What’s better: A button to unlock all unlocks, or the spell Fireball?

Last time you decided—by a margin of a mere three votes—that drawing Frog Detective’s magnifying glass is better than drawing Blade Runner’s gun. That might be the closest result yet. Now if only Frog Detective could become a Blade Runner charged with helping attend a big dance party. Onwards! This week, I ask you to pick between a thing that skips frustration and a thing that is always, always there for you. What’s better: a button to unlock all unlocks or the spell Fireball?

A button to unlock all unlocks

In so many games today, everything from roguelikelike dungeon crawlers to your plain old regular multiplayer FPS, you have to unlock things before you can play with them. Reach rank 50. Get 500 kills with this. Beat the game 17 times. Hit a 10-win streak. Beat this with every character. And those can be fun challenges, it’s true, and it can be a helpful learning curve, it’s true, but don’t you often just want the stuff?

I’ve played loads more Slice & Dice since it spread to Steam alongside a huge update. That is a game which has stuff. So much stuff! The dice-building dungeon crawler unlocks new items, enemies, characters, class types, and other such usual things, then whole other systems layered on top of a run. Normally you’d have to do loads of specific things to get them all, or you could just hop into a menu at any point and click the button to unlock them all. Everything, right here for you, right now. The stuff is yours. You wanted it, you’ve got it.

Slice & Dice also demonstrates why you might not want to click the button, mind. I started a new run and was overwhelmed by the array of odd modifiers and niche classes and powerful enemies and weird items. Honestly, I’m not yet ready for all this. It would be exciting escalation and revelation over time but not in one lump, thank you. It would be different if unlocks were all straightforward upgrades (who wouldn’t want those instantly?) but this is a lot to get my head around, and not in a way I find fun. I have unchecked the option and gone back to doing everything the hard way, slowly. Maybe again later, when I only have a few fiddly bits left.

Dire warnings of unlocking everything at once in a Slice & Dice screenshot.

Dire warnings of unlocking everything at once in a Slice & Dice screenshot.

Uh oh | Image credit: Rock Paper Shotgun/Tann

The spell Fireball

A classic. You know it, you love it. Maybe Fireball doesn’t summon gods or open gateways to gunrealms or have a three-minute casting animation, but what it does do is punch someone in the face with a solid lump of fire from thirty paces. Reliable, trustworthy, familiar Fireball. Your oldest friend. If in doubt, try a Fireball; it’ll probably see you right. Something feels off in games which have magic but not a Fireball. Who are these wizards so enamoured with frouffy aetherweaving that they don’t consider just putting a banging Fireball on it? And sure you might have a Fireblast and a Firewave too but you know that often the simplest solution is the best: a solid ball of fire.

After you walked lost and weary through the desert of your life then looked back to see a trail of glass in place of your footprints at your hardest times, that was when Fireball carried you.

But which is better?

You know, the button to unlock all unlocks would improve so many games. I have been so annoyed grinding out levels in multiplayer shooters before I get the chunky revolver I crave, and fallen on my face so many times jumping through so many ridiculous hoops for unlocks in The Binding Of Isaac: Rebirth and others. But Fireball… Fireball would be there with me from the start. Fireball would never put me through nonsense. Fireball’s my best mate. Hmm. I can’t decide. What do you think, reader dear?

Pick your winner, vote in the poll below, and make your case in the comments to convince others. We’ll reconvene next week to see which thing stands triumphant—and continue the great contest.

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