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I might as well be brutally honest with you all right upfront, I am not now — nor have I ever been — what one might call a fan of YouTube’s wildly successful Swedish-born game playing sensation: PewDiePie. Even despite the fact I don’t personally prefer the man’s screechy reactionary-commentary to various video games, especially titles such as the Five Nights at Freddy’s series, I do respect the notion that he earned his high position. What I also respect — quite enthusiastically, to be clear — is his recent joint-venture with developers Revelmode and Outermind, which birthed the freshly-debuted parody of celebrity-endorsed simulation games: PewDiePie’s Tuber Simulator (out now, free).

sc1024x768-6Have you ever had burning dreams of being the next greatest commentary-slinging sensation to hit that great series of tubes known as YouTube (or at the very least tried less-than-smashingly, and afterwards wished for results far less depressing)? Then I have good news for you as PewDiePie’s Tuber Simulator is an actually fun title covering just such a topic, which furthermore isn’t loaded up with a viciously-coercive IAP-array. Even better is how Tuber Simulator carries about with a self-aware dark-wit regarding the game’s entire proceedings, something that’s sure to provide additional enjoyment for those savvy enough to fully appreciate what’s being presented.

Your job — as to be expected — is to produce movies to entertain YouTube’s throng of users, as the views you receive will be the primary in-game currency with which you slowly build up your video-slinging empire. However — rather than trying to find your own niche (which is admittedly hard to pull off) — you’re here to shamelessly copy the trends of those who’ve come before you, because isn’t that how sincere flattery works? Ergo, every time you select a video to produce — from a list of three randomized options — you’ll strive to choose one whose two topics best fit the current trends (seeing as how three of the game’s ten possible-trends are randomly made hot for each 24-hour period).

Thankfully — so as to aid you on your mission to boldly sell out — there’s a trend-meter showing which three topics are currently hot, something which even the in-game PewDiePie admits would be rather useful in real-life. The catch is the useful gauge only helps you remember which topics are presently trending, it won’t — however — magically predict which trends are YouTube’s latest front-page wildfires. The good news is that the gauge’s info will be permanently updated — at least for that day — whenever you make a video with one of the three trendy-topics, even if this does make the leg-work your job.

sc1024x768However — while knowing the trends is as well and good — it’s one thing to have yet another cat video on display, while it’s something else entirely to offer people one of the all-out-best cat videos ever! Obviously you won’t be doing research on what people prefer in their premium cat videos — after all, who ever does — thusly you’ll instead employ the time-honored art favored by all hit Tuber stars: fronting! Wherein rather than actually knowing all about your video’s topic — such as games, for instance — you’ll instead fill up your room with objects meant to convey the idea you’re knowledgeable.

After all — be honest — we’ve all seen game reviews by Tubers whom barely seem to know anything about gaming-history (beyond simple Google searches), yet they’ve still got a wall of boss gaming-paraphernalia behind them that aims to assure you otherwise! As such you’ll employ those valuable views — which I previously mentioned — to buy various credentials-proving knick-knacks for your isometric pixelated-room, because these prove to people you know your stuff. As such videos featuring topics you’ve leveled up will perform better than those with topics you don’t know, and this performance increase will furthermore stack with the aforementioned trending-topic perk.

Speaking of filling your room up with various audience-reassuring trendy-items, it’s high time you came to terms with the fact that — much like most other Tuber Stars — you’re going to be starting your show under less-than-glamorous conditions. You begin with a barren concrete-floor, drab walls (barely covered by peeling paper), nary a window in sight, and your vintage computer perched precariously on a repurposed cardboard box. To further rub it all in is the fact your starting video camera — which itself is decidedly cheap and nasty — exists only because PewDiePie generously agreed to help get you started, afterwards he passive-aggressively questions your choice of camera placement.

sc1024x768-1Speaking of which, were you the sort of person whom endlessly rearranged your furniture in Nintendo’s Animal Crossing until last article was precisely where — according to your artistic vision — it was needed? If so then you’re probably going to find yourself more than slightly addicted to Tuber Simulator’s furniture-placement portion, which thankfully won’t chastise you for not rigidly following Animal Crossing’s rendition of Feng Shui. Further accompanying this are regularly occurring contests — as voted on by the player base — wherein people strive to craft the perfect room befitting the latest contest theme, and Tuber Simulator even allots you two extra rooms just for such decorating efforts.

