You’re bored. You’ve gone home for Christmas, and you’re already missing campus. Your Mum won’t leave you alone. You’re lonely, because Warwick breaks up stupidly early and loads of your friends aren’t back. And there are only so many DNA test reveals you can watch on The Jeremy Kyle Show before the perverse pleasure turns to pain, and you want to emigrate as far away from Britain as physically possible. Don’t worry, The Boar is here to help you, help yourself.
The festive season is obviously an expensive time of year. The last night of term is always an expensive one, with everyone either blowing through fifteen jagerbombs because they’re celebrating their first terms accomplishments or, more likely, they’re trying to temporarily forget the fact they’ve spent the past ten weeks blithely ignoring every bit of non-compulsory work and instead heroically watching everything there is to physically watch on 4od. We’ve all been there.
Financial concerns aren’t helped, of course, by the small matter of Xmas presents to buy for all and sundry. Trust me, Lidl’s range of ‘Madame Glamour’ perfume just won’t cut the mustard with your mother. In this tough economic climate, it can be difficult to allocate funds for gaming. Hopefully, then, the ‘Free Game of the Week’ section will prove useful over the barren holidays. Think of this article as an essential economic aid over the frozen, financial wasteland that is Christmas, a kind of journalistic equivalent to Martin Lewis wearing nothing but a Santa hat pushing a games controller in your direction with a loving glance and cheeky wink. Thanks Martin.
Hopefully that self-description smacked of pretension to you, because that allows me to smoothly segue into the main point of this article: a review of Pretentious Game, brought to you by Bulkypix Games and available on the App Store. Immediately after opening this app, you know that some real pretentious shit is about to go down. The game has a wonderful, minimalistic design, and the opening screen of the game displays nothing but the title in a simple font, whilst a civilized piano tinkles away in the background.
Pretentious Game is a love story, and the main aim of the game is a simple one. All that is required of you is to reunite your character with their lover. But of course, this is a game which celebrates the art of being pretentious, so the characters are simply squares, elementary representations of the innocence and purity of love (or something like that), one coloured blue, the other pink. You control the blue square across a series of platformer-style levels, in which you use just three virtual buttons – left, right and up – in order to reach pinky. That’s it. Just reach the pink square with the blue square to clear the level (still a better love story than Twilight, LMAO).
Naturally, the levels start off easily, with the first simply requiring you to dart across the screen with no hazards blocking your path. But gradually new gameplay dynamics have you jumping across gaps, bouncing over red triangles symbolizing fire and making use of invisible, mid-air platforms. It’s your basic platforming fare, very reminiscent of something like a classic Mario game, but nicely produced; the controls are smooth and responsive and the physics handle well.
Although the gameplay is engaging, the presentation is the real star of the show here. The graphics comprise simply of coloured cubes and triangles giving the game a crisp, uncluttered look which is really smart and attractive. Meanwhile, each level features a cryptic romantic phrase on screen, stuff like ‘I will find a way’ or ‘I can wait, love is patient’. These sentences serve to offer subtle clues as to how to proceed to the next level, whilst also strengthening the tender theme of the game. Plus the last screen of the first chapter of the game, with its poignant and heartbreaking romantic revelation, is at least ten times superior to that bit in 500 Days of Summer when Zooey Deschanel dumps Joseph Gordon-Levitt.
Despite all the positives, it would be nice to see a few more features encouraging people to replay Pretentious Game. There’s no way to change the difficulty of the game for starters, so there’s absolutely no reward in going back and playing the same levels again. Adding in an Angry Birds style feature of replaying in order to satisfy certain objectives, maybe a time-limit, for example, would have been an appreciated addition. Furthermore, it’s worth bearing in mind that the game is only free for the first chapter (it costs a whopping 69p to download the following two). Despite these minor gripes, however, Pretentious Game is a really fun way to spend a bus journey or the half an hour that you’d set aside for essay writing, and its smart sense of self-aware humour is more than deserving of a smile.
Do yourself a favour, then, and download the game to alleviate some of your holiday boredom whilst taking good care of that £2.50 you have in your current spending’s account. With its refined, Einaudi-esque soundtrack, minimalistic visuals and layered love story, the game is about as pretentious as an arts student wearing horn-rimmed glasses, sipping a skinny latte, with a moleskine notebook propped open on a Curiositea table. But with its easy to grasp gameplay and sense of humour, it’s also as fun as a drunken night out at the Terrace Bar.[divider]