These days, any game that leaves an emotional impact on the player (in a smart way) is ridiculed as being pretentious. By definition, the label is accurate, but typically falls under a negative connotation. It's understandable that some gamers just don't care much for the approach to story-telling, but I don't mind it when done well. Turns out, Pretentious Game [Free] is one of those examples. At least this game isn't hiding from what it is; and what it is, is a short but sweet pretentious little game.

Pretentious is a 2D puzzle platformer that tells a story about love and loss, using simple square pixels as protagonists and poetic lines of dialogue. It's not reinventing the wheel, as far as its premise goes, nor is its minute-to-minute gameplay as engaging as the story it weaves, but in the end… I left satisfied with my experience.

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Your pixel protagonist only moves and jumps, and unfortunately does so via virtual controls. It’s not that Pretentious' controls don't work - they work just fine - but I like to see games on the iOS platform utilize its potential. Also, platforming has its challenges, which I welcome, but are short-lived by the length of the game - which I finished in nearly 30 minutes. The music more than makes up for it though, if you're into the pretentiously melodic tones of ivory keys.

Pretentious uses its poetic lines of dialogue as context clues for its often clever puzzles. Phrases like, "I needed to find a way" intuitively hint at the obvious while increasingly growing more obscure.  Only a few of these puzzles provided much of a challenge to solve, but the impression this games gives is to be easily digestible by more than the 'core' puzzle fans.

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I really like Pretentious Game. Sure, it currently promises more content than the 3 chapters that are currently playable (the 1st chapter being free), and its lack of flash makes the game feel a bit bare-boned. So what? I never found that distracted me more than what I came away with - even after only playing such a short experience  I, instead, found this endearing and the story it weaves to be compelling and quite a wonderful surprise.

There’s something for a specific type of gamer here, one who enjoys something a tad different and…well, pretentious. If that sounds like you, well go ahead and give this a shot. Pretentious is another example of a game that is more of an experience than something you keep coming back to. It has its surprises, and left me hoping Keybol continues weaving the story they started. It’s also free to try, so it’s worth a look if you think it may be something you’d like.

Now, can I get back to growing this neck-beard and drinking PBR?

TouchArcade Rating

StarStarStarStarNone
  • Lazer Kat

    Beautiful packaging
    Interesting dialogue

    Uninspired gameplay
    Boring puzzles

    3/5

    • Goggles789

      I agree with you on this one. Uninspired is a great word to describe this.

  • TheQiwiMan

    I got to meet Keybol at Casual Connect San Francisco 2013, he's a super nice guy, very quiet and kind. I was a fan of the first Pretentious Game, so trying to play this right in front of him made me instantly nervous! :-D Great game!

  • cuw

    Looks a lot like Thomas Was Alone on the PC

  • Dailion Ando

    A lot of games like this in Flash Portal, hard to see a main article about this game....

  • Duuude

    When you write "... the length of the game - which I finished in nearly 30 minutes", you surely mean the whole three chapters took you this "long" ?

    Because I finished the first - free - chapter in WAY unter 10 minutes without even trying.
    "The Room" for instance ist rather short, but its presentation is fantastic and makes up for it. Same goes for a lot of other titles.

    But THAT simple and THAT short?
    I would not pay a single cent for the other two chapters as is.

    • free2play4eva

      This is why the freemium model works :)

  • Spore Productions

    Could it be this game is just a stab at Jonathan Blow and Braid?

Pretentious Game Reviewed by Jeffrey deMelo on . Rating: 4