Gua-Le-Ni Or: The Horrendous Parade Makes Taxonomy Weirder [Review]

By Rich Shivener in Reviews
Wednesday, December 7, 2011 at 10:00 am
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Scholars of all kinds are welcome.
I think I can blame Double Jungle's game Gua-Le-Ni Or: The Horrendous Parade for my weird dreams last night. In the middle of the night, hours after playing it, I dreamt of running down steep, hilly streets and touching clouds that, when grabbed, tasted like snow cones; then I dreamt of hunting down paper rabbits and textbooks in what seemed like a first-person shooter. At 4:30 a.m., I woke up, laughing.

You don't have to believe me, but you do have to believe that The Horrendous Parade is the weirdest video game I have touched on the iPad. What started as an experiment coordinated with Breda University is now a must-download app for iOS.
The Horrendous Parade takes cues from Terry Gilliam's psychedelic illustrations in Monty Python's Flying Circus, standing at the intersection of absurdity and comedy. The player, a budding taxonomist, is tasked with cataloguing fictional and non-fictional "paper" creatures, including lobsters, ti-mels, and rhi-hogs. Yes, in the world of The Horrendous Parade, tiger-camels and rhino-warthogs exist, just like fish-rabbits and bison-birds. There are many other hybrids, revealed as you develop your scholarship.

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Are you a contemporary scholar?

Your scholarship in taxonomy, the number of pages (points) you file, is determined by how many creatures you discover before one runs off the page. To complete your task, you simply rotate "cubes" with creature heads and butts, matching the sequence with the creature traveling across the page. You can play with two to four cubes, depending on your interests and skills. Be warned, though: The narrator, a well-spoken gentlemen with bowel problems and haste, will chide you if you're in studying too much easy taxonomy (two cubes), and if you're winning in the highest form (four cubes). Two words: "Bloody lackey!"

The Horrendous Parade has "Fiction" and "Non-fiction" modes, both of which are home to, yes, rhino-bisons and camel-octopi. Adding to the challenge of this ridiculous taxonomy, the only difference is that "Non-fiction" creatures move faster and are manipulated by items on the page. Apples, for instance, will slow down Rhino breeds, and some weird alien slime will mutate any creature (i.e., add another cube). Personally, I enjoy "Non-fiction" taxonomy because I can score higher points for feeding creatures and, say, cataloging them before they "reach the tree" on the page.

As you can see, budding taxonomist, The Horrendous Parade is a highly imaginative video game, one with simple controls and sophisticated remediation - a scholarly book presented on the iPad. As Breda University and Double Jungle puts it, "The psychophysiological tests for Gua-Le-Ni were run together with interviews and questionnaires which supported and contextualized the biometric patterns that arose from our experiments."

Their biometrics are sexy.

The Official Verdict: 5 out of 5

This review is based on an iOS download code provided by the publisher. I think it's the first 5 out of 5 I've ever given.

 

Tags: iOS 5
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