"You can now get Edgar Farts in the Pants menu." I'm not sure there's any statement that can better sum up my expectations of PewDiePie's Legend Of The Brofist [official site]. The once mobile game, now PC too, is a classic-style arcade game, surely reflecting an era of gaming far, far older than the very oldest of the YouTube star's fans, and boy does it contain farts. But... it's actually not that bad. Here's wot I think:
Now, I'm an immature 38 year old. I find farts funny. But I like to think my fart humour has a level of sophistication that requires at least context. When someone farts in a church, that's extremely funny. When a fart sounds a bit like a tune on a trumpet, that's hilarious. But just a fart noise in a bedroom - no, I'm more refined than that. And the word "fart" just on its own doesn't quite reach the bar for me. Because I'm no longer a Cub Scout.
I'm not going to pretend to understand PewDiePie, because I'm old, and I recently came to the realisation that this is my generation's source of bewilderment. My parents stared in confusion as I fell about laughing to Vic Reeve's Big Night Out and listened to Pizzicato 5, their parents were horrified at their raucous rock and roll music, their parents disgusted by the overtly ankle-revealing dance moves. For me, it's YouTube personalities, and it takes everything in me not to put the word in quote marks. It's fine - I don't get it, but it's not for me, and I think it's important to be okay with that. Even though it's obviously not okay and everyone under the age of 20 has clearly lost their mind.
So it is that the phenomenon of this Swedish-born neighbour of Alec's, Felix Arvid Ulf Kjellberg, is a very rich man for bleating inanely into a camera while having a pretty face. In my day we made do with podcasts. He's had over 10 billion (with a B) views on YouTube, is more popular than Rhianna, and to be enormously fair, he's made the careers of a good number of indie game developers just by mentioning their games. And now he's made his own.
Featuring PDP himself, in the form of a sprite that bears not even a passing resemblance, he must discover why some evil barrels are attacking him and seemingly destroying his views on YouTube. These are probably in-jokes I don't have the remaining lifespan to uncover. I do know that he lives with his girlfriend, another YTer Marzia Bisognin and some pugs, and they quickly appear in the game, uh, buried beneath piles of clothes. You rush about the house, digging through more piles, while jumping on barrels' heads, until you're done. Then there's a car-roof-top leaping chase sequence, a side-scrolling schmup via little planes, followed by a traditional Mario-ish stretch of platform jumping. And you know what? It's all fine! The schmup sequence is even enjoyable. And then boy does it get weird - an abandoned underground station populated by various mutated creatures, and flickering Slenderman-likes who destroy you with their darkness.
Ensuring every box is checked, there's a slippy-slidey ice world, dungeons, levels in the sky, and so on. And with this PC version, co-op's added in, so long as there are two of you sat at the same machine.
There's a shark called Shannon, exploding cows, lunatic seals - I assume these might all mean things to "Bros", as PDP so elegantly calls his followers. If they are, I can only imagine that their appearances would be pleasant surprises. I know this, because I remember when the splendid Strong Bad's Cool Game For Attractive People came out, and it made so, SO many references to Homestar Runner cartoons and characters, and that's a web thing I adored (and glory be, am adoring again now it's come back to life). Many other people show up and become playable when you unlock them with gathered coins (do not fear - all in-game - no in-game purchases here), and again I assume they are all familiar to dedicated viewers. One of them has a pink moustache - imagine such a thing.
But the reality is, it's a decent fun platformer. Very classic, not a single original idea, but old ideas executed reasonably well. It does seem to possess an ability I've yet to see from any other game. It can crash Steam. It takes down the whole platform when it crashes. I looked on the forums to see if there was anyone else reporting this, but unfortunately all that's there are dozens of pages of arseholes declaring this the end times because some chap they don't know has released a game about seventeen times better than most of the dross that flops in every day.
They're simply wrong. The game's fine. Not stunning, not a must buy, but a perfectly respectable platform game with what I can only assume are gazillions of pleasing in-references for the True Follower. It's hard not to grimace at "the Pants menu", and fart noises in the soundtrack are grating, but I stopped noticing after a bit. The "Bros" thing, and the possibly not aware incessant reference to "fisting" these bros, is clearly the brand. But underneath it all is a sweet little game, that takes its cues from 16bit gaming in many right ways.