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Android App Review: Hair Removal - Free games

15 Oct 13

I know sometimes in these reviews I’m mean to app games that are poorly thought out, lazily made, or cynically designed to manipulate you into looking at ads or buying more stuff.

But Hair Removal manages to trump all the previous ones by taking all those negative qualities and adding in a healthy dose of gendered stereotypes and body shaming.

It would almost be funny if it wasn’t so abysmal. It was the description on the Play store that initially caught my eye:

“Oh, my god, there are so many hairs on my face in such a short time. Who can help me, please!”

But then I decided that actually, a game designed to a: increase hits on advertisements and b: teach girls and young women that the existence of hair on their bodies is disgusting and in need of immediate removal wasn’t something I wanted to dignify by saying it was funny, even in a mean way.

As for the game itself: well, you’re pulling out unwanted hairs. That really sums it up. But before you even get to that, as fun as that sounds, you’re first confronted with a full-screen ad. This is a bad start.

It also makes you look at another one if you fail a level, and possibly even if you just pause on the menu screen for too long (I’m not 100% sure that was the cause, but I couldn’t work out what else I was doing to make ads pop up).

There are no instructions, so when you play the game you’re just left to randomly guess whether you should be using the tweezers or the weird blue cotton bud, and even if you select the right tool the controls are so wonky and unresponsive that it might not even recognise that you’re trying to do the correct thing.

On top of it all when you go to install the app and it asks you for permissions, one of those is to access your phone calls. Why do you possibly need that, Hair Removal app?

Luckily I use this phone almost exclusively to download apps to review; otherwise I’d be really annoyed by your sinister behaviour.

Good points of this app: the illustrations are not awful, I guess.

Bad points: the gameplay (both in its design and execution), the concept, the relentless pushing of ads, the very society we live in that would let something like this not only exist, but get 3.3 out of 5 from its Play Store reviews. I’m embarrassed and saddened for us all.

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