How many times have you found yourself immersed in the little world of a whole new game, forgetting to eat and shower and do your homework, only to be brought cruelly back to reality by a “blip!” and a message that covers half the screen, alerting you to the fact that you just earned a trophy to add to your Public Nerd Profile for merely completing the first level? “I’m sorry, I didn’t meant to interrupt,” the trophy says in his blip-talk. “Just kidding! I thought I’d remind you that you are playing a game, in case you’re not already aware. Look how shiny I am!”
And how often have you run into the proverbial achievement whore in online games? You know, the guy who wants everybody to help him with that obscure achievement that is impossible to earn unless you’re actually going out of your way to earn said achievement? It’s a headache, but hey, those 10 achievement points go a long way in coddling one’s ego on the Internet.
Today’s find is a cute parody of the bordering-on-ridiculous achievement-hoarding facet of gamer culture that we are all becoming far too familiar with. Achievement Unlocked 2 would most likely be the silliest platformer you’ve ever played… if it wasn’t so clever. For some reason, you play as a rather bouncy blue elephant that farts a variety of baked goods and traverses rooms filled with obstacles such as spikes, teleporters, piano keys, and slot machines.
The game points out the ludicrousness of many other games’ achievement systems by rewarding you for every little thing you can think of. You’ll earn a handful of amusingly-titled achievements as soon as you enter the game, for feats such as “Using the Internet” and “Loading the Level”. Further achievements can then be received by, for example, facing a certain direction or not dying for ten seconds.
It slightly defeats its own purpose by making the achievement hunt really, really fun – you might spend up to half an hour farming as many of the 250 achievements as you can, and for what reason? There’s great enjoyment to be found in earning achievements for doing the stupidest things, but besides that, the achievements system in Achievement Unlocked 2 is like that in all other games – a somewhat contrived way of introducing extra challenge that doesn’t contribute much else otherwise.
Fortunately, this is easily forgotten once you come across the game’s lampooning of the endless game expansion packs that populate the shelves at EB Games. Using the gold coins that you’ve collected with your happy elephant avatar, you are encouraged to buy “expansion packs” that unlock further levels in the game, as well as (predictably) their related achievements. Each expansion pack has a witty movie-style poster, replete with critic quotes. “I couldn’t get into the beta without buying this,” sulks one critic.
With the unending stream of cookie-cutter titles that currently saturate the gaming scene, something like Achievement Unlocked 2, with its light-hearted, postmodern-inspired touch, is a crisp change of pace. This will probably cheer up anyone who’s growing jaded with the state of games, and if not, it’ll still make for an enjoyable afternoon. Other smart games in this spirit worth checking out include Progress Quest and the iPhone’s Godville.