Say what you will about PETA, you can’t fault them for ambiguity. Their latest piece of informative media is This Beautiful Creature Must Die: a game with a message, conveyed with all the delicacy of a sledgehammer to the gonads.
The game has already received high praise from Morrissey, former Smiths frontman and well established vegan. His lyrics from ‘Meat Is Murder’ are used for the game’s title, and he has stated that “this game is the biggest social crusade of all, as we safeguard the weak and helpless from violent human aggression. You don’t get that from Pokémon Go.” It’s the classic Morrissey formula: say something outrageously hyperbolic, and follow it up with a desperate lunge at relevancy.
This Beautiful Creature Must Die, or ‘Abattoir Clicker’ as I’ve taken to calling it, is a game about stopping animals from floating into giant saw blades. There are four panels, each of which will have a random assortment of animals flying through. By either tapping or clicking on these animals you can save them from a grisly demise. Let an animal slip through, however, and there’s an oddly cartoony ‘squelch’ and it’s game over.
So far it seems thematically consistent, right? Yeah, sure. I have doubts that animals are moved to comically large buzz saws via telekinesis in the slaughterhouse, nor do I think that they’ll be playing 8-bit Smiths tunes in the background. And if they did, they’d at least get the damn track to loop properly. But apart from that, they’re pretty much spot on.
Oh, and there’s bombs too. You have bombs which can float in the same areas as the animals, which is clearly making some important point about how abattoir negligence can lead to a huge bomb passing for a farm animal. You must never tap the bomb, or it’ll explode and kill everything. Instead, the bomb must be left to pass through the saw blades. That is, apparently, the safer option.
PETA: We don’t do risk assessments.
And… giant boss animals? They also have occasional giant boss animals which require more taps to be spared, creating a wholly frustrating experience. The message here, as I’ve taken it, is ‘Save the animals, unless they’re obnoxiously big.’It’s a level of gamification that, perversely, I’ve not come to expect from PETA’s games. I’ve played the floaty-jumping, auto-scrolling mess that is Mario Kills Tanooki; I’ve been shouted at by Cooking Mama: Mama Kills Animals; I never expected to play a PETA game which was, at least by these dire standards, fine.