Developers can’t always stop piracy. But they can try to have fun with it, at least.
Noodlecake Studios recently launched a mobile shoot-em-up called Shooting Stars!. It costs 2.99. Unless, of course, you pirate it. Then it’s free. Thing is, Noodlecake actually uploaded the pirated version to torrent sites themselves—and the game comes with a funny surprise.
Pirates will find that that, once they reach the third boss in Shooting Stars!, they will be greeted by a character named “Premium Funk.” That character looks like this guy, on the left here.
Premium Funk cannot be beat. Premium Funk is invincible, in fact!
“Firstly players must defeat a wave of bosses that have an obscene amount of health,” Noodlecake Studios explained in a blog post. “If they do manage to defeat them, then the final boss approaches who has unlimited health.”
Once the pirates are defeated—which is inevitable—the game encourages them to seek out the legit copy of the game. It’s kind of hilarious.
So, why go through all this trouble? Aside from the fact that it’s a fun joke, Noodlecake Studios has been hit with piracy pretty hard in the past. They published a game called Wayward Souls on Android a year ago, and they claim that a whopping 89% of all installations on that platform were pirated. And those are just the installations that they could track—the number could be higher. It’s kind of absurd! So, in an effort to preempt the inevitable with their latest game, they decided to throw a wrench in there and actually control what the piracy of their latest game looks like.
“We don’t think this is an answer to piracy, or that it will be a big motivator to suddenly stop cracking games but instead, we are embracing it,” Noodlecake Studios wrote.
“And hey, if one or two players decide to throw us a couple bucks in the process, then we call that a win.”