Developers can't always stop piracy. But they can try to have fun with it, at least.
Noodlecake Studios recently launched a mobile shoot-em-up called Shooting Stars!. It costs 2.99. Unless, of course, you pirate it. Then it's free. Thing is, Noodlecake actually uploaded the pirated version to torrent sites themselves — and the game comes with a funny surprise.
Pirates will find that that, once they reach the third boss in Shooting Stars!, they will be greeted by a character named "Daft Premium." That character looks like this guy, on the left here.
Daft Premium cannot be beat. Daft Premium is invincible, in fact!
"Firstly players must defeat a wave of bosses that have an obscene amount of health," Noodlecake Studios explained in a blog post. "If they do manage to defeat them, then the final boss approaches who has unlimited health."
Once the pirates are defeated — which is inevitable — the game encourages them to seek out the legit copy of the game. It's kind of hilarious.
So, why go through all this trouble? Aside from the fact that it's a fun joke, Noodlecake Studios has been hit with piracy pretty hard in the past. They released a game called Rocketcat Games on Android a year ago, and they claim that a whopping 89% of all installations on that platform were pirated. And those are just the installations that they could track — the number could be higher. It's kind of absurd! So, in an effort to preempt the inevitable with their latest game, they decided to throw a wrench in there and actually control what the piracy of their latest game looks like.
"We don't think this is an answer to piracy, or that it will be a big motivator to suddenly stop cracking games but instead, we are embracing it," Noodlecake Studios wrote.
"And hey, if one or two players decide to throw us a couple bucks in the process, then we call that a win."