Right now, the top game on the App Store stars none other than Felix Kjellberg. I took the game for a spin, and here's what I found.
PewDiePie: Legend of the Brofist is a $US4.99 mobile game where the big bad villain is...a barrel. Yes, you read that right. An evil barrel. To the average person, this might seem ridiculous. To fans, it will make total sense: Barrels have their very own Pewdiepie Wiki page,which explains how this inanimate object turned into the blonde YouTuber's "arch-nemesis" after playing through horror game Amnesia. Of course barrels make an appearance during the game, even if the result is pretty damn silly:
Really, I imagine that most of the game is aimed at hardcore Pewdiepie fans to begin with. They're the ones who will understand the inside jokes. They're the ones who will appreciate the cameos by other YouTube stars. For the rest of us, though, Brofist is a tougher sell.
If you watch gaming YouTube videos, you're probably familiar with that certain type of wacky video game that makes for great footage, regardless of what the commentator is actually saying. "YouTube fodder," some (unfairly) call it. We're talking stuff like Goat Simulator, Surgeon Simulator, physics games, and so on. We see games like this so often, they almost make their goofy charm look effortless. One of the most common criticisms I've seen is that many games are now engineered to look great while highlighted by a YouTuber, and in doing so, don't need to actually be good in order to be popular. I don't think this cynicism is warranted, and Pewdiepie's very own game is proof of that.
There's a certain point in the footage above, for example, where Pewdiepie is about to get wrecked by the eviiiiil barrel. In comes Markiplier to save the day with a fighter jet that he says he bought on the internet. OK, so far, kind of silly, but not that bad. Then you have to play through a shoot-em-up section where you're killing barrels (sure), ducks (makes sense), rainbow farting unicorns (huh?), UFOs (why?) and giant Orcas (wut?). If there is a logic to that madness, I don't know what it is. The game just kind of keeps going like this. Soon after the shoot-em-up section, you have to head to the North Pole because of reasons, and along the way you find a big-arse T-Rex. Because why not? I hate being this critical of something that's clearly not supposed to be serious, or perhaps is meant more for kids, but here we are.
There is stuff to like here, don't get me wrong. The pixel art is top-notch, and I appreciate the lack of in-app purchases, too. The platforming, while tough even on easy mode, feels pretty good on iOS; there's a lot of weight to your jumps. I really love the inclusion of Pewdiepie's pugs, which bravely fight alongside you -- and sometimes even sacrifice themselves to keep you alive. Cute! But man. I can't really get into the "lol so random" aspect of the game -- instead of being funny, it just falls flat for me. Legend of the Brofist is a tryhard of a game.