The one thing you need to know about me is that I am a huge Hunger Games fan. I have read all books, and the minute I found out that the Hunger Games movie was going to become a reality, I was ecstatic. Needless to say, I can’t wait to see the Hunger Games movie as it premieres this weekend.
What better way to kick off a premiere weekend than with the movie’s own iOS application? That’s right, Lions Gate Films did create a teaser game for the movie called Hunger Games: Girl on Fire. Will this application be worthy of carrying the Hunger Games title? You’ll see after the break.
Let the Games Begin
Hunger Games: Girl on Fire is a simple side-scroller game. Armed with Katniss’s signature weapon, the bow and arrow, you run through the dangerous woods of District 12 – which is where Katniss lives, for those who are unfamiliar with the novel.
Acceleration is automatic but is very, very fast (which is to be expected when leaving the boundaries of District 12 is a punishable offense). By swiping up and down, Katniss will be able to jump up and down between layers of the woods, which will be important as you progress through the game.
So what is the bow and arrow for, then? Well, the run back to District 12 is not the easiest trip (or the safest, for that matter). Katniss will need to fight off tracker jackers as well as other Capitol muttations that are symbolized by diamond-looking objects. These muttations pose as a huge threat to Katniss. By tapping in their direction, a lethal arrow will be shot at the muttations and you can progress through the game.
Contact with tracker jackers and muttations will send Katniss into a hallucinogenic state for about thirty seconds; if you are stung again within this period you will have to either quit or restart the game. As you progress through the game, the tracker jackers and muttations will become more and more of a problem.
These enemies will start to shoot out toxic fireballs that leave the same effect as direct contact with the tracker jackers or muttations themselves. The only way to dodge them is by swiping up and down to move between layers.
As you can tell, gameplay is very simple; however, it is quite addictive because it’s not an easy game. I found my self playing this game several rounds at a time because of the difficulty of this game.
Design Fit for the Capitol
If you could not already tell from the screenshots, this is a 16-bit game. Personally, I love 16-bit games because they offer an awesome, retro feel to games. Plus, I believe that this style adds a little bit of much-needed novelty to the game; otherwise, the game could have been very dark and gloomy.
On a similar note, this app was designed was to look like Katniss was in danger. This idea was also pulled off very well. The woods look dark, gloomy, scary — the way that Katniss had imagined the woods at a young age. Moreover, the muttations blend in with the environment, which adds to the unsettling nature of the woods.
Perhaps the best part of this application is the way that the developers decided to depict a hallucinogenic state. The screen shifts between black and white overlays, which is hard on the eyes and mind alike. This genuinely seemed to simulate a state of disorientation that I never would have thought could be pulled off in a game of any sort.
I’m not going to lie — my initial reaction to this game was that it was a game for the Hunger Games — it couldn’t get much cooler than that! It nearly slipped my mind that this was a teaser game. And let me tell you, teaser games serve a completely different purpose to any other type of game out there.
Essentially, this game serves as a way to gain hype for the upcoming movie. That being said, there is a whole page within the application which is devoted to the movie itself. From this page you can watch the trailer, visit the website, and buy tickets to the movie. Heck, you can even buy the soundtrack (which, after listening to it on Rdio, is quite good) from within the application.
The point is that this app is just meant to be another money maker, even though the application itself is free. However, I can’t hold this against Lions Gate as they are not the only studio that does this.
Hunger Games: Girl on Fire is a very fun and addictive side-scroller game. The campaign is simple but provides quite the challenge. The theme of the movie is thoroughly within the application, which would make any fan very happy. Better yet, the 16-bit graphics add a fun, indie-game look which I always appreciate, especially when they are done as well as they were in this application.
Beneath the facade of this seemingly wonderful game is the truth: that the game’s sole purpose is to add hype to the movie itself. Though I did expect this to start with (it is a teaser game), it’s still not the best thing to see throughout an application – the only consolation here being that the game is free. However, it’s definitely worth checking out for fans of The Hunger Games, and fans of retro side-scrollers!