However, the biggest two stumbling blocks you initially have confounding your perfect Tuber-pad are: 1) you’ll — initially — only be able to ship a single item at a time, and 2) you may only order items either at, or below, your current Tuber-Level. Speaking of which, your overall Tuber-Level increases with each and every piece of views-purchased furniture you slowly acquire (even if it’s not used, nor impacts any of the game’s trends). Thus buying more furniture — beyond merely making your YouTube videos perform better — will also enable you access to even more furniture, which still leaves that dilemma wherein you may initially only ship one piece of furniture at a time.

Although one could pay Bux — Tuber Simulator’s premium IAP-currency — to immediately deliver their shipment, PewDiePie has offered up a second means by which to receive your packages in a timelier manner: Puggle. Wherein — for a tiny fee of views — you may mercilessly sling one of the eponymous YouTuber’s precious pet pugs, either Maya or Edgar, down through a pachinko machine filled with various pegs and bubbles. Bouncing off these pegs — and, more importantly, popping those bubbles — will add to how much delivery time gets negated (calculated as a fairly scaling percentage), with a massive-boost to all of this provided if the pug also manages to land safely by the end.

sc1024x768-2Via Puggle you can easily shave an arduous half-day delivery time — which won’t occur until you’ve first advanced through many Tuber Levels — down to far less than thirty minutes, assuming you have the time needed to engage in some pug-based cruelty. Therefore one doesn’t need to ever fork over a single Bux just to expedite their eternal journey upwards through Tuber Simulator, meaning people also won’t ever need to spend Bux just to amass the game’s priceless Brains. Whereas visually fronting — via your room — is the primary method of boosting your views, Brains — which are earned whenever one of your Trend/Tuber levels are increased — are how you actually become a better Tuber.

Brains may be spent (with no refunds available) on a skill-tree to increase your knowledge of things such as video mastering — special effects — and even unlock the ability to create multiple videos, or even ship multiple products, all at the same time. Deeper nodes on Tuber Simulator’s skill-tree will become available as earlier nodes are fully upgraded, although some nodes will additionally require you first hit a requisite subscriber-level (more on this soon). Although you can always earn more Brains, seeing as how certain nodes have a dramatic impact on video performance — such as the power of both mastering and special effects — the order you upgrade these will definitely matter.

Beyond filling your room with trendy things — producing the videos people want to see — and even learning better video-editing techniques, there does still exist one more way you can permanently affect your viewership power. This is your subscriber count, which — unlike your views count — usually only increases after a video has fully run its course (at which point you earn the new subscribers by claiming the video). Even if you run a video with a topic you don’t know, and isn’t currently trending, having more subscribers will always equate to an overall nominal net-gain in the views you’re going to receive.

sc1024x768-4Which brings me to the fact — despite all I’ve said thus far — I haven’t yet actually discussed the finer points of Tuber Simulator’s video creation process, such as how a video’s run-time affects you. I previously mentioned how you’ll be presented with three videos — each featuring two different topics — for each of your potential video-slots, with more video-slots being unlocked as you explore the Brain-fueled skill-tree. You’ll also — when starting a video — have the option to replace the offered default-title, and later video options might even include your previously-created title with a “Pt. 2” tacked on.

Anyways — getting back to point — each of your three options will have a different run-time, and it’s only during this running time that a video will generate views (after all, the game still needs some means of ensuring you check back regularly). When you first make the video a portion of this run-time will be devoured by actually recording the video, with the remainder of the video being the period during which the lucrative views are made. Later on — as your overall level increases — you’ll see videos with ever increasingly longer run-times, which is good as your growing personal-mastery of editing-techniques will insert an editing-period between the recording and viewing sections.

