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Words by: Catherine Lewis
If you've spent any time online in the past year or so, I have no doubt that you'll have been bombarded with some really bizarre ads for some awful looking mobile games. I'm also sure that 99% of you reading this will have done what anyone should have, and made a mental note to never spend any of your brain cells on them.
Hi, I'm the 1%, and I no longer have any brain cells. I decided to try these games to see if they're anything like the ads for them would suggest, although I'm not sure why you'd even want them to be. Here's what I found.
The ads for this game took the internet by storm back in late 2019, when we were presented with what appeared to be an incredibly dramatic story of an unlucky woman with a very eventful love life, and interesting experiences with a washing machine. Understandably, people wanted to know if the game had anything to do with its bizarre series of advertisements. Upon loading the game up and being greeted with its genuinely pretty visuals, I was pleasantly surprised to see that it actually does.
The gameplay is just a basic puzzle game - completing a level will earn you a star, which you use to complete tasks and progress the story. You need stars for absolutely every minor point of progression though, even stuff as minimal as talking to a character, and as you'd expect, you only have so many lives to play with before having to wait for them to regenerate. I didn't manage to encounter any of the juiciests parts of the story in my time with the game, but it will be there if you have the willpower to see it through.
Raid: Shadow Legends
Before we get started, this article is... not sponsored by Raid: Shadow Legends. And yes, I know I've just put it under the "good" header, but the bar was on the floor for these games, so you'll have to cut me some slack here.
It's always annoying sitting through the sponsorships for this game on YouTube videos (even though it's nice to know your favourite content creators are getting that coin), so what's the game actually like when you're not being paid to promote it? Shockingly, it's actually not awful (despite crashing my phone a few times). The visuals are pretty ugly, but the gameplay definitely could be worse - each character has different skills to use and you do actually have to think through what you're doing in order to win, and the difficulty scales fairly steadily throughout the campaign levels.
Despite being one of the better games on this list, I can't really say that I experienced epic fights using awesome champions like those sponsorships would suggest. So unless you want to support your favourite influencers, or for some reason really want to get that horrific Ninja character, I'd give this one a pass.
Look, it's your crush's house! Do you: A) Knock and say hi, or B) BREAK IN AND HIDE UNDER THEIR BED? Episode is one of the main examples of these weird choice based story games - you play as a self-insert character, and the dialogue and action options you choose will influence the outcome of the story.
First off, the writing in these stories is absolutely atrocious - everything is absolutely littered with "OMG"s and "LOL"s, which gets grating very quickly. As for the actual concept, it does what it says on the tin, but the interesting and outlandish choices that are shown in the ads are locked behind paywalls. You have to pay for "premium" choices with in-game currency, so you're basically forced to dip into your wallet if you want the story to play out in an interesting way, which feels incredibly predatory due to it clearly trying to appeal to a younger audience. There might still be some value here for someone, but chances are, if you're reading this...probably not.
Evony: The King's Return
I don't know about you, but every other video on YouTube, I'm slapped in the face with an ad showing a man trapped in a puzzle with sliding metal poles, hoping to get to his treasure without it being poured away into lava. Well, here's that game, and the actual thing was full of surprises, to say the very least.
After choosing a kingdom to side with, you're greeted with a city builder-esque screen of the kingdom you chose. Those crappy looking puzzles are actually the rewards in this game, if you can believe it. You have to upgrade your kingdom (which takes real world time, as you'd expect) to travel to the Mysterious Puzzle - and yes, that is what it's actually called.
If the ads were indicative of anything, it was the awful, but hilarious, voice acting. Not only were all the voice clips of vastly varying quality (some sounded like they'd been recorded underwater) but the tone and voices were just so bizarre. I picked the Japanese kingdom, but all of the Japanese characters spoke in overly-emphasised British accents, which was an interesting choice.
The puzzles played out basically exactly as they were shown in the ads, so if that appeals to you for some reason, they are there, and they...work? There really isn't that much to praise about this one, but the voice acting did make me laugh, so there's that.
Before we get into the reality behind Level 1 Crook VS Level 100 Boss, I'm not exaggerating when I say that I honestly think this is the worst game I've ever played, so that's an achievement, I guess? The ads for this game already looked terrible, but they at least seemed to promise some kind of GTA-esque experience - fighting people on the street, stealing cars, you know the drill.
Mafia City is, in actual fact, a very ugly city builder type game, with an interface that, try as I might, I still can't understand. You tap on things to build them, upgrade them, use them, and after some time has passed, tasks are complete. Combat exists, but barely. This also works like any of the other timed tasks - you have absolutely no involvement in the outcome of the fights.
For some reason, the masterminds behind this game also thought it would be a good idea to implement a text chat function for everyone in the game. And you can't turn it off. This goes about as well as you'd imagine - there were several people on the hunt for a "sexy gf".
To close, just, please don't put yourself through the experience of this one. I was left wishing that it had played like the ads looked, and that's saying something. I did discover that the username "BigCoolManBoss" was already taken though, which amused me way more than it should have. Whoever you are, BigCoolManBoss, I hope you're having more fun in this game than I did.
Featured Image Credit: Tactile Games, Plarium, Yotta Games
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