Con Man: The Game – A Review
by Transmute Jun
Con Man, as many of us know, is a web series created by Alan Tudyk and Nathan Fillion, funded by one of the most successful Indiegogo campaigns of all time. The two Firefly alums have successfully capitalized on their nerd-lebrity, with a show that is both funny and amazingly on-the-nose regarding convention experiences. If you’re a fan of conventions, this program is worth checking out. You can watch it on Comic Con HQ and Amazon Prime.
When the Indiegogo campaign exploded, Alan and Nathan kept adding on stretch goals, some of which seemed fantastic at the time. Even so they are following up and releasing everything that they have promised. Yesterday they made good on one of their more surprising stretch goals: a game.
Yes, Con Man: The Game was released for iOS and Android devices on August 25, 2016, and has already entertained many fans only 24 hours later. I downloaded the game as soon as I heard about it, but did not have a chance to play until a few hours later. Having been a player for about 16 hours, I’m already anticipating that I’ll be opening this app daily for some time to come.
For the most part, Con Man is a freemium simulation game, where you are a convention promoter building your own comic con. You begin with a short tutorial explaining that in addition to exhibitor booths, you need toilets and food to keep attendees happy, as well as garbage cans to contain all of that refuse. Of course, garbage cans get full and toilets overflow, necessitating janitors to come in for cleanup. The unlimited-use starting janitor you receive bears a not-so-subtle resemblance to Joss Whedon. I still chuckle every time I have to send Joss to empty the garbage.
Your exhibit booths and food vending machines produce money and XP, allowing you to level up and buy new things, expanding your convention. More people arrive, and start patronizing your booths. Unfortunately, one of these patrons is a naked granny with a walker, who disgusts most of the attendees. When she arrives, you have to send a security guard (who may, or may not, be Kevin Smith) after her.
If this were all, Con Man would be a bit repetitive, but just as things are getting dull, in pops an alien. And not a cosplayer, but a real alien, who starts attacking and destroying your booths. The only way to get rid of aliens is to fight back with superfans. Superfans are awesome cosplayers with weapons and armor who will fight the aliens to the death (and yes, I had a superfan die on me when I messed up my attempt to heal her… so sad…). Once the aliens are defeated, con life resumes as normal.
Overall, I have found this game to be very engrossing, but I made a couple of mistakes early on and began to get bothered, waiting to generate enough money to fix things. Too many problems kept stacking up, and eventually I turned off the game. When I opened the app again a couple of hours later, all of my resources had accumulated and I had enough to get going again. I’ve found that this game is good for playing in spurts… collect, play for awhile until you get bored/frustrated, then come back in a few hours and go again. This keeps it fresh, and allows you to progress without paying real money for the premium currency (comic books and swag bags, naturally).
Con Man: The Game is free to download, and incorporates a lot of the humor and characters from the Con Man webseries. If you’d like a fun diversion from your usual mobile entertainment apps, it is worth your time to check it out.
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