If I was a complete neophyte to iOS gaming, Charade Parade would have been an innocuous time killer. Since it's free to play, one's actual investment is absolutely minimal, and there's absolutely nothing wrong with loving and dumping an app at the drop of a hat. But if minutes, hours, even seconds hold a semblance of importance in your life, you may want to let Charade Parade pass you by.

How hard is it to actually screw up a game about charades? On a totally basic level, Charade Parade offers up cute enough characters, one of whom looks like an open shirted Elvis impersonator, to act out a bunch of words. Gamers can challenge their Facebook or Game Center mates to a game, and actually pick which themes they want to try. The goal is to solve the charade in a quicker time than your respective opponent.

It's simple to play, the characters are decent at what they do, making the guessing game not too difficult. If Charade Parade left everything on this elemental level, the title would have been easy enough to recommend. Watching cartoon bodies contort and gesticulate while you rack your brain for an answer makes for a decent enough experience, and I actually did enjoy solving a few challenges.

Unfortunately, the goodwill ends there, as Charade Parade does a creative free fall moments after you complete a challenge. Before you can pat yourself on the back for a job well done, a random ad immediately pops up on your device, plugging its specific product. There's also a chance that after you close that window, another ad will materialize before your very eyes. These few seconds of annoyance before you reach another game may be tolerated if this was an occasional occurrence. But dropping ads like it's hot is just a total buzzkill, and as much as I love Pineapple Express, I don't want Seth Rogen's mug invading my iOS space.

It's totally understandable when a developer employs ads, but strategic placement is the name of the game. The iOS farming title Epic, based on the movie of the same name, gives players the alternative of watching ads, with each spot lasting 30, 45, or 60 seconds. Once you watch the plug, you receive aura points which gives you more purchasing and building power.

Whether it's lack of creativity or laziness, Charade Parade is essentially a party game that's riddled with advertisements, and it's a practice that will irritate any app enthusiast. If you're a Crackle nut, however, you may disagree with my protestations.

Charade Parade is a beguilingly simple game mired in freemium hell. I hate being such a negative Nelly, but when ads become a primary ingredient, and not a subtle distraction, to one's gameplay experience, it's time to start complaining. It's okay to operate in a revenue generating business, but if you don't give players a chance to soak in the atmosphere and breathe a little, why in the world would they pay for in-game premiums? Even though it's a free download, skip this charade and find another parade worth joining.


App Store Link: Charade Parade for iPhone & iPad | Mixamo, Inc. | Price: Free | Version: 1.0. | 45.9 MB | Rating: 4+

4.0 out of 10 arcade sushi rating