Archive for March, 2014

The game is available in multiple platforms, and is one of the few that actually got released on the Windows Metro Modern UI, or whatever they call it these days.

It’s a nice casual game to play. Riding on the coattails of the cuteness of the lovable minions of the Despicable Me franchise, Gameloft has released the game on all of the major platforms including iOS, Android, Windows Phone and even on Windows 8.1.

That would be a good thing, except for the fact that its in-app purchases are priced ridiculously high. Parents beware. Lock down the in-app purchase permissions on your devices to avoid getting bill-shocked if you let your kids play this game.

Like every other freemium (I really hate this term) game out there, this one is free to download. Its mechanics is simple enough – you keep running while trying to dodge various obstacles. The objective is to run as far as you can get while collecting bananas, one of the currencies in the game. You get power-ups along the way to help you out in your run.

There are two types of virtual currencies used in-game, the aforementioned bananas, and tokens. You can collect bananas during runs. The tokens, you can get at most five in a day, if you’re lucky. The sure-fire way though, and what the game developer is banking on, is you shell out real money to buy the virtual tokens.

This is the devious part of the game mechanics. You’ll need a ridiculously high number of bananas to buy stuff, like upgrading your power-ups or buying the first three or so costumes. You’ll have to run not an insignificant number of times just to rack up enough bananas.

The tokens are mainly used for buying the more desirable costumes, switching to one of three environments (in the Windows version at least), and reviving your character.

Each costume, by the way, has a special embellishment, a special feature that gives a unique advantage when equipped. There is really no reason to charge any amount – virtual or otherwise – to change to some virtual environment you’ve already unlocked other than to milk as much as you can from your customers.

If you thought the banana stuff is already expensive enough, you’ll get a shock with the tokens.

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Consider this Dad costume, which costs 7,000 tokens to buy. You start off with maybe 50 free tokens. Even if you’re lucky and you play everyday, it will take you forever to gather that much tokens. Plus, you need to be careful not to hit that revive button that appears once you die, or else, bye-bye hard-earned tokens!

So your alternative, of course, is to buy them with real money. How much will it cost? A freaking lot.

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$50 for 7500 tokens. Enough to buy just one freaking costume. One. And this is how easy it is to run into serious money trouble if kids get to play these sort of games without them understanding that these cost real money and parents don’t reign in the in-app purchases.

So much for free.

This is why I really wish there was legislation that limits these game developers that abuse their customers. I hope that the investigation by UK’s Office of Fair Trading sets a good precedent.