In the 1960’s, renowned animator Chuck Jones directed a cartoon about the romance between a dot and a line, called simply, The Dot and the Line. It even won an Academy Award for Best Animated Short. That may have been the inspiration behind Pretentious Game, which is about a blue square trying to reach the pink square he loves, no matter what obstacles lay between them. It’s available for iOS and Android, but reviewed on iPad here. But what makes the game so pretentious? You’ll have to read on to find out.
The game is a simple 2-D platform jumping challenge with minimalist graphics. You control a blue square and finish the stage when you touch the pink square. Jump to avoid obstacles like pits or fire (which is depicted with red triangles). Somewhere on the stage is a quote, presumably from the blue square to the pink square. These words can be rather poetic but they sometimes give clues as to how to beat the level as well. For instance, in the level where the blue square says, “even if I have to drag myself to you” there is no way to reach the pink square by conventional means. But in that stage, you can tap the square and physically drag it to the goal. Clever, yet kind of counter-intuitive.
What made the game pretentious to me was that the free-to-play demo was very, very short. Then the game has the gall to ask you to pay for the rest. Granted, it’s only 99 cents, but there are other higher cost payment options, presumably to support the team that made this game. While I can appreciate them trying to be poetic and artsy, the game itself is just way too simple to pay money for. I’d rather it be free-to-play entirely, even if you have to deal with ads. Plus, the counter-intuitiveness of some of the levels doesn’t help either.
Violence is minimal due to the simplistic graphics, but reading skill is helpful every now and then. Younger gamers may get frustrated at some of the tougher levels, though. Parents may want to supervise when they get to the payment options at the end of the demo.