News Article

The Letter Plummets to a New Low With eShop Discount

Posted by Thomas Whitehead

Less than 50¢

In the last generation there were consistent arguments that the DSi and Wii download stores were a little too expensive and inflexible, while access for developers was excessively difficult. We've seen changes on both scores in the 3DS and Wii U eShop platforms, while lower-priced games have begun to gain more interest, with Gunman Clive on 3DS earning plenty of early praise for delivering high quality at a budget cost.

The Wii U eShop has gone further, of course, and a range of titles now utilise price points below $2, particularly Nintendo Web Framework games. Aside from rare and limited free-to-play options, The Letter may have just brought us a new pricing low with its discount.

We're not sure that price-point's been hit before now, though BLOK DROP U has had discounts to prices a little higher. The presence of The Letter in the eShop charts in North America may frustrate some, however, as its low price inevitably tempts impulse buys despite being widely panned — its Metacritic rating is 14% from four scores, and we awarded it 1/10 in our own review.

We've discussed issues of quality control on the eShop, a topic on which we will be following up with a range of developers in the coming days.

What do you think of this discount? Are promotions like this a good thing for the Wii U eShop, or is there a danger of going too low and distorting the online market? Let us know what you think in the comments below.

Thanks to Ryan Millar for the tip.


From the web

Game Screenshots

User Comments (85)



SheldonRandoms said:

I sent the devs a letter with 49 cents in it............though I forgot to put the 49 cents in!! :U



WiiLovePeace said:

They'd have to pay me to get me to download this game I love supporting indie developers but when the quality isn't there, the developer isn't supporting me, the player. Buying games is a two way street.

Plus I ain't into horror games anyway



9th_Sage said:

I kind of want to get it for 50 cents. It seems like quite the trainwreck.



NodesforNoids said:

Not even worth 50 cents. I'd have to be paid to play this for myself.
Treefall's dev has found the stupidest gamers on Miiverse and he's milking his fame for another 'game'.
Which is idiocy: the Letter is as bad as it is due to a failed Kickstarter. But really, looking at the Maze.. would a successful Kickstarter have helped? His engine, art, assets, controls, story, music and gameplay aren't even subpar, they are insults to the technological progression and the advancement of the games industry over these last 25 years.



0utburst said:

I read somewhere here in the comments section:
"A thousand more of these games, and the Wii U could compete against the mobile/tablet market". LMAO



yoko19191 said:

I made fun of this game and that bad IQ Test game on Miiverse the other day, and the developer responded saying that I was just mad because I was too dumb to beat IQ Test... what?



NodesforNoids said:

Unfortunately, those Miiverse gamers look at a game, like MK8 at 65$, and justify the Letter for being 130x cheaper (or 33x cheaper, seeing as many of them purchased it at 2$).
The Letter isn't a fraction of a percentage of a MK8, Rayman Legends or DKC. It isn't worth the handful of hours it took to program it. It isn't worth the time it takes to download. It isn't worth going through the steps to download it. It isn't worth the space on the Wii U's HDD.
I've wished the dev good luck fixing it, because 'I don't think you can or will'.



Olmectron said:

Its developer said on Miiverse he would discount it 75%, one or two days ago. He also presented a trailer of his next Wii U "game" in that post.

I often check the verified users' posts. I don't follow this guy, even if he was the last Wii U developer in the world.



FishieFish said:

Is it that cheap in Europe too?
I want to download it just to see how awful it truly is.



ElkinFencer10 said:

This is the Wii U's version of the Atari 2600's ET; it's so bad that it's not worth ANYTHING, but it's still something that a lot of us will want to play BECAUSE it's so bad. It's just something some of us need to experience. I, I'm ashamed to say, downloaded it when it was still $2 after reading NL's review.



unrandomsam said:

This guy should be commended at least he is trying to do something about the game drought.



Hero-of-WiiU said:

I will get it now with the new price tag, but if any game should be at serious fault it's Jett Tailfin! Awfully, pathetically, overpriced.



Samurai_Goroh said:

I wouldn't touch this with a ten foot pole even if it was free. Not worth the waste of storage on my Wii U and more importantly, not worth my time.



SetupDisk said:

I got it just to piss off the people on Miiverse that don't want it to sell any more copies. Well worth the 2 bucks.



rumple88 said:

There's entertainment in enjoying something horrible. I don't think my expectations can be any lower in fact. So worst game on the eshop here I come! Also I have an idea..."eShop remix"



JamesCoote said:

A lot of devs probably want to do free to play, but the eShop is just not set up for it. Yes, it's possible, but the implementation is really not set up for micro transactions, vs buying $5 or $10 DLC in a single go for an AAA title.



yoko19191 said:

@RCMADIAX I deleted the post in embarrassment because even more people yelled me trying to convince me that these games were good... But I kid you not: this did happen!



