Fast & Spurious
In this world of conmen and rubes, of flimflammers and all-day suckers, one needs to be wary of what they install on their mobile device. When I took it upon myself to review the newest Android racing title, Upgradem, something about it didn’t pass my smell test. But was I just being paranoid? Surely game dev Yuvrajsinh Chudasma is legit, right? I mean, they’ve been around for almost a month now, so someone as seasoned as them would never betray my trust. Yep, it’d take something pretty huge to shake my faith in my buddy Yuvrajsinh. Now to take a long sip of water before browsing the game’s preview screenshots…
Am I seeing this right? That’s… that’s just stills from GTA V overlaid with a fake, flashy UI. No, this can’t be right. If my man Yuvrajsinh says, “Upgradem is the amazing car racing game download now,” then, by God, I’m going to download now. I’m sure this’ll all get sorted out once I boot up this amazing car racing game.
So as I’m sure you’ve put together by now, Upgradem, “the professional racing game,” is a scam. Despite being advertised as a “super exciting and extreme fast-paced formula racing game,” it’s nothing more than the most basic flash racer clone imaginable. The extent of its gameplay is controlling whether a clip art car turns left or right as a clip art background whizzes by at a motion sickness-inducing speed. Enemy AI is nonexistent. There are nine identical levels, and the whole shebang takes about 20 minutes to finish in its entirety.
As for the “upgrade” aspect of Upgradem, after you finish each course you’re prompted to spend your winnings on upgrading four aspects of your car. These do absolutely nothing. That’s right. I was nothing more than a lab rat in Yuvrajsinh Chudasma’s cage, futilely pressing a button to receive pleasure until I eventually starved.
By this point you might be wondering to yourself, “Why? To what end?” Why pass off some hastily thrown together, zero effort pile as the next GTA? Well, the rising temperature of my phone’s battery can answer that quite easily. My once trusted friend Yuvrajsinh was using me to mine cryptocurrency. Hijacking my phone’s CPU via background processes while, none the wiser, I would “gather formula crew and get to the racing track and practice your turns and tricks which will come in handy for the racing championship.”
A quick look at Yuvrajsinh’s profile on Google Play shows a total of four apps, all published around the same time in late September. Two of these claim to be free streaming apps with unlimited access to every show and film ever made. These fraudulent apps have accrued tens of thousands of installs as of this writing. All of this begs the question: Can I get in on this? Because apparently grifting marks is stupid easy.
Is It Hardcore?
Borderline malware aside, those 20 or so minutes of moving a little car left and right totally distracted me from thinking about the climate crisis. So that’s a win in my book.