McBank: The Puzzle of Money and Freedom
Money, or freedom. Which will you choose? McBank: The Puzzle of Money and Freedom uses stark, humorous imagery wrapped around a series of quick puzzles that play on the theme of the uneven distribution of wealth and power in modern society. Even though most of the world's money is controlled by a relative few people, the masses continue to support them with their purchases and actions. McBank forces you to to choose with each level you complete, and the results aren't always pretty.
Venture through the still streets of the city as you take in the dystopian sights: signs that tell you how the latest fashions are good because they're expensive, advertisements that tout products you already have but are going to buy anyway, etc. There's no shortage of interesting things to look at, but in order to play the game, you'll need to tap on the glowing arrows. There, you're presented with a simple cluster of tiles and can swap any two tiles in a column or row. Maneuver everything in groups to make them disappear, don't leave any tiles stranded, and accomplish all of this within the moves limit listed below.
After you solve a level you can make a choice: freedom or control. The former sets the people in the scene free, turning its black and white streets into a lively world of color. The latter replaces McBank's influence with your own, earning you some cash but leaving all the people trapped under a new master. But hey, you've gotta buy a fancy car and/or suit and/or other useless item. Who cares about them as long as you can amass your own wealth, right?
McBank is looking to make a statement, but it's not trying to hit you over the head with it. Its theme is well-integrated and even goes so far as to color the in-app purchase system that allows you to buy a completely useless badge just to make yourself feel better. There are five endings to experience, each one determined by your actions in the game. If a little dystopian dourness is your thing, McBank is a fantastic combination of puzzle meets narrative art.
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NOTE: This game was played and reviewed on the iPad 3. Game was available in the North American market at the time of publication, but may not be available in other territories. Please see individual app market pages for purchasing info.