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Voodoo

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Voodoo
Voodoo Logo.svg
Their games were soulless, as if it was made using voodoo magic.
Type: Private
Founded: 2013
Founder(s): Alexandre Yazdi
Laurent Ritter
Headquarters: Paris, France
Key people: Alexandre Yazdi (CEO)
Gabriel Rivaud (VP, games)
Services: Voodoo.io
Owner: Goldman Sachs (minority stake)
Tencent (minority stake)
Groupe Bruxelles Lambert (16%)
Website: https://www.voodoo.io


Voodoo SAS (also known as Voodoo.io) is a French game developer and publisher company founded by Alexandre Yazdi and Laurent Ritter in 2013, and based in Paris, France. Voodoo is notable for publishing free-to-play games for Android, iOS, and PC and focuses on free-to-play "hyper-casual games".

As of December 2019, games released by Voodoo were collectively downloaded 2.6 billion times.

In August 2020, Tencent acquired a minority stake in Voodoo[1], while the latter was valued at $1.4 billion at the time. According to Yazdi, this deal would help Voodoo to extend their games into the Asia-Pacific market.

Despite their games doing well, they have gained notoriety among gamers (even mobile gamers) for their terrible advertising practices, ripping off other games, and even for having a long shovelware catalogue on the App Store and Play Store. They have grown to be one of the most despised companies in the gaming industry.

Why They and Their Games Aren't Legally Skilled

Overall

  1. They are infamous for releasing a widespread amount of ads which feature ridiculous claims and wordmarks such as "If you survive 60 sec you can go to Disneyland", "99% cannot pass this level" or "I can't reach pink colour”.
    • For whatever reason, many of their ads also use very ugly filters.
    • Some of their ads also engage in asset theft by stealing memes, sound effects, third-party characters (sometimes using highly grotesque versions of characters like SpongeBob or Mickey Mouse), or even fanart.
    • They even make ads that will go as far as insulting people. One example is when they made a claim that "passing a level in one of their games would revive Etika", which is beyond disrespectful to Etika and his friends, family and fans. Another example is with their game Run Rich 3D, which one if their ads depict the in-game character losing the opportunity to get a bunch of money, because they passed a sort of portal that made them choose for the character to get an Android device instead of an Apple device, which is also insulting to Android users. It can also create negative messages. "If you have an Android device, you are poor" can also be a scary thought especially when young children are exposed to these ads.
    • According to their website, they run over a hundred ads on a single game.
  2. In order to play their games, they require you to allow them to use your data. If you don't do so, you will access a variant of the game with more ads and a banner informing you of your decision. Thankfully, the ads can be avoided all together most of the time by disconnecting from the Internet.
  3. Inability to take criticism: After being called out by Ben Esposito for plagiarising his game Donut County, Voodoo attempted to overshadow Donut County's release by flooding ads of Hole.io on every platform.[2]
    • In the case of Hole.io, the game copied the core gameplay mechanic of Donut County and were rushed to be released before Donut County's full release, despite the aforementioned game were revealed and under development for over 5 years.
  4. Not only they're greedy, but also stingy, since despite being a big company that can afford to own an online multiplayer server, they chose to make fake "online multiplayer" games as an excuse to save their money from operating an actual multiplayer server, much like how little they spend on development (at the time Tencent acquired a part of Voodoo's minority stake, Voodoo was valued at $1.4 billion).
  5. Recently, they have shown their support for the infamous Non-fungible Token system (NFTs) as seen on their website, while failing to realise that blockchain already has a bad reputation for being eco-unfriendly and scam-worthy.

