I downloaded an odd game yesterday, figuring it would be something silly; something light. I opened it up and this video started. I watched, completely entranced. I nearly cried. God damn, Chipotle advergame. Seriously.
The song is "Pure Imagination," a haunting arrangement recorded by Fiona Apple specifically for this game. The game and video are the work of Moonbot Studios, creators of the equally gorgeous Numberlys.
Obviously, much more effort was put into Chipotle Scarecrow — that's the game's name — than your standard advergame. The quality lends weight to the game's call-to-arms: Put down that processed, genetically -altered, abused food and eat something fresh and wholesome.
It can get a little heavy-handed.
To Chipotle's credit, the game steers clear of outright references to the restaurant chain. The lead character's journey takes from grimy factory to farm to big city, where he opens a stand to sell some sort of fresh, tortilla-based food in a basket, but Chipotle is never explicitly mentioned. Players can, however, earn a free (BOGO) burrito if they score enough stars. I probably should have just titled the post "Free Burritos."
The game proper is split into four stages. Players start in a grimy factory, lugging boxes.
Then they rescue animals from the big city.
On the farm, they plant fresh crops.
Finally, players serve burritos to a populace hungry for fresh food.
The four game modes are pretty enough, and while I am not all that fond of gyroscopic movement controls, they're handled here quite well. It's just that, despite strains of "Pure Imagination" seeping into every level, the gameplay never quite lives up to the promise of that opening video.
There aren't many games that could.