To be honest, I’m not entirely sure what to make of Ciganoid. On one hand it’s an entertaining Arkanoid clone with the added incentive of purchasable upgrades. On the other hand it’s essentially an interactive anti-smoking ad which has players more-or-less playing the part of cancer as it destroys a smoker’s lungs. Brick-by-brick. It’s actually pretty twisted, the more I think about it.
It makes me a little uncomfortable when I play it, actually. The concept, I mean. I’m moving this cigarette paddle around, using the little ball (cancer?) to break up the lungs and grab falling green stuff (??). The green stuff can then be used between games in the store to upgrade the paddle or ball, but really it’s being used to make the cancer more effective. Creepy.
I find it a little odd to have an interactive anti-smoking ad that has participants play the role of the “badguy.” Although I suppose making it the other way around wouldn’t make for much of a game. Still, as a game and not a condemnation of one of the world’s most disgusting habits, it’s fun. Ignoring the moral dilemma, Ciganoid is actually a fairly enjoyable game. It’s retro in all the right places (looks and sounds), and I’m enjoying chasing the upgrade carrot quite a bit. As with most iOS games that taunt players with new, oh-so-close abilities, I want to keep playing (and inevitably failing) so that I can earn more cash and get better stuff. So I can use it to kill people more effectively.
It’s interesting that Black Phoenix Games‘ other title, Don’t Die, involves a vaguely similar idea. Granted it has more to do with unhealthy eating habits (and platforming) than lung cancer, but I’m starting to notice a pattern here. I’m not implying that they’re crusaders for public health or anything, but it’s interesting to see more developers creating games with a real message.