Games

  1. Quantity over quality: Voodoo is known for using "simplistic" and "hyper-casual" as an excuse to publish a large number of lazily-made shovelware games on mobile application stores. Such games have the following flaws mentioned below.
  2. The gameplay is overly simplistic, usually requiring the player to do one simple task over and over again with no additional content or rewards whatsoever. Their controls are also generic, ranging from changing the movement direction, swiping from a side to another to just tapping and holding down on the screen.
  3. The difficulty is extremely easy or in some cases unbalanced; they barely require any effort to be beaten, as in one of their games, Curvy Punch 3D, some levels can be beaten with just one input.
  4. They feature ugly and overly simplistic graphics that consist of textureless polygons and/or simple shapes that are just differently colored. In fact, they can fit into a Nintendo 64 game and to make matters worse, many Nintendo 64 games even had textured graphics.
    • Even if some of them do have textured graphics (which rarely happens), they still don't go above the Nintendo 64 level.
  5. Despite being simplistic, both in terms of gameplay and graphics, some of them, for unknown reasons, are extremely laggy to the point they suffer from frequent framerate drops (especially when too many objects appear on screen) and at some points, can even overheat the device or crash, meaning that a large amount of RAM goes to waste. (Or as how tech-savvy people say, "large amount of memory leaks")
  6. No music whatsoever. They also have a limited amount of generic sound effects that are even recycled.
  7. Even though their games have "levels", they cannot be replayed which completely defeats the purpose of them.
    • The leveled games never end (due to them being actually randomly generated), which means that the game has no ending or even 100% completion.
    • Also, there are some levels that have some challenges, such as Flip Dunk requiring the player to make an amount of flips to win a respective medal. The problem is that there is no reward whatsoever aside from the fact that you get a huge Perfect when you completed it.
  8. Similar to their parent company, Tencent, Voodoo also created lots of rip-offs of other games made by smaller indie studios, even those that are already popular on mobile, such games include Infinite Golf (copied from Desert Golfing), Twisty Road (from Impossible Road), The Fish Master (from Ridiculous Fishing), Flappy Dunk! (from Flappy Bird), Rolly Vortex (from Rolling Sky), The Cube (from Curiosity: What's Inside the Cube?), and Hole.io (from Donut County).[3]
  9. They are notorious for how many ads they have. One of their games, Fight List, plays ads after each round ends. The fact that rounds in the game last for 45 seconds each and the ads can be long and/or unskippable makes this infinitely more annoying. Same applies for the other games who play an ad each time you fail or complete a level.
  10. Mentioning again from reason #4 of the company section, Voodoo is also infamous for creating a fake multiplayer mode featured in their .io games (as all of the other "players" are controlled by CPUs) in order to save their money from operating an actual multiplayer server.
  11. Some of their games have bizarre concepts, which at best are questionable, and at worst, clearly offensive.
    • An example of a questionable game is 2 THE MOON, which tries to capitalize the trend and meme of the Dogecoin cryptocurrency, as an attempt for Voodoo to look "hip, cool, and relatable" to younger audiences. Thankfully though, it's not something severely bad. Unfortunately though, the next example isn't going to be that innocent...
    • An example of an offensive game is Fat 2 Fit! (now renamed for iOS), a game where you control a woman who must stay skinny at all times by collecting healthy food, while avoiding unhealthy food. This is a terrible game when it comes to its idea, because it stereotypes the idea that "being thin is better than being fat", and worse, can enforce eating disorders to people that are insecure about their body. It doesn't help the fact that when you get a Game Over, the game explicitly tells you to "Eat more cucumbers!" or "Lose weight!". When you get the food skins, the death messages still appear the same. Thankfully, it was changed to Bag 2 Fit so it doesn't have to be offensive anymore.

Redeeming Qualities

  1. Despite the fact that most of their games have terrible gameplay, it can get somewhat addictive and enjoyable (among some mobile gamers). In fact, they can be considered nice time-wasters when you are bored (as they can be played in short doses during pauses).
  2. Some of their games such as Flip Dunk are decent. There is more variety in stages and there is even some challenge, even though there is no reward for it whatsoever.
  3. Some games they publish are decent, but it’s once in a blue moon. (Example: Plantopia)

Videos

External links

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