South Park games have never shied away from touchy subjects, like when Fractured But Whole based game difficulty on the color of the player’s skin. In the gaming industry, companies have been quick to bury gamers under cash-grabbing microtransactions, and no platform has been hit so heavily as mobile games. Now that South Park: Phone Destroyer has launched for iOS and Android devices, it only makes sense that the game would ridicule its own unabashed use of microtransactions.
When players launch the South Park: Phone Destroyer application, they’re greeted with a familiar sight. The television show’s white text on a black background blinks into view, but instead of the show’s usual rigmarole, the text focuses on microtransactions. According to the text, the game itself shouldn’t be played by anyone solely due to the game’s practice of charging real money to procure in-app purchases.
Gamers can take a look at the screen below:
It’s worth noting that Phone Destroyer offers content ranging from $2.99 all the way to $69.99, so there’s a very real possibility that many gamers will laugh at the introductory text and proceed to splash some cash regardless. The game is a free to play collectible card battle real-time strategy title, with both Ubisoft and developer RedLynx hoping that the game’s humor and a cast of returning TV favorites will be enough to draw in the masses and spark some spending.
Most major television network shows have cut into the mobile gaming market (The Simpsons, Family Guy, and Futurama all have their own respective applications) and follow a similar sales model. While it’s quite possible to collect all the cards without spending cash, in most cases the drop rates are rare enough that most gamers feel pressured to purchase in-app content to get the full experience.
For its part, Ubisoft did stress that the game was free-to-play, and no in-game content was locked behind a paywall. Gamers may have to grind away to get the same goodies a $69.99 pile of cash could unlock instantly, but at the very least the content isn’t locked firmly behind in-app purchases. One can only hope that the top-notch cards won’t take absurdly long to unlock, lest gamers have another Gears of War 4 grinding issue on their hands.
South Park: Phone Destroyer is available now on Android and iOS devices.