another. There are a few new elements thrown in every now and then, but they don’t do enough to make each level feel different enough from the last. The levels do change based on season, but once again all the seasonal levels look very similar to one another.
The soundtrack is probably what stands out the most about this game. The title screen soundtrack is a rap about the game’s premise and it’s absolutely hilarious. Many may think rap does not mix well with a cute, family-friendly game, but I beg to differ.
I can happily report I had no technical issue during my playthrough of Family Tree.
Family Tree definitely has some room for improvement. The gameplay never evolves to be something truly spectacular along with the elements in the levels which once again don’t differ enough from one another. All that being said this is an adorable game with a ton of levels and if you want to 100% complete each one of them it will definitely take you some time. There’s definitely a solid level of charm here and the ability to play endless mode with up to 4 players really solidifies the game as a “fun for the whole family” experience. With its budget price of less than $10, you’re getting a nice game that’s missing a few elements to make it a great game.
Cute & Charming Visuals
Tons of Levels & Bonus Levels
Local 4 Player Endless Mode
Lots of Achievements & Tons of Items to Collect
Gameplay Never Evolves
Might be Too Easy For Less Casual Players
Level Designs Don’t Add Enough Interesting Elements