I’m a big fan of Xbox Live games. Even more so, when they release a free one. So initially I was really excited about the release of Bug Village as a free Xbox Live game for Windows Phone. Who doesn’t like to earn a couple of free achievements, right?
Well, free, in this case, is relative. While the game is initially free, it’s no fun playing without buying (for real money) some coins to speed things up. Otherwise the game play is just super slow and super boring. You have to give your ants (and later on bees) jobs to do and then wait around until they are done with them. If you aren’t there to feed them and collect the payoff in time, they may be close to starvation and their work was in vain.
You are started off with a couple of coins and as long as you can spend them to speed things up, it’s kind of fun to play. I even got one (admittedly rather lousy) achievement out of it. Looking at the remaining achievements, though, I have my doubts that I will ever be able to get them. They seem to require a large investment of time and probably coins to get. Hence, I won’t be playing anymore. To be perfectly frank, the game description now contains a disclaimer that real money is required for some features. But still I feel kind of cheated. I don’t mind if a game costs a little, but making it free and then charging you to actually make the game fun to play, feels wrong to me.
The good (albeit ugly)
In fact, there is a game that I just paid money to play and that game is DOOM. Yep, that is DOOM as in the 1993 first-person shooter game which has been re-published on Xbox LIVE Arcade last month. I don’t usually play violent games (I prefer strategy games instead), but DOOM is a classic (Wikipedia calls it a “landmark game”) and for just 400 Microsoft points (roughly 5 EUR), I figured why not. Also, it doesn’t really look violent by today’s standards as its 90s-era graphics are so unrealistic.
I am normally terrible at shooters or in fact any game that requires quick, precise movements, but after a day of doing not much else I have actually earned a few achievements. This includes one for finishing the first levels (Episode I) on medium difficulty a.k.a. Hurt Me Plenty. Normally, I am happy when I get through a a game on the lowest difficulty and possible resorting to cheats here and there. Though to be perfectly honest, I did have to make heavy use of the load saved game feature at a few key junctures in the game and the time it took me to complete the levels is embarrassingly long. I did make for a fun weekend, even though all my bad gaming habits from when I was a teenager have returned: loosing track of time, playing games instead of doing things I had planned on doing (like going running after more than a week of no physical exercise) et cetera, et cetera.