Minion Rush and Everything Wrong with Mobile Gaming

Minion Rush features amazingly entertaining and addictive gameplay. However, everything about the game is designed to encourage you to part with your money, and lots of it at that. Minion Rush, in my view, is a perfect example of everything wrong with mobile gaming and the pay to win philosophy that infects so many games these days. The developers of this application, Gamesloft, are greedy, and I’ll tell you why.

Some of my fondest memories from my childhood were going into Glasgow with some birthday or Christmas money, I’d make my way to the games shops eager to buy a brand new game for my Super Nintendo (hey, it was and still is the best console of all time). I’d get home, rip open the packaging and get playing. That was it, a simple yet effective business model don’t you agree? I go out and buy a game, paying the cost for the game upfront, then I play it, all of it, until my heart is content.

How things have changed with the gaming industry. These days it seems rare that you can simply purchase a game and have access to the whole game without ‘optional’ downloadable content, pay to play mechanics or pay to win perks being shoved in your face. Some games even charge you money just to progress through more levels, such as Candy Crush. What happened to just simply purchasing a game and having access to all of it?

On the face of it, Minion Rush is a fantastic little game. It captures the humour of the minions with enough fresh ideas to make it different from the usual Temple Run scenario. There are two currencies in the game, bananas and tokens, both of which can be earned without real money, in small amounts.

The game offers much in the way of purchasable content, from new costumes and taunts, to upgrades and perks, these are all bought using tokens. You can also purchase upgrades using bananas, which are relatively easy to get, however imagine my surprise when I found that I could only upgrade my minions or features so much before you have to upgrade them using tokens.

This wouldn’t be so bad, and could be forgivable if tokens were reasonably obtainable or priced. However, let me give you an example. There is a perk called the minion launcher, which can be upgraded 10 times before it is maxed out. The first upgrade costs 200 tokens, conveniently you can buy exactly 200 tokens from the store for £1.49, doesn’t seem so bad right? Bear in mind however that this is just the first upgrade of 10, and each upgrade costs more than the previous one. Costumes can cost up to 2000 tokens, in real money terms this would cost you £10.99!

Minion Rush also utilises an awful pay to win model of gameplay. They run competitions every week in which the winners get prizes, sometimes ranging upwards of 600 tokens, however in order to stand even the slightest chance of winning these prizes you already have to have spent thousands of tokens on purchasing perks, upgrades and costumes which offer pay to win advantages. If Gamesloft actually cared about making these competitions fair, they would ensure that perks do not work during competition runs, so that everybody is on a level playing field. Then it would be about skill, and not simply who has purchased the most perks.

So while Minion Rush does offer fun gameplay, Gamesloft have clearly shown that gameplay isn’t their primary concern, they just want to squeeze your wallet dry.

I say bring back the days where you would simply pay for a game and that would be the end of it.