Making a name for yourself in the mobile-games market is sometimes difficult, and getting your project noticed means the world. Well, the new iOS puzzle-title Skweek is now on my radar, but for entirely the wrong reason.
This showed up in my inbox, alerting me to Skweek's existence the same way a spider on my wall might: "NEWS: Furry. Loves Pink. Not Gay — The journey of a metrosexual alien."
That subject line did encourage me to open the email, so it served its purpose, but not the one I think the sender intended. Rather than downloading a cute, Kirby-esque iOS puzzle game, I spent several minutes trying to understand why all the press material for it both mentions that Skweek isn't gay for living in a pink world and how "totally okay" it would be if he was.
Skweek is the orange fluff ball pictured at the beginning of this article. He looks like a million other cutesy, harmless characters, yet the people marking his game went out of their way to inform us that we can feel totally okay knowing that he doesn't get it on with other male fluff balls when he isn't trying to save his world. I might be weird, but I really don't think Skweek's sexuality matters to anyone.
Skweek is a fairly simple puzzle game, not a thoughtful examination of the main character's struggle for carving a unique personal identity.
I might have been able to ignore Skweek's existence if I hadn't read the full press release, and later confirmed that the information provided was copied verbatim from the iOS App Store description. Whenever you download Skweek, this is the blurb that greets you (this is exactly how it appears in the store):
In A Galaxy Just Around the Corner… Just the Other Day…
SkweekLand is a peaceful place. It always has been. They see the World in pink over there. With reason. The World is pink over there. Or at least it used to be…
Shock and awe. Some hostile invader spaceship comes out of nowhere and disrupts the skies with a powerful laser-beam, contaminating the whole SkweekLand planet with a deadly Skweekicide. Rapidly, the surface turns blue. Skweekettes are bound to perish from exposure to ugliness. The entire species is endangered.
Skweek slips on his sneakers and grabs his fire-bubble gun, vowing to paint the entire SkweekLand back into pink! Not that he is gay or anything. Not that it'd be wrong or anything. Skweek just so happens to be a metrosexual hero-ish type of alien is all.
You rush across the grids to reclaim the planet, sliding your way through the mazes against the clock. Watch out for the numerous tricky monsters. Beware trapped tiles of all kinds. Use the myriad of warps, bonuses, power-ups and subterfuges to your advantage. There's a multitude of diverse action-packed, nerve-wrecking, brain-challenging levels wrapped into this fast-paced puzzle that grows on you like the fur on Skweek's back when he doesn't trim it… wildly.
I get hundreds of emails a day from various developers hoping I'll check out their hot new iOS game. Standing out in a sea of "boy, I sure hope you'll play this" subject lines isn't always the best, especially if you're adding unnecessary controversy to your project.
In the course of a single email, Skweek turned from a cutesy puzzler into a heterosexual hairball's fight against genocide. That's a bit excessive, right? Especially since none of that information actually matters once you play the game.
GamesBeat 2014 — VentureBeat’s sixth annual event on disruption in the video game market — is coming up on Sept 15-16 in San Francisco. Purchase one of the first 50 tickets and save $400!