This is the premise of Aki and Pawpaw. Two rascals are being chased to the end of the world by a villain behind the camera. At some point, they have to climb mountains. At another point, they are chasing the villain. And that’s easily all there is to it.
The new Aki and Pawpaw epic run game is like the many other endless running games that dominated Android and iOS at the beginning of the last decade when young Nigerians were trapped in an endless pool of running to take their minds off not having internet. Those who had not upgraded from Blackberry to the longer full touchscreen phones turned off their internet to conserve battery.
Those who had upgraded turned off their internet to conserve their internet. Then, like now, the internet was so expensive only a few could afford the luxury of leaving their mobile data on.
Nigerians had played Temple Run, fought with each other over Subway Suffers and wondered what Sonic Dash was about.
Now that the movie industry from the early aughts has found new relevance in the age of memes, would they turn off their internet to enter an endless loop in what seems to be in the first stage, a jungle, but could also be the setting of the very Akin and Pawpaw movie that made Chinedu Ikedieze and Osita Iheme internationally acclaimed comic stars of a new movie industry that at the time paid too little for just too much?
Those who choose to play will dodge hawkers, slide under stop signs, and climb mountains for coins, coin magnets, gems, okada etc.
Aki and Pawpaw Epic Run is good, but
The display is barely neat. At times the contrast seems dull, and the playable character looks more like a high-end game from 1999 than one optimised for iOS and Android mobile devices today. That is to say; the animation is outdated. Aki, the main character, though not appealing, at least looks like the original with certain obvious facial features and the game is fast enough.
The story is a little too loose, echoing the problems that have tailed Nollywood even as it enters its golden age of streaming and box office success.
It seems that at times in Aki and Pawpaw, there is a deliberate attempt at excellence as much as it can be attained. It doesn’t have the kind of ridiculous fixtures you might have seen in previous Nigerian games; it has a phoney Lagos background and weird colour combination, so much so that gamers feel lost at a poorly planned carnival.
Aki and Pawpaw opts for subtle colourways with multiple shades of brown, reminiscing modern village life. But the game is nothing as boring as modern village life. It is at least playable, and that is what might matter for now.
For those living in Lagos, a trailer of future versions will ring true as they carry the familiar background noise of everyday Lagos life. Maybe that is when the story will get tighter. Maybe the game will be true to the movie following the lives of the picaros who move from the village to Lagos to annoy and scatter.
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The Aki and Pawpaw game is fun, and like the endless running games that came before it, it achieves the purpose of passing time. But the game seems to be grabbing with how to get players’ blood levels up while playing. That rush of adrenaline seems to be missing somehow.
The studio must save the best for first and begin its work from there. The animation has to be better. And Aki has to run faster and look like he’s running for his dear life.
Blue Portal seems to understand that games are not just games. It’s not just about chasing and trying to win. It should be an artistic experience, attentive and judicious. You see this as you play the game. That is what makes Aki and Pawpaw a joy to behold. However, the gaming world left the page on which Aki and Pawpaw begins long ago. The developers must invest in cutting-edge modern technology to compete for players’ attention.
Should Aki and Pawpaw succeed, the games industry in Nigeria will be forever changed. Nigeria’s real readiness to make money, at least a lot of it, on the international games stage, would have announced itself.
It seems that with Aki and Pawpaw, the Nigerian game industry has made its first serious bid for a chunk of the over $384.90 billion industry.
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