Friday, June 9, 2023

Bold Moves+ (Apple Arcade)


DISCLAIMER: Rage-playing games is a bad habit. There are a bajillion good games out there that you could be spending time on. That said, if you have Apple Arcade and are of a rage-playing mindset, great news! Bold Moves+ just came out!

Let’s start fight off the bat. Bold Moves+ is a cross between a bog-standard Candy Crush clone Match 3 and Wheel of Fortune.

Sometimes, a gem has a letter in it, and if you match that gem, it’s like guess ing a letter in a Wheel of Fortune puzzle. But there’s no penalty for matching a letter that isn’t in the puzzle. When you know the puzzle, solve it by very slowly selecting letters from an on-screen keyboard. That’s it. That’s the game. Levels have score targets for one/two/three stars. Beat levels, collect pointless digital goods, etcetera. You know the drill  


The whole game is fuckin’ self-help, fuckin’ Deepak Chopra, fuckin’ affimrationy, fuckin’ white woman yoga essential oils on your butthole bullshit. Now, if this stuff does it for you, that’s fine. But much like religion, if they do it for you, don’t engage me in conversation about it, don't try to convince me I should be into it too, and don’t make a mobile game about it.

Oh, and to make sure you don’t just cheese the whole thing by solving the puzzle just by guessing letters, the Solve button is almost always locked behind a set of match-3 goals (clear 60 red gems, etc.). Which removes the one bit of “skill” the game added in and turns your score largely into a luck-fest.

There is a very unhealthy pleasure in realizing what the puzzle is saying and throwing up in your mouth a little. There is a perverse emergent game mechanic where certain words common to this genre throw off the standard expected letter frequency charts. I mean, “V”. It’s in live, love, believe, alive… if this game had any more V in it it’d give birth to a baby with a lizard tongue. (WHERE MY OLD-ASS READERS AT?!)

The most horrifying part of the game, though, is the + at the end. When an Apple Arcade game has a + at the end, that means it’s a game that used to be / still is on the App Store. Sometimes it’s a game that cost money and is now free. Sometimes it’s a game that’s been brought back and updated to run on newer hardware. And sometimes it’s a freemium game that’s had the in-app purchases removed, and, if you’re lucky, had the economy tweaked so that the pain points intended to make you spend money have been removed. I don’t know if Bold Words had pain points because it is preternaturally easy, but I know just from how it’s structured you could definitely get in-app purchases for it. Which means a lot of sage-scented candle and jade vaginal egg money got diverted into this thing.

Anyway, if you want to be enpissed off by butterflies and flowers, spend an hour with Bold Words_.  

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