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For: iPhone   Also on: Android, iPad

The fast moving world of advertising

Product: FFFFF2P | Publisher: Elevate Entertainment | Format: iPhone | Genre: Platform | Players: 1 | Version: Europe | App version: 1.01
FFFFF2P iPhone, thumbnail 1
We can tolerate in-app advertising with a significant degree of understanding these days. Most smartphone players appreciate the benefits of being able to play games without dropping any dosh up front.

But FFFFF2P is probably the first time we've ever seen a game that actually makes a gameplay mechanic out of free-to-play in-game advertisements. It's genuinely bizarre, and really toys with your sentiments towards game ads.

Aggressive marketing

FFFFF2P should be immensely annoying, but somehow, remarkably, it isn't. Well, not overly.

The actual game revolves around crushing pop-up ads as they appear on the screen. Your wee pixelated pal has but three controls. Run left and right, and jump. To crush these offensive ads that are falling from the top of the screen, you need to land on them Mario Bros. style.

They arrive in different sizes, making some easier to squash than others. Crush the ad and it dispenses a few coins in a rather delicious send-up of web-based pay-per-click promotions.

Should an ad block fall on you, it's your character that gets crushed and it's game over. 

Click here and here and here and here and here and...

You'll die a lot in FFFFF2P. It's unforgiving, with rounds rarely lasting any longer than a minute. This isn't a problem in itself though. The game can be launched again quickly, so you can pound through rounds at a fair old lick.

The intentional irony behind FFFFF2P is that the game itself is laced with adverts. It plays so quickly that most of the time you'll have pressed one of the interstitial, full-screen ads before you even noticed it was there. This sends you jumping out to the App Store to browse the subject of the marketing campaign.

IAPs explained
The coins you collect can be spent on a host of upgrades, but if you want to fork out some cash they cost between 69p / 99c and £2.99 / $4.99.

None are particularly essential to the gameplay, though you've no hope of earning the 1 million coins needed to match the equivalent IAP.
Admittedly you can get right back to the game and start playing again super fast, but even the staunchest advert avoider can expect to click a good few campaigns.

In some ways it's actually a lot more bearable in FFFFF2P because the game is essentially making fun of itself, and it's still entertaining in its own ultra high-speed way.

The ads don't interrupt gameplay, only jumping under your thumbs between levels. Still, it's likely a lot of people will quickly tire of being tricked into activating them.

It's hard not to raise a dry smile at the approach the developer has taken, however, and at least the micro-game that FFFFF2P's joke is built around is entertaining.

Whether the advertisers will be pleased at paying for a lot of clicks from punters that never even read their message is another story.

But it's a notion that's at the back of your mind each time you inadvertently jump out to the web browser or App Store.
Reviewer photo
Spanner Spencer | 10 July 2014
An amusing lampooning of modern game monetisation methods that actually enhances the ultra-fast, ultra-simple gameplay, and entertains through wry humour as much as engaging gameplay.
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