Magnum: Pleasure Hunt
I think it's about time that I admit that I just don't understand viral marketing. For instance, if I decide to use an advergame to sell a certain chocolate-covered ice cream treat that just so happened to share a name with a brand of prophylactic, I probably wouldn't call said game Magnum: Pleasure Hunt. Then again, I wouldn't know why a jump and run platformer based around racing through a myriad selection of websites would be considered an apropos format for an ice cream bar in the first place. But hey, I do know a good time when I see it, and Lowe Brindfors and B-Reel have certainly given Unilever their money's worth when it comes to making a commercial that's hilarious to play.
You'll want to make sure your windows are maximized and your speakers are turned on for this game. Using the [arrow keys] to move, and the [spacebar] to jump, you speed through an overview of the internet, interacting with various hot-spots along the way. All the while, your goal is to collect the bonbons which, my sources assure me, are the taste-tastic secret ingredient of Magnum Temptation ice cream bars. Occasionally, there is a break from the platforming for a brief vehicle section or cut-scene. Make haste, grab the bonbons, and invite your friends to beat your high score on facebook. This last feature is one added purely in the spirit of friendly competition and has nothing to do with further spreading a corporate message. Share and Enjoy, CONSUMER_69101!
Magnum: Pleasure Hunt has both a high concept and high production values, and it pays off. I always find it visually interesting to be in the control of photo-realistic characters, and this game is notable in breaking the fourth-computer screen in ways that I've only seen once before. Incredibly gimmicky? Yup, but like the song goes, you gotta have a gimmick to be a star. Certainly I would want to see more internet locales that I, as an American, would be familiar with, but I can understand that the focus is on the European market. Thus, the majority are Unilever partnership sites or clear pastiches. No matter. The various screens are packed with stylish interactions, a kickin' soundtrack by Plan8, and a lot of cute hot-spot touches.
The game's biggest downfall is in the mechanics, which come off as more than a little stiff. Moving your lady avatar doesn't flow as well as it should and the jumping physics just feel off entirely. What's more, in the screens that let you jump on the textual and pictoral elements to reach bonbons, the platform detection is frankly shoddy. Perhaps part of this stiffness is inherent to translating photo-realism to the platform genre, but I can't help but thing that it will be something that prevents it from becoming a Subservient Chicken level viral marketing classic.
In the end, the fact that it is 75% an effective game makes it 100% an effective ad. If it were in fact possible to purchase the product in the US, I'd be sold as A. I want more people to be paid to make games like this, and B. I like ice cream. I think you'll be quite satisfied with Magnum Pleasure Hunt, just like I'm going to be quite satisfied with the Dilly Bar I'm now going to purchase. Later!