It has been a while since we last got a proper, full-blooded game based upon a leading musical act, but it's little surprise to find one sliding out from the loins of the world-conquering, zillion-selling, teenage girl-affecting, One Direction.
Unfortunately, with the recent abrupt departure of band member Zayn "The Brain" Malik, the timing couldn't be worse. However, the developers have promised an imminent update that will erase his allegedly cheating, quitting, beautiful face from both the game, and all of human history.
One Direction: 1D4U casts the player in the role of an unnamed fan, or "Directioner". An opening cutscene sees the fan losing her ticket to a concert - playing that night at the One Direction Stadium - as it's snatched from her hand in a gust of wind (which later turns out to be the work of an evil "Gust sprite").
What ensues, as she attempts to find a way to attend the concert - through the means of entering radio phone-in competitions, sneaking backstage disguised as a caterer, and parachuting in from a blimp shaped, inexplicably, like a sphinx - is a jarring mix of rhythm action game, point and click adventure, and mini-game anthology, that caters shamelessly to the band's fan demographic (albeit not always in the way you might expect).
Dream sequences see the player joining One Direction on stage in choreographed fantasy dance routines - the band represented as a mix of live action video, and slightly bizarre cartoon versions of themselves, with giant heads that appear so heavy and swollen that they must be supported at all times by an arrangement of wooden struts and chains - like something out of Hellraiser.
It's a weird stylistic choice in a game based upon a band known for its all-consuming dedication to being as accessible and mainstream as possible, but similar left-field choices are dotted throughout the game.
One Direction: 1D4U is in some respects exactly what you expect it to be - an exercise in interactive wish-fulfilment - and something that bucks expectations, and asks awkward questions about the nature of boyband fame.
Also, given the relatively young age of many (if not most) One Direction fans, there are some questionable judgements regarding taste. For instance, at one point a wizard attempts to magic the band out of existence, but due to the player's intervention his spell backfires, and it ends up giving him a "Wand erection".
There are also some bizarre moments where the main character's father leaves for a colonoscopy appointment (after he informs her that "I have blood in my stools"), and she worries about the consequences. These are depicted in the game by means of an 8-bit-style platform mini game, in which she attempts to avoid her fears and anxieties (which are represented by pineapple-faced wolves) that her father will return with bad news, and she'll feel obliged to miss the concert in order to stay home and comfort him.
Ultimately, it doesn't matter what we - or anyone else - thinks of One Direction: 1D4U. Frankly, it'd sell even if they wrapped a load of ghee up in a hearn's gizzard and priced it at £450 a pop. Still, hats off to them for not going the obvious route.
SCORE: 1D out of 10D