Rovio’s Angry Birds Go kart racing game will launch worldwide on December 11, but users in New Zealand can already try it as part of an iOS soft launch. This early release gave Pocket Gamer a chance to look at the way the game uses (and abuses) in-app purchases, and the outlook is worrying gamers.
The website rounded up all the ways you can (some would say must) spend money in Rovio’s Angry Birds themed racer, including an “absurdly expensive” $99 purchase for a Big Bang Special Edition kart.
As it often happens with IAP-supported games, the problem with in-app purchases is that they tend to become a necessity, if you don’t want to spend endless hours grinding your way through the same boring levels. In ABG!, this means racing through almost identical events on very similar tracks to accumulate enough coins to upgrade your kart. Of course, upgrading is needed if you want to keep up with competitors in later events.
Besides coins, the game uses gems as a currency, which you earn in small quantities for winning various events. There’s also the option to buy gems with real money, and convert them into coins to secure upgrades.
There’s also an energy system in place, and the “opportunity” to pay with real money to “re-energize” your character when it gets tired. You can only play five races before your bird gets tired, and after that you can either wait, choose a different bird to race (if you have one), or pay for an energy boost.
New cars cost real money, as do additional playing modes. And then there’s the option to scan physical Hasbro toys to unlock additional cars in the game.
All in all, Rovio appears to be taking IAP-based monetization to the extreme with Angry Birds Go!. Of course, there’s nothing wrong for developers to expect money for their hard work, but when raking in a bigger profit is more important than the gameplay, it makes for a bad experience for everyone involved.