Wednesday, October 15, 2008


OK, yeah, I know, another two weeks between reviews. "I just didn't have time" probably doesn't cut it as an excuse, but whatever. I'll make it up to you all by posting a special extra review this weekend. Maybe.

Anyway, onto the review, and you know, sometimes this job is hard as hell, and other times the Internet does all the work for me. Bailout was definitely easier to find than usual, as our good friends at Addicting Games were happy to wax lyrical about how awful it is.

Personally, I give the developers credit for being so quick on the draw. It's been, what, a month since anyone first suggested the big bailout to save the US economy? Well done to No Can Win on beating everybody else to the punch, but I think it doesn't take long to see just why this title has been faring so poorly among gamers.

As the tutorial screen so helpfully informs us, the objective is to guide your flying piggy bank around with the mouse, collecting money and cutting the parachutes of wealthy business fat cats. Should any escape, it's game over.

Simple, really. Simple and effective. Sure, the concept sounds silly, but no more ridiculous than many of the other games clogging up the information superhighway.

As I began to play, I couldn't really see what the big problem was. I mean, it's hardly a difficult game - getting to grips with the controls basically requires that you can use a mouse. Sure, it may not look very pretty, but some of the best online games look remarkably simple. The key to any good game isn't so much the visuals as its playability and knack for hooking a gamer in.

I'm not too sure why the business executives are all skydiving between skyscrapers, or why I want to send them plummeting to their unavoidable doom, but I went with it. The sound effects of wailing bureaucrats and the whirring blades of helicopters were a nice touch, too.

So, as I played and kept playing, I began to realise just what it might be that's caused so much dislike for Bailout. As a time waster, it's not bad, but after about thirty seconds I couldn't help but feel like I was missing something. And as the game continued, I began to feel more and more disappointed.

It didn't take me too long to see just what the problem was: Bailout is boring.

Now you're probably thinking, "Big Mean, you lovable rapscallion, you! Surely you must be mistaken! There's no way a game featuring a flying pig, businessmen hanging out of helicopters and skydiving executives could ever be boring!" But I'm afraid on this occasion I am right and you, dear reader, are wrong - dead wrong!

Bailout holds the attention for a remarkably short amount of time, and when it begins to get dull you quickly start to resent the fact that it's so easy. You start to hate it for allowing you to play for so long. Sure, you could just stop playing and let the game end, but you're not one of those people, are you? No, you're not! So you keep playing, hating both the game and yourself for your inability to just stop!

Eventually you don't catch someone in time and the game mercifully ends. And you tell yourself that you'll never play it again, because really, there's no point. This is not a game that requires repeated playing. There's no goal other than collecting as much money as possible and getting your name on a scoreboard - hardly incentive to keep coming back.

Bailout, then - not terrible, just tedious. And to be quite frank, that's almost as bad.

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