I didn't expect to like YouTube star PewDiePie's first game, but it's surprisingly good




Felix "PewDiePie" Kjellberg in his natural habitat, playing video games while a camera provides an extreme close-up of his face.

If you're one of the millions among us weened on YouTube and swipe to unlock, the name "PewDiePie" is synonymous with online celebrity. If you're an ornery 30-year-old like me, he's "that guy who makes loud noises on YouTube while playing video games." 

While I'm sure Felix "PewDiePie" Kjellberg is a delightful person and have no reason to believe otherwise, his act is not my cup of tea. I'm an ornery old man, remember?

I only say this to preface my largely positive feelings on PewDiePie's breakthrough iPhone game, "PewDiePie: Legend of the Brofist." I did not expect to like this game. 

Spoilers: PewDiePie's game is pretty good.  

It's apparently good enough that it dethroned "Minecraft: Pocket Edition" from its long-standing number one position (though "Minecraft" lost the throne recently to a few interesting new types of apps).



Ben Gilbert / Tech Insider

But beyond the numbers side of things, having played a bunch of the game I can attest that it's genuinely enjoyable. For starters, it's got a pretty (if overused) art style reminiscent of the Super Nintendo/Sega Genesis era:

Outerminds, Inc.

Like the menu's art style, most of the PewDiePie game is reminiscent of gaming in the 1990s. It's played on a 2D plane, like so:



In order to control PewDiePie, virtual buttons are represented on-screen in the form a joystick and a jump button. You jump on enemies heads to take them out, a la "Super Mario", and collect coins along the way with which to power up your character or to buy new characters to play with.

The game costs $4.99, which thankfully means it's devoid of any in-app purchases. Even if you run out of in-game coins, you cannot simply purchase more with real money to buy everything in-game: coins must be earned through gameplay.

Because PewDiePie is a real human being and not a video game character, his adversary in "Legend of the Brofist" is an army of evil barrels. As in wooden barrels. 

The wooden barrels are relentless, and take it to Pewdz (we can call you Pewdz, right?) across a variety of scenarios.

From inside Pewdz' house:



There's even a little pixel version of where PewDiePie records his videos.

To the tops of cars speeding down a freeway:


To mid-air plane battles:


Yes, sometimes you fight flying unicorns in this game. Yes.

The game is a rapidly-moving tapestry of classic game types, from platformer to action to shoot-em-up (seen above). It's similar to licensed games of the Super Nintendo-era, which were often just a vehicle to play with those characters in fun game modes.

The game is full of little references to the world of PewDiePie, and really to internet culture in general. You're forgiven if you don't catch them all - they're meant for Pewdz' superfans, of which there are many.


The one major downside to "PewDiePie: Legend of the Brofist" is that it uses virtual buttons, which are notoriously terrible at controlling games on phones. If you've ever tried playing "Grand Theft Auto" on a smartphone or tablet, you know all about this: if you need to press a button quickly and you can't actually feel the button, you're either supposed to go looking for the button with your eyes (thus taking your eyes off the game) or flail your finger around in hopes of finding the button in time. 

That really stinks, unfortunately. Especially because it's a pretty good game!

But don't just take our word for it, though - here's PewDiePie's own play through of the game with live commentary:

You can grab "PewDiePie: Legend of the Brofist" on both iOS and Android devices for $4.99"; it's available right now.

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