PETA (People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals) is back with another video game parody in the form of Pokémon: Black and Blue. This free-to-play browser-based propaganda hopes to demonize the Pokémon franchise and help open the world’s eyes to animal abuse. Does this knock-off have what it takes to be a truly entertaining browser game?
The sprites in this game are bastardizations of characters we know and love; seeing them beaten by psychotic humans and Pokémon alike is enough to make even the manliest of men shed a single tear. The overworld is littered with blood covered trees, barbed wire fences, and bear traps giving a generally depressing vibe to it all.
In battles, the flavor of the modern Pokémon generation is captured with the basic character animations and gradient backgrounds. The game even goes so far as to include a well done HUD, and pays attention to minor details like the gender icons.
The only real flaw in this section is the horrible attack animation. For some attacks, the Pokémon are only able to teleport around for melee attacks and the animation of the special attacks are extremely lackluster.
The musical tracks are surprisingly well done and are quite convincing as official Pokémon tunes. From the opening theme to the battles, fans of the Pokémon series can find themselves bobbing their heads to these repetitive, but catchy tracks.
The sound effects however are complete garbage. It seems like PETA was not even trying with their attack sounds, relying heavily on generic stock impact and laser effects.
I must commend PETA for their attention to detail and including complex mechanics like stats and type advantages, but the fights are extremely unbalanced. On one hand, your party’s damage-dealing moves deliver a huge amount of damage to your human opponents. On the other hand, your enemies deal very little damage. You can complete the entire game without a Pokémon fainting once. Regardless, this is a simplistic game that can get boring fast, just by being too easy.
As a whole, PETA got the atmosphere and tone of the Pokémon franchise all-wrong. The Pokémon are able to talk, the trainers are grossly misrepresented, and the moral of the series - love and friend making - is completely forgotten in favor of a general sense that the series promotes animal abuse and is tricking children into getting their parents to buy Pokémon products. However, the canon evidence has shown time and time again that the moral of the entire series is that the relationship between man and Pokémon is a strong one and both deeply care for and protect the other. In another sense, it is to love others, even if you are from different species.
Pokémon: Black and Blue is an easy-to-beat game with no branching paths. Through your journey, you will find chests that contain “goodies”, a desktop background, a video of animals being abused, and printable trading cards. However, you can unlock all of these in a single play through if you choose not to ignore them.
Believe it or not, the developers really did their research on the Pokémon franchise and worked in some genuinely funny jokes such as a reference to the twist ending to Pokémon: Black and White and, the addition of the Pokémon that the internet loves to hate, Mudkip. These shout-outs and the sheer absurdity of the game’s premise and execution might actually bring some returning players back.
All in all, PETA’s take on Pokémon is perhaps their best parody game to date, which is not saying much. It's the equivalent of a bedazzled pile of cow shit. It's not as bad to look at, but it's still cow shit.
This game is not going to change anyone's mind about this beloved franchise and I am going to continue attempting to hit every cat I see with my car. However, I honestly think that this is a game people should play once. Its humor will give fans of the Pokémon series a couple of laughs, and it is always fun to see the newest bat-shit-insane creation that PETA throws out there.
(3s are problematic. Any potential it did have is lost from poor execution or design. Any entertainment found within is sporadic.)
|Drake McWhorter is ScrewAttack.com's editor of Hard News and the weekly video podcast, "SideScrollers". He also is the official video game trailer manager. Outside of video games, he is an avid fan of anime, tabletop gaming, voice acting, and is a connoisseur of the Internet.|
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