By | January 23, 2014

Just a quickie to point out in the likely case people missed it (most likely because you’re twenty years above the target age group), Ludus began on CBBC on Monday (and it’s on Mondays at 5pm), a new show where kids try and save their friends and family from becoming game characters owned by camp evil space alien Ludus, amusingly played by Tom Bell (you’ll all be doing the “for-evah!” hand gesture in the playgrounds I’m sure). They do this by playing giant touch screen games, some of which have been repurposed from an older show called Y Lifft. Cube Interactive has helped produce this show and have done the playalong app for it which I have yet to play, although apparently it will sync up even if you’re watching a recording which is clever. Cube also did the app for Y Lifft and also the rather good recent Catchphrase app.

The show’s fairly good fun (although some of the games seem to work better than others). The spaceship used to travel between levels has clearly been inspired by amazing sci-fi horror film Cube, and the end game has more than a touch of The Adventure Game vibing through it (although I wouldn’t for a second suggest it’s on the same level as the vortex really). Not bad.

10 thoughts on “Ludus

  1. NJ

    Watched this today, not too impressed. The games are nice enough but the usual issues of using a touchscreen are there. Wouldn’t be surprised if some games have been failed because the screen didn’t respond at a critical point. Also the endgame is rubbish.

    Basically it just made me want another series of Trapped.

    1. Brig Bother Post author

      I think I’d be more annoyed if any of it meant anything, but I found myself enjoying the show the more I bought into the lead character. I’d be interested to find out what the target audience thought if it, I might put it on for my nephew next time I see him.

  2. Greg

    I quite enjoyed it, yes not as good as Trapped but enjoyable. The key is going to be how many games do they have, if they have less than 20 games not sure i will watch more than a couple.

  3. Clive of Legend

    At least with Trapped, the fake jeopardy came along with a genuine competition, so it was a bit easier buying into the setting. A little annoying to find out at the end that the entire game was meaningless, as there was no winner nor any real victory condition. I suppose the app is the reason the show exists, but at least Y Lifft had a decent TV game to along with it.

    Ludus was incredibly obnoxious. The ridiculous appearance of Star King Bazoo but none of the menace, and he didn’t add anything to the show besides an annoying catchphrase and fairly stiff banter. Despite myself and the two paragraphs of whining, I did enjoy it, just wish it had a decent game to go along with the lovely visuals.

  4. James

    The new Dutch reality format Utopia has been picked up by Fox. It will air in a weekly slot.

  5. Chris M. Dickson

    It’s the 2014 The Satellite Game revival we were all crying out for!

    I’m with the consensus here. It’s cute, and it’s the sort of thing that I’m glad CBBC is doing. I suspect the “play along with the app” factor is particularly cool, and wonder how the details of which episode it is are transmitted to the app. (The sequence of flashing lights picked up by a camera? Sub-vocal audio codes picked up by a mic?) It also strikes me that this app has considerable potential for international sales, which is always a plus.

    While in general I approve of game shows that permit partial wins, and I certainly don’t mind shows with the ferocious difficulty of a Knightmare (where it was admitted that getting past each level was a partial win in itself), I thought something felt a little off here thematically, and would like to see good potential for the entire team and all the holograms to go home together. Accordingly, I was expecting the final game to be more of a gamble – say each kid had the choice to gamble their own safe passage home against a missing hologram box, maybe two missing hologram boxes, possibly including the safe passage of a kid who gambled in the final and lost. (I wouldn’t want the six precursor games to be meaningless and the final game always to be all or nothing, but using the first six games to establish the stakes for the final would work for me.)

    There’s a wee bit more repetition than I’d like. I’m glad to see that the 4E gesture is recorded each time with variability in the gesture, but the “trapped” graphic sequence and pilot references did start to grate. (At least they were very short.) Now I’ll grant that it’s said that kids like repetition, but I thought that that really only applied to those of Teletubbies age.

    Hard to judge the show overall when, as other people have suggested, its success will depend on the variety and quality of the games, and also to a lesser extent the quality of the skits between the games. I always quite liked watching people play video games on Gamesmaster, but these were rather less interesting and had little or no subtlety to them. I’ll also admit that I must be getting feeble in my old age as they were sufficiently fast that I found some of them surprisingly hard. Bah.

    My initial impression is that it would have got serious consideration for my fifth HoF vote for my ballot last year, in the context that last year was weak, but if there aren’t five better shows this year then it’s not disastrous.

  6. Nico W.

    I like Ludus, but when that space ship said “Pass Anita her sister!”, it looked like it was a galactic urn, not sure it was meant to look like that…
    Oh and that monkey as space ship captain is lovely. This four-ever gesture is one to watch, I bet some hip-hop artist is going to copy that.
    Well but that end game is really bad…

  7. Greg

    See the app had had an update, the games have gone from being quite a challenge, even on medium setting to being stupidly easy on hard.

    I want the harder difficulty back, but then again i am x3 the age of what i suspect the average age player to be 😀

  8. Andrew 'Kesh' Sullivan

    I’m about to catch up with Ludus as I’ve not seen any episodes of it as yet. I’ve downloaded the app to see if I can play along with it on my iPod. I’m looking at the screen before hitting Play on episode 1, and is it just me or does Ludus look a lot like Megamind from the film of the same name? Big blue bald head, ornate cape thing going on…

    1. Andrew 'Kesh' Sullivan

      Looks like I can’t play along with it. It’s VERY finicky on my iPod 4th Gen. Most of the time, it crashes as soon as it picks up the show, and the one time I DID get to the first game, as soon as it brought up how to play, it crashed there too.


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