“What the f…” was about all I could think during my time playing Soda Drinker Pro.
Well, even before playing it; I wasn’t sure if the press release was some kind of belated April Fool’s joke. But apparently not. Soda Drinker Pro, a game that looks like a six-year old has designed it in Microsoft Paint, in which the aim is to, well, drink soda, is a real game and it’s available on your Xbox One now.
Literally, that’s all there is to the game. Making your way through 100 hideous levels, the goal of each level is to drink your soda. Hold the left trigger button to put your soda cup to your mouth, and hold the right trigger to sip that bad boy. A meter at the top of your screen gauges the amount of soda you have left, and once it’s gone you’re automatically taken to the next level.
There’s no challenge, no difficulty, no story and certainly no skill involved to Soda Drinker Pro. In fact, the biggest challenge you’ll face is being able to bear looking at it for longer than five minutes. Although purposefully awful, the game is truly an eyesore, with every level appearing like it has been haphazardly thrown together with a mass of clashing colours and doodles in MS Paint. Every level has its own unique theme – starting at the beach, then the park, oh and then inside a human mouth and onto someone’s buttcrack (yes, really) – but if the game didn’t tell you what each location was beforehand, you’d likely have no idea what any of them are meant to be. The god-awful visuals are accompanied by a soundtrack that is jarring at best, and truly deafening at worst. A number of the tracks are accompanied by spoken audio – some uncomfortable lines about drinking a lot of soda – but thanks to the audio mixing being so bad, you can hardly hear them. Have your volume buttons at standby because the in-level music tracks are far too loud and there are no options within the game to adjust audio levels.
Clearly Soda Drinker Pro is designed to be a joke; a funny mockery of the amount of simulation games available on the market. Unfortunately, the only thing that Soda Drinker Pro makes a mockery of is itself; why design a game so intentionally bad and broken that no sane person will ever be able to stand playing it? I enjoy a good laugh as good as the next person, but unfortunately was unable to gleam any kind of humour from Soda Drinker Pro. In fact, the funniest part about the game is its marketing. The satire of the website is infinitely more enjoyable than the actual game. Aside from the kindergarten-level graphics, the game feels broken to play, too. Movement speed is snail’s pace, at best, which makes the optional exploration of each level absolutely redundant and an abhorrent experience. The audio also frequently skips, freezes and judders, with spoken lines so horrible in quality that they sound like they’ve been recorded on a 1990’s TalkBoy. By a ventriloquist. Whilst underwater.
Soda Drinker Pro does have one redeeming feature, however. Well, I say “redeeming”; it at least makes the experience somewhat bearable for slightly longer. Hidden within the game (accessed by going through a door painted onto the scenery in level 2) is an entirely different game called Vivian Clark. Perhaps even more nonsensical and crazy than the rest of Soda Drinker Pro, but infinitely more entertaining and better designed, Vivian Clark appears to be a series of random minigames tied together with a common goal of picking up collectible white cubes. At least, that’s what I’m assuming the goal is. The game gives you absolutely no direction or instruction; you’re simply tossed from one incredibly bizarre location to another until eventually you die too many times and get a game over screen. The graphics here are all over the place; some levels are of the same MS Paint-level standard as the rest of Soda Drinker Pro, whilst others actually feature some nice elements, such as well-designed enemies that reminded me of illustrations from children’s literature. Unfortunately, any enjoyable elements were brutally overshadowed by the sheer mess of everything else surrounding it. Had there been some kind of explanation as to what was going on, Vivian Clark could have almost made Soda Drinker Pro worth stepping into. Instead, you’re presented with what appears to be a digital representation of someone’s initial (and probable drug-fuelled) brainstorming session, where absolutely nothing has been left out.
Overall, I’m struggling to call this a “game”. I’m even struggling to call this an “experience”. Soda Drinker Pro is merely an abomination which exists, and really shouldn’t exist. I’m absolutely astounded as to how this has got on the Xbox One store. It’s the sort of thing that should be kept buried deep, deep down in the darkest depths of some browser-based Flash game site. Or you know, just not made at all.