Stu13 said:

$.50 for a five minute laugh before deleting it? That's tempting, honestly.



Mr-X9000 said:

meh, its 50 cents, so i shall take the plunge into the dark world of "the letter"



SetupDisk said:

Also I want to see if he actually finishes the game. It would be pretty cool to see the game change over time.



Zodiak13 said:

Everyone gets so worked up on this game. Have we all forgotten Superman N64?? Bad games come in all price points, thankfully this was $2 originally, so your out less than a cup of coffee if you bought it unknowingly. Just remember, there are those games from RCMADIAX that are dirt cheap and yet functional and fun. Win some lose some, in the end its just a game.



ToxieDogg said:

Meh. Eli's not released it in Europe yet. And hopefully never will. It's an interesting experiment to release something that only obviously took half a day to create onto the E-Shop for cheap to see how many suckers will be fished in, but I really don't think he deserves any more money out of this.



Drawdler said:

If it were available here, I don't know wether I'd buy this because of how bad it apparently is, or leave it be because of how bad it apparently is...

Hopefully the developer will use the money they get from this to release it elsewhere, because who am I kidding? I'd buy this and I want this.
I'd feel bad supporting a game I know is awful, but I'm a masochist for them. Except Sonic 06. Because long load screens are my breaking point.



Stu13 said:

Yeah, I'm downloading it now. Just couldn't pass it up for the lulz. Can't wait to terrorize the Miiverse community.



sinalefa said:

I saw it and did not pick it up.

The Letter could be so much better...

...because there is no way it could be any worse!



MadAdam81 said:

@unrandomsam The drought could never be bad enough to make me want something that foul. Although maybe I would need to be near death and mad from starvation and dehydration to find even one iota of enjoyment from it.
A rip off at 50c times 10,000 customers is still $1,000, enough for them to churn out another blight on gaming.



Airola said:

I'd buy this in a heartbeat if it was available in Europe and as cheap as that!

Sometimes bad amateur games have much more charm than bad professional games. Professionals know what they are doing so there's no room for randomness and abstractions. Games like The Letter, however, are more like stepping into a virtual world that feels unstable and insane; in other words, much more interesting!

Plus, that guy has some serious balls to venture into the world of angry video gamers!



DarkJamD said:

With that price i would buy it if it was released in Europe. It's more expensive than those 30cent VC games in sale but still 50cent is just a bag of cheap noodles.



Mrclaycoat said:

I bought it last night just to try it out and I cannot figure out where to access the controls screen. Nothing on the manual either.



BakaKnight said:

The devastating critics combined with a cheap price will drag LOTS of curious customer to buy the game just for see for themselves how bad it is.

That's how you make money without doing any effort, in a certain way the developper had a very good idea, let's face it >_>;;;

(Sure is the same "good" idea that is slowly ruining the industry, but as long as people will buy these games then on a business perspective this idea will always appear excellent -o-;;; )



komodo182 said:

I'll bite for 50 cents.
Even if I laugh at it, it would be worth the 50 cents haha



sleepinglion said:

I wouldn't pay 1 cent for this lousy offering.
Just having it on my Wii U would feel... wrong.



DerpSandwich said:

Buying this game even for 50 cents only encourages people to release unfinished games. Not everyone deserves support just because they're making games. Their games have actually got to be worth something.



unrandomsam said:

@Airola Yeah I enjoyed Manos and the Hands of Fate for that reason. It reminded me of what I remembered the NES to be like more than Shovel Knight.



KodyDawg said:

That's it, I'm getting it. I know it's horrible, but some Miiverse friends of mine have been posting pics, and now I'm kinda intrigued.



DreamOn said:

Buy a good game, buy a bad game, or buy this game, whatever the hell floats your boat. lol



IronMan28 said:

I bought it, had to see how bad it really is. So far, it's bad, but it feels like watching a B movie, you can't expect much to begin with.



BarryDunne said:

Why hasn't this come to the European eShop yet? I really want to get this to try it out myself lol



allav866 said:

Never played a bad game knowing it was bad... Guess now's as good a time as any. See you in Miiverse, folks!



SCAR said:

Well, I already saw the playthrough, so it's kind of pointless. 50¢ is tempting, regardless. That's why smartphone games sell well, even if they are below average.



Stu13 said:

I'm going to have to beat this 10 more times before I log an hour so I can give it a 1 star rating on the eShop.



reali-tglitch said:

He had a budget of $377 to make the game, people-- let's not forget that.

