It's not everyday that you play a game that creates such an emotional mix. Then again, it's not everyday you play a game based on Fukushima with spinning radiation symbols, lasar perimeters, and aliens.
The game, 4Fukushima, is from first-time Hungarian game developer, Wandarin Interactive. The developers are apparently offering over half the game's proceeds to the Japanese earthquake victims.
That's a noble deed. And if the game developers are holding steady to that, good for them. That sort of generosity makes me happy. It should make you happy, too. The notion that games can not only entertain, but "do good" is a powerful one.
At the beginning of the game's trailer, a title screen reads: "The creators of this game wish to support Fukushima, Japan. We offer a part of the income to the victims of the terrible earthquake and tsunami."
Wandarian Interactive seems earnest and sensitive. Which is why the game's art work and "story" is all the more baffling.
In 4Fukushima, you must protect a nuclear reactor from an alien invasion. Failing to do so causes it to explode. I hope this isn't the developers' intention, but this trivialises the Fukushima reactors — as if aliens destroyed them, not forces of nature.
Even with the nuclear reactor bit, that connection would not have been made if this game was titled anything but 4Fukushima.
Then, there are spinning radiation marks, and the game's title screen which shows a destroyed, shadowy plant in flames with the game's title written in what's supposed to be Japanese-style lettering. Then there's an icon to "Share Your Power Plant" on Facebook. I... don't want to share my power plant on Facebook.
The whole affair comes off as somewhat tacky.
The gameplay itself is interesting enough, though. It's what the developers call "Wall Defense" — you are protecting the power plant with lasar beams. Using the beams drains the plant's energy. So you must timing when you using the beams, or the aliens will attack the plant. I liked what I played, but I couldn't help but wonder: Were the spinning radiation marks necessary?