Rainbows, loud music, a bit of extravagance, and everyone celebrating themselves are at the core of LGBT+ pride festivals and events, and Atari has tried to capture that essence in Pridefest.
It's a self-defined "social simulation" game that puts you in charge of not only an LGBTQ pride festival, but an entire city that lives off them.
It's a kind way of putting it, but Pridefest is more akin to the casual city builder games that crop up regularly.Build an LBGT+ pride metropolis
Build up a city, let time tick on, collect a bit of cash, and keep growing until you've created a metropolis. The “social simulation” side mainly involves being able to chat to other players and please your citizens.
In fact, that lack of depth permeates all of Pridefest. On top of its city building aspects, there are 40 story missions to get through, all based around parades.
Some players have had issues in seeing their objectives in this mode, including myself, but regular bugfixes are tackling it.
You don't just get to look at your city as a decoration, but each mission requires you to direct a small parade around, brightening up the lives of those around the areas you visit and collecting objectives.
Pick up five stars, collect the letters L, G, B, T and Q in order, and so on. It functions like a more irritating Pac-Man - choose which roads to go down while avoiding dead ends and protesters, which either act as ways to slow down your parade or damage it directly.
It feels pretty odd that this side of the game is about avoiding homophobic/transphobic people to be honest.
It's all about fun
Bring enough fun to buildings with parades or decorations and you'll be able to assign builders to upgrade them and either let someone move in, which can be random people online or your Facebook friends if they're playing, or create a venue for something else.
Builders are limited, but you can speed them up or hire more with the paid currency of gems. It doesn't punish players who don't want to pay up unfairly, thankfully, and simply requires a bit of patience to build everything.
Fun is the way to expand, pushing back the endless fog that surrounds your city and opening new plots of land to build upon, as well as getting rid of the roadblocks that normally bar the path into what I can only assume is a no-man's land for fun.
Unfortunately, that's about it for Pridefest. There's little more in it, and there's not much to do besides grow your city. The LGBT+ pride influences wear off quickly, your city becoming a mess of colours rather than a rainbow-hued symbol of love.
I'm happy that LGBT+ pride festivals are seen as a positive force, but Pridefest doesn't capture that essence in any more than image.
Sure, it lets you self define pronouns with he, she, or they, as well as customise an avatar in any way you like, but there's no real celebration of identity beyond that. A rainbow flag on a parade doesn't make an LGBT+ festival.