I bought it at full price, especially since he has promised updates that will expand-- not finish-- the game, so I will hold him to it.



Boidoh said:

I used my free $5.00 to get this. I only had .38 extra so...

And if they say it'll have DLC, its a deal.



TheWPCTraveler said:

If I had a Wii U, I'd get this for the free Club Nintendo points...assuming Nintendo puts 'em out for this!



ZachBeacon said:


I was thinking the same thing. 10 cents per coin is the best deal you're likely to get outside of freebies. However I'm having Club N issues right now (Super Mario Kart survey never showed up) so i don't even get that benefit now.



Iggly said:

Huh, this discount will still be here once I arrive back at Canada. Free Club Nintendo Coins here I come.



retro_player_22 said:

I already tried it on my friend's Wii U and didn't like it so I'm not wasting a cent on this boredom of a game.



unrandomsam said:

@reali-tglitch Not sure what I think of budgets and the importance people seem to place on them. Astebreed (Highest Rated PC game on Metacritic in 2014 so far) was made by people working other jobs in their spare time as a hobby. It is rated higher than Shovel Knight that had people working just on it. Maybe the Japanese are just better and more hard working I dunno.



sleepinglion said:

To the folks getting it to see how terrible it is... you're part of the problem now.
It's why Michael Bay keeps getting handed the keys to 80s and 90s childhood franchises: people keep paying for them.
It's your cash, but flying willingly into something universally panned as horrible isn't supporting the video game industry. It's encouraging the release of more junk.



Airola said:

@sleepinglion Yeah, people keep paying for them because they are entertained by them in a way or another.

I've also paid for countless of truly abysmal trash movies from the no budget 70's sleaze to the modern low budget mockbusters by Asylum Entertainment. I can't understand why Michael Bay is thrown into discussions of bad entertainment. Their artistic merit can be discussed, but his movies are at the very least really well crafted.

I see The Letter as an experiment of sort. It's really interesting to see how the game evolves as the developer has said to update it from time to time, and he tries to add things people are asking for and he's trying to change some things the game is criticized for. Sure, there are gazillions of free games on the internet that are as amateurish as this is and they are updating those games regularly, but those games are hardly downloaded and played by anyone. This is perhaps the first time a game like that breaks into the knowledge of big amount of video game players, and which breaks the gaming news threshold. It's really rare in any entertainment medium to have a product that can show the evolution of a "z-grade" amateur game/movie/music/painting/etc to so many people. And the fact that it's for sale and the creator gets money out of it just gives the whole thing a bizarre twist, a sense of rumble, a shake to the gaming culture.

Oh, I love so much that The Letter happened!
(too bad it's not on the European eShop though)



ToxieDogg said:

@reali-tglitch Pixel made Cave Story by himself with a zero budget, and then distributed it as freeware.

A $377 budget is no excuse whatsoever for this travesty of a 'game' that Treefall expect people to pay for.



ToxieDogg said:

I'm also curious to know what the deal with their other game The Night Detective is? They ran a Kickstarter for it early last year that was successful (they were only asking for $750, and made a lot of wild promises that it would cater to the casual and hardcore gamer and feature boss battles etc, as in this video. The whole presentation of the game looked very amateurish at best to me.....

However it was delayed for a long time until they suddenly announced it was released last month. I've only been able to find a couple of mini player reviews but one of them seems to suggest that it feels short and unfinished

This is completely unacceptable. Eli's excuse for The Letter was that it didn't reach it's Kickstarter target, so what's his excuse for The Night Detective?



MAB said:

Sounds reasonable... I have paid full retail price for some very poor 3DS games that are nowhere near as good as this



MoonKnight7 said:


"I'm going to have to beat this 10 more times before I log an hour so I can give it a 1 star rating on the eShop."

This made me lol. Good luck friend.



Windy said:

I think they should take all the last gen DSi titles and start offering big discounts on them. Supposedly its up to the Devs to offer a sale on games. seriously those old games are going to just sit there and rot. whynot generate some interest and sell them at a reasonable price. I already have Zenonia which I payed 7.99 for its a decent game but its been. 99 cents in the android market for years. whynot do the same and lower the prices on older software? Also look at that new shooter which hit the 3ds eshop 2 weeks ago at 29.99. They havent sold 20 copies of it and will not sell much more unless they lower they lower the price. I dont even think 19.99 will be low enough to start selling a huge amount on that game. its really plain an You would think that if your game isnt selling you would lower the price to start selling it. plain and simple there are a plethora of Eshop games which should get the lower price tag. The Dev of The Letter is a freakin genius for lowering the price of his game

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