Appletell reviews Pillowfight Girls for iPhone and iPod touch

Sections: iDevice Apps, iPhone, iPhone/iPod touch/iPad, iPod touch, Reviews

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Category: Fighting
Seller: I-play
Compatibility: iPhone, iPod Touch and iPad
Requirements: iPhone OS 3.0 or later.
File Size: 42MB
Price: $0.99
Age Rating: 17+ (Frequent/Intense Mature/Suggestive Themes, Infrequent/Mild Cartoon or Fantasy Violence)

I’m trying to remember what life was like this morning, waking up and not knowing there was an iPhone game called “Pillowfight Girls.” It’s difficult, because it seems like there always has been such a game, and yet, all the evidence points to the fact that it was only released a few days ago.

pillowfight special attack

But should I believe the evidence, or my own feelings, which tell me that there must always have been a game which opens with the scrolling text:

In a world…
Where girls face off in brutal duels…
With nothing more than a fluffy pillow…

This game may have always existed, perhaps as the premise for cave paintings…which is about the level of the game itself, alas, both in terms of animation and storytelling.

pillowfight combat

For Pillowfight Girls, in which you—yes indeedy—;battle one-on-one, Mortal Kombat-style, with a roster of women who look like they’re getting ready for a typical college Halloween party, with sexy Catholic Schoolgirl, Sexy Yoga Instructor, Sexy Goth Little Red (Black) Riding Hood, etc., all bashing the bejeezus out of each other with, as you might expect, pillows.

Hey, great idea, I’m sold. Except that the game is less complex than the classic twenty-year-old games that inspired it. The storyline is that each character battles her way (through the same five stages) to battle “Denisa.” And that’s it. There are no individual endings, no sort of whacked-out rationale for why any of this is going on (within the game, I mean; I understand the rationale for creating the game itself). Developers! This is operatic material here! Don’t go for the quick buck! Spend a little time developing your world! Your players want an emotional hook for their characters, so they care about the woman dressed as a cowgirl getting KO’d by a heart-shaped pillow.

pillowfight victory

Okay, yes, I’m stupid for expecting the game to have a premise, an internal story arc. Fine. But it’s lacking as a fighting game as well. How lacking? I beat it, and I’m the worst fighting game player in the world. Beyond their ethnicity and outfits, there’s no real difference between the fighters, they’re all the same speed, they all have the same amount of power and the same attacks. The AI never learns, and you can beat every opponent by simply crouching and attacking. That’s it. Down + A.

The game features three unlockable characters, who, again, have the exact same attacks, and once you beat the game in Arcade mode with all six characters you can unlock Expert mode, which, again, you can beat on every level simply by holding Down + A. The iTunes page for the game lists a “Campaign Mode” where you can unlock more outfits, but that didn’t make it into the final version.

I know I sound like I’m being ironic here, but I really wish the developers, with this wonderfully absurd premise as a vehicle, had put the pedal to the floor and gunned it off the ramp (creatively speaking), either in terms of working out some insane backstory for the game, or in giving the fighters some differences beyond how they displayed their pulchritude.

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