At about this time you’re probably wondering what Tuber Simulator’s gimmick is, since there’s no way a high-quality app — featuring a licensed-celebrity, no less — is ever being offered for absolutely free. However, the aforementioned Bux may only be used to either deliver items instantly — change your Tuber’s appearance in meaningless (yet fun) ways — or to expand your room’s size (and yet items increase your level even when not used). You can additionally earn these premium Bux freely either by completing quests, getting lucky at Puggle, leveling up your various trends, or sometimes by grabbing the Sponsorship Eagle as he flies by (although he’s usually holding either views or subs).

Instead — although you can buy up some Bux if you want — the key driving force behind PewDiePie’s Tuber Simulator are actually advertisements, yet they’re never forced upon you at random. Instead you can watch ads to temporarily double the effectiveness of ads, to increase the value of Sponsorship Eagle packages, to speed up the delivery truck, and even to give yourself extra lucrative quests to complete each day. You don’t ever actually have to watch a single ad — or even pay a single cent — during Tuber Simulator to be wholly successful, but watching some ads will definitely make your life infinitely easier.

sc1024x768-5Of course — keeping with the game’s tongue-in-cheek nature — PewDiePie quickly points out in-game, when discussing the few IAP-options available, that he was contractually obligated to cover such things. Actually, PewDiePie will vocally discuss a variety of in-game mechanics — alongside discussing finished quests — during your entire trend-chasing journey towards internet-stardom. Even though I’m not a fan of the game’s titular-star, many of his comments — such as one stating how he can’t wait until you’re making your very own videos declaring how he’s the worst Tuber ever — did amuse me.

In fact — to further drive their trend-chasing parody home — the game’s self-aware tongue-in-cheek humor has gone the extra-mile on this particular matter, with your randomly-generated video choices often including pre-made titles such as “I Hate PooDiePie.” Between this mixture of self-aware parody (wherein PewDiePie isn’t afraid to take potshots at himself), the rather friendly ad-driven game-play, the endless possibilities for room-decoration (if that’s your thing), and other factors, this is one app I truly enjoyed. Ergo, while I certainly wouldn’t recommend people towards PewDiePie’s flavor of Let’s Plays — even if I would never go so far as to call him “PooDiePie” — I would still unabashedly suggest people pick up this excellent gem from Revelmode and Overmind.

About my only actual complaint is that some of the in-game quests can require you to have friends — whom are also playing Tuber Simulator — in order for those missions to be finished, even if they’re otherwise rather simple affairs. Although this can be overcome by going to a place such as Reddit — or even GameFAQs — and deliberately recruiting people for this purpose, I would have prefered this not be the case. The game can furthermore — at least on some lower-end devices (such as the iPod Touch 5) — lock up at random, but you’ll rarely lose more than a few taps worth of progress afterwards.

Verdict

Revelmode and Overmind’s PewDiePie’s Tuber Simulator is a parody of those celebrity-endorsed simulation-games often seen on the iOS, except with a massive amount of self-aware parody and — more importantly — coupled with a non-aggressive IAP-scheme. Players will exactingly decorate their isometric pixelated-rooms — which is a rather addictive thing entirely unto itself — as they strive to convince Tuber-audiences their videos are the best, all coupled with a healthy dose of non-stop shameful trend-chasing! Although the overall game is basically flawless in its execution, some will potentially be irked by the inclusion of quests that — while thankfully rather easy to finish — unfortunately require the aid of Tuber Simulator playing friends in order to be won.

'PewDiePie’s Tuber Simulator' Review: Totally Brotastic
Solid designUnobtrusive IAPsAbsolutely FreeTons of self-aware humor
Some in-game quests require having friends participate in order to complete them
5.0Exceptional