Remember when Google made a big deal of running Bastion in Chrome? They made the opposite of that fuss with Mini Ninjas, Io Interactives’s cute little NinjSim. I mean, I only noticed when I was poking around the Chrome store for a browser add-on. I clicked it expecting a webbified version of the game, but as far as I can tell it’s not been fiddled with in the slightest. In less than a minute, I was playing the first level of the game, full screen, with no obvious technical issues. Oh, apart from the bizarre payment model.
The huffing and puffing is done at Coreonline, which Eidos have quietly launched. The first level is free to play, and the next three unlock if you register for the service. Further progress is purchased per level using CorePoints. They sell at £1 per 100, and each level costs either 50p with boss fights costing 15p. 14 levels and 4 boss fights is a total of £7.60.
While that’s less than Steam’s current £10, and the convenience and delivery is slick (on broadband at least), it’s not a precedent I feel comfortable with. Splitting a game into discreet little chunks, niggling over 15p for a boss fight? I know there’s a whole new world of payment options to consider, and that this is likely, hopefully, a test to see what people will pay for, but gating access to a game until you pay for each level… it’s the bastard child of the arcade and digital distribution. Just sell the whole game, Eidos. Separating out boss fights. comes across as hideously penny-pinching. At least it’s not 15p a go.
Anyway, if Eidos have such a low value of the game that they’re happy to let you play bits for change, I’m sure they won’t mind me helping you save a little bit of cash. It’s only 15p.