A couple years ago, I pledged $58 to a Kickstarter project by Peter Molyneux's "22 Cans" so they could complete a new game called Godus. It was to be inspired by the game Populous, which is one of my favorite computer games of all time. In it, you are playing a "god" who uses their ever-escalating abilities to control the lives of your in-game "followers."
At first, things were good. 22 Cans provided regular updates, often videos with Peter Molyneux himself. As the weeks turned into months, I was quite pleased to follow along with their progress, and thought everything was coming along beautifully. When the beta was released, I played around with it for a while... but didn't have time to devote to something that was still pretty rough. Eventually I deleted the game and thought I'd wait until it was finished.
But it hasn;t been finished. They're still working on it.
Nevertheless, I wanted to see what was happening with the $58 I paid, so I downloaded the Mac and iPhone versions to see what was happening.
As expected, the game looks beautiful. I love the design aesthetic, and am very impressed with how things are working...
The game is also kind of touching, as using your god powers can have terrible consequences for your followers... like when you destroy somebody's home so you can clear the land for bigger and better things...
Things eventually turn to shit.
Because Peter Molyneux and 22 Cans aren't creating a complete game. They're building a half-baked piece of shit that contains "in-game purchases." Yes, the game is free to download (thanks to the money I and a lot of other people donated) but, in order to get the most out of it, you have to pay real money to get ahead. Dubbed "freemium" games, these horrendous blights on gamers are fucking awful because you don't own the whole game. In order to play the way it was meant to be played, you have to keep paying for it. And paying and paying and paying...
In Godus you're buying gems. The gems can then be exchanged for things like "follower flags" that increase the happiness of your followers. Because if your followers aren't happy, they'll leave. You can also buy things you need to keep the game moving... like wheat. Because if you don't buy it, you'll be waiting days to make progress and keep playing.
I'm sure Molyneux will argue that you don't have to keep paying extra money... but he'd be full of shit. Because any time you try to do anything where you don't have enough power, Godus will literally keep wagging an invitation for you to buy more gems in the corner of the screen...
And it's annoying as shit, as you might imagine.
So how do I feel after paying $58 for a complete game and getting this bullshit?
Betrayed. Lied to. And very, very angry.
I don't buy "freemium" games. They're moronic crap and I have no interest in being jerked around like this. If 22 Cans had been honest from the beginning with their intent to nickel-and-dime their supporters, I would have never donated the money.
So lesson learned. Guess I won't be Kickstarting games any more.
Jesus, what assholes.
UPDATE: And it just keeps getting better. Godus requires you to be online while playing. If you don't have internet access, you don't play. If you do have internet access, but Godus servers are down, you don't play either...
It's almost comical just how shitty this app is. I've reset my iPhone more times since installing Godus than I have in all the years since I bought my first iPhone. So much for Apple's Editor Choice awards meaning a damn thing.