Right. So, imagine you’ve just created the app of the year. It’s simple, it’s cheap, it’s quirky, it’s beautifully rendered, it’s fun for all ages and, best of all, it somehow incorporates Twitter. You can’t lose! All you need now… is a name.
Plenty of folks go for the Occam’s Razor approach; just call it what it does. Tossing paper? Paper Toss. Crushing castles? Crush the Castle. Conducting trains? Train Conductor. Bish bash bosh.
Bish bash boring, you mean! Instead, for your app, you decide instead to break all the rules and create a brand new brand out of a brand new word! You take all the first letters in all your developers’ names and jumble them up, and come out the other end of the marketing department’s digestive tract with, er… Zchmoodskie! Yeah! It’s new, it’s cute, it’s never been done! Let’s take over the world!
Granted, you’ll be whisked to the front of the URL dispute queue, and there’s a good chance your made-up name would probably stand out in a written list… but then, what’s happened to your word of mouth advertising? Where is everybody?
Here’s you talking to an investor: “Check out our website to see a video preview. It’s www.zchmoodskie.com. Yes, ‘zchmoodskie’. Starts with Z. Yes, that’s right. No, C-H. Double O… ah, you must have had a U, and a Y at the end, yeah, we’re I-E. Did you get the D? Right, so read that back to me… Hello?”
Now, I’m not saying failure is a foregone conclusion. Yours truly was in a similar situation just like this with an internet startup back when I worked in New York City. The jumble of letters was chosen for its visual appeal, as well as a bit of witty URL letterplay branding… but nobody could pronounce the damn thing. Not even our own receptionist.
Did we go public and retire in our twenties? Hell no! But that’s not to say it can’t work for some. Theoretically.
To put this to the test, I decided to take a chance on a bunch of free games with nonsense-word brand names. I popped on the extra-strength latex gloves, took a deep breath, plunged both my arms elbow deep into the AppAddict vault of review requests, and dug out anything that had the guts to go forth with a garbled gamble.
BloBox! turned out to be a very simple combination of two words: Blob in a Box. You’re a little dollop of strawberry jam, running like mad through some sort of faux-3D ventilation tunnel, avoiding the black panels, er, and, uh, picking up gold. You kinda have to see it to know what I mean, and even then.
Conceptually speaking, it’s the sort of gameplay that I’ve always been curious to try on for size: fast-paced accelerometer action. Flip left, flip right, upside down, right-side left, arse over teakettle, with added tap-jumping to invert gravity and induce vertigo. In short, play this one over a carpet, because you’re bound to drop the iPhone at some point.
Sad to say, while a good try, they just didn’t quite get the balance right in the execution. I managed to squeak through the tutorial with a pass, have since achieved two-out-of-three stars on Level 2 and have yet to complete Level 3. It’s flippin’ HARD, pun totally intended. The levels aren’t even that long; mind you, I think that’s part of the problem… In about three seconds, a flurry of black and gold comes flying at your jam blob and you’re like AH! WHOA! URK! YIPE! Aw crap.
Maybe a little more self-dedication would put me into the mindset, but with six other games to review I wasn’t willing to invest the time in something that gives me no actual skill in the real world (a bit like how I feel about Guitar Hero). So, score this one as Potentially Good After A Few Speed Tweaks.
Nonsense score: 3 out of Sausage!
Urubu turned out to be a game involving spelling words correctly, paradoxically enough. To their credit, I’m sure it’s difficult to come up with a clever word-based pun with all the other wordies out there trying to come up with the same stuff. Word Pummel! Word Turd! Wally Wally Word Wonk! Wordette! That sort of thing (if any of these are real, and they probably are, I’m not affiliated with them, (nor do I wish to be)).
All things being equal, I have to say I kinda like it. I like a good word game as much as the next man, and maybe it’s the simplicity that I appreciated. You’ve got six blank squares at the bottom, and two giant letter squares at the top, one for each thumb. Random letters flash into the thumb squares, and if you think you can spell a word with them, tap them to send them into the blanks below. If you’re not quick enough, a couple of primitive-culture-style letter squashers bash you down to five then four then three letters, until you’re screwed.
It’s different, it’s quick enough, and I think with a bit of design polish (okay, a lot) and some innovative achievement-based gamification, they’d have something here. Give it a crack.
Nonsense score: Scare my lare! It’s 6.11 Pa’aghurks!