My review of the iOS game Kick Buttowski: Loco Launcho

I might be overly cynical, but I’m guessing my review of the game won’t be accepted/posted by the App Store, so I’m dumping it here in the hopes of it being at least somewhat cathartic. :). It’s times like this I wish I were Internet-famous and had some hope of this getting to the right person, but c’est la vie, mes amis. 🙂

You can see details of the game on iTunes:

Here’s the review I just posted today (might be the first time I’ve posted a review of an app)

Title: a five-star game suffering from a one-star bug


SUMMARY: Version 1.6.0 broke hardware rendering

As many others have stated: the current version, which has been out well over a year, is horrifically broken and you can’t get past the title screen due to horrendous perf.

Many will recognize the situation: before the update (ironically including a change log of “optimized performance”), the game used hardware rendering. Everything was smooth, and the game was extremely enjoyable. I played it on an iPad 2 with my five-year-old son for hours and hours over the course of a few months.

Since the update, though, the frames-per-second rate of the game, at least on the title screen (which I can no longer get past, even on my iPad 3 and iPhone 5), has dropped to around 0.3 (yes, about 3 seconds between frames). Historically, that kind of drop in UI perf typically means the rendering is no longer being done in hardware, but instead through software. It’s *possible* that there’s another cause (like some new chunk of high-priority CPU-intensive work being done at startup that’s starving off everything else enough) but that seems far less likely given how well the game worked before.

The sad thing is that it’s *likely* a small/simple change that broke the game, and is likely a small change to fix it. Worst-case, they could just revert to the older version before breaking the perf if they didn’t want to or couldn’t investigate the issue.

Given that it’s been unplayable for over a year now, there are some interesting observations we can make AFAICT:

1) the reviews and feedback are falling on deaf ears at Disney. They’re developing other games, so I guess there’s just no budget or desire for maintenance of a free older game. This is very unfortunate since it’s likely a simple fix. Worst-case, as mentioned, they could just revert the App Store version to before the break.

2) it would seem that the App Store checking of new app versions didn’t include running the app, since the bad perf is evident as soon as the app runs.

3) all the 5-star reviews during this last year would seem to be paid astroturfing 🙂 Maybe there are just that many people that have an older version, haven’t updated in all this time, and waited quite awhile to write a positive review, but seeing them interspersed with all these 1-star reviews sure looks fishy to me. 🙂

Disney: you made a great game here. You really did. I know my son and I enjoyed it and I can read reviews from many other families that did as well. Please fix this game, or worst-case revert to a working version.

As a recently acquired character might say: Help us Obi-Walt (Disney), you’re our only hope! 🙂