I put up with a lot of nonsense as a mobile gamer, from arbitrary timers and energy meters to pay-to-win in-app purchases. Selling faster load times might just be the worst.
Last week Kyle Ward, founder and CEO of developer Step Revolution poked us about his company's game ReRave Plus on Twitter.
— Kyle A Ward (@kyleaward) October 23, 2015
There was no love for ReRave or its follow-up because I hadn't been aware of it. I should have been — the original game launched in 2011 and has since gotten a follow-up and been made into arcade machines — but it slipped through the cracks.
The situation was quickly remedied via free iTunes download. I immediately liked what I saw — a large music library featuring tons of free songs from artists I'm not familiar with but in styles I really dig. The rhythm-tapping gameplay ranges from simple to insane, depending on the difficulty chosen. Easy to pick up, difficult to master, that sort of thing.
I chose a song, picked my difficulty and pushed start.
What the hell? Ten seconds of load time, with text indicating I could "Add EXTENDED ACCESS for FAST LOAD."
No. Just no. This is not a thing we do.
I could handle ads. I understand that licensing music for a rhythm game can cost money (though I imagine some more obscure artists give their songs freely for the exposure). I have no problem with some of the songs being premium and requiring spending points with purchased currency to play. Hell, I'd even be fine with having a limited number of plays tied to an energy meter with the option to purchase quick refills — well, I'd hate it, but not as much as this.
What the developers are telling me with this countdown timer and that message is that these songs could load faster, but they don't. They game is intentionally crippled in a completely obnoxious way, pending payment.
I told the developers via Twitter that I felt paying for faster load times was insane.
— ReRave Dev (@ReRaveDev) October 24, 2015
Yes, it is unreasonable. Having 60 per cent of the game initially unlocked is pretty amazing, and Extended Access — a $19.46 purchase — does give limited access to the entire music library, exclusive content and the "Wild" difficulty level.
But that's not what's being advertised every time I start a song and wait.
Some might say "But it's only ten seconds", to which I say "Then why bother?" If every song simply had a ten second loading screen with a link to the artists' web presence on it, I would simply have taken it for a courtesy to the performer. That would be reasonable. This is not.
What makes this all so frustrating is ReRave Plus is exactly my sort of game.
I'd just rather not feel insulted every time I start a new song.