Inside Pulse 12

Review: Coors Light Refresh-Men (Microsoft Xbox 360)

Coors Light Refresh-Men
Genre: Beat-Em-Up
Developer: Unknown
Publisher: Microsoft
Release Date: Unknown

Urban Dictionary defines advergames as: Advergames represent the future of advertising. As TV advertising is dying and the Internet is overtaking, advergames are the future. Advergames consist of a funny or addictive game with a brand behind them, which users will want to send to their friends. Advergames are a sure, fast way of attracting thousands, if not millions, of users to your company/website.

What’s fantastic about this is the definition was written by an account representing a website that makes advergames. The definition of a type of advertising was written as an advertisement for a company that makes advergames. Thumbs up.

You may have seen advergames on the sidebar of some websites as silly little flash games (or not if you’re using an AdBlocker). Those are basic ones but occasionally there will be larger scale ones that remind me of what it was like to be a kid playing Yo Noid! on the NES. Burger King came out with a couple of games near the release of the Xbox 360 that fit this role, such as Sneak King, which I will not post the Urban Dictionary definition of. It’s graphic. Doritos has sponsored some Xbox Live Arcade titles and Old Spice sponsored a series of Xbox Live Indie Games as well, however many companies are simply content to just place their product in other games instead of getting someone to create a game for them. Which is kind of dumb considering the reach a viral free-to-play game can have now compared to the low entry cost for creating one. I mean they could even make coupons that are tied to goals or achievements in the game, prompting you to go out and buy the product at a discount, and put codes on the product to unlock stuff in the game, which feeds back into playing the game for more coupons, and goddamn it why am I just giving my money ideas away. I wrote this so if you use my idea you now owe me money.

Long ramble and super genius idea that will ruin video games aside, the newest advergame to exist is Refresh-Men. On the 360 it pops up as in the lower right hand of the dashboard set aside for advertisements I ignore. But this one advertised a game to play by the makers of Coors Light and said I needed to be 21+ in order to experience it. It never actually checked my age though, not even one of those ‘Enter your Date of Birth’ type things where I just scroll down to January 1st of an age appropriate year. So I put away my fake ID and booted the ad. It launched the game, like right into it, never downloaded to my console. It just seemed to buffer/stream the levels in, so that’s a really novel idea that’s being used to convince people to purchase watered down beer.

The game includes 5 levels. The story is that the Rocky Mountains have been taken over by this evil force which for some reason really likes the shitty flavor of Coors Light. By hogging all of the beer the bad guys are preventing anyone else from being disappointed by the low carb sewer water that is Coors Light. Never fear though because the Refresh-Men are here! The Refresh-men brave the cold climates to kill these creatures and harvest Coors Light from the deep within the intestinal tracts of corpses and then jump into a warp fridge to bring it to where the beer is needed most.

That’s the story that’s both fantastically ridiculous and also sort of confusing. My wife watched me play and asked why the Refresh-men were killing off the best customers of Coors Light, and I had no answer for her. It is strange to have a bunch of monsters and say what they want the most is the product you’re trying to sell to people who aren’t monsters. I mean think about that, if you’re a big Coors Light fan, you might be a monster. Or at least share the same taste as monsters do. It’s in the official lore! Personally I don’t think these monsters are all that bad. I mean they’re keeping people from drinking Coors Light, and if they’re willing to make the supreme sacrifice of drinking that garbage slop to save others from accidentally ingesting it, then aren’t they the real heroes? It’s food for thought.

As a not Duff-man you play the game beat-em-up style, very similar in style to Golden Axe. You move left to right and smaller enemies and bigger versions of those guys try to mob you and you mash the attack button until they die. There are only three buttons to use, attack, special and jump. You can jump and then attack to do a diving attack. No blocking or dodging so it’s the old school method of trying to keep from getting surrounded and attacking first. Attacks build up the special meter which takes up two bars on the top of the screen. Each special uses up one of the bars. The special is sort of this whirlwind attack instead of anything beer related. I mean come on, let me crush a guy with a keg or something. Maybe smash a bottle in its face and cut them. Yeah. When enemies die they drop Coors Light in either cans, forties, six packs or cases which translate into the points you earn. They disappear quickly so it’s important to get to them right away. You get three lives and if you lose all of them you can continue at the cost of some of your score instead of starting all the way back at the beginning.

Each of the five stages are short, taking up two to three screens worth of walking to the right, and feature enemies that look different as well as different bosses. The stages all give you little clips at the beginning and end that are super cheesy of people who have run out of beer at the beach or at a tailgate party and need more beer. It’s really sort of a dick move if you’re having a tailgate party to expect a guy to climb Mount Doom and fight monsters all to get you some Coors Light. It’s like hey I just pulled this six pack out of the abdomen of what I think was some kind of Yeti, maybe invite me to the party as well. I lost a friend up on that mountain.

Then again maybe it’s a metaphor for the hidden dangers that lie in potential alcoholism. The monsters are really the family and friends you’re willing to metaphorically slay just to get another six pack and trudge further up an evil mountain of self-inflicted pain. Really it’s a tragic tale of addiction and loss right there waiting on the Xbox 360 dashboard for you to play. Or the mountain might be an example of your liver and the monsters the damage that the yellowish discharge of Coors Light will do to it. If so that would make the Refresh-men the eventual medical treatment you’ll need from over consumption of their shitty beer.

Honestly if you like old school beat-em-ups it’s sort of nostalgically enjoyable since it’s similar to about 100 arcade games I played growing up. If they added a skill tree, more levels and a Zamboni mount to ride every now and then I’d probably be sending Mark messages about this indie game he’s gotta try out. It’s not good, it’s not bad, but it is free and stupid and cheesy fun for about 5 minutes. Which is 100% more entertainment value than I normally get from a beer commercial.

Short Attention Span Summary:
The game is an amusing distraction. Coors Light sucks.