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Circuit Breaker

The Finger Spinner iOS game is about free-to-play monetization, not fidget spinning

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Of course it’s the top app in the App Store

Fidget spinners are the most important thing happening in our culture right now, so it's only natural that a free-to-play iOS game called Finger Spinner is at the top of the charts.

To save you the trouble of downloading it and finding out: yes, it's bad. It's not just that it’s low quality; it's bad in a moral sense, too.

Here are the basics: there's a fidget spinner on the screen, and you swipe to spin it. But! You only get a few swipes, and then you watch the spinner (quickly) lose momentum. You get coins for however many spins you managed, and then you use those coins to upgrade your fidget spinner so it spins longer, or at a higher maximum speed. Over time you unlock new fidget spinners with funky designs and hardly tolerable spinning sounds.

It's basically a clicker game, but with only three meaningful upgrades (offline coin earning is the third), and so, of course, that means there are ads you can watch to earn more coins. You know what you can't do while you watch an ad? Spin the fidget spinner!

There's an in-app purchase to turn off ads, but that only turns off the banner at the bottom (which leaves behind a blank space where the ad was) and the occasional ads that interrupt you after you complete a spin. Also, every single spin ends with a reward screen, where you can collect your coins and share your progress on Facebook or Twitter as if you've done something to be proud of.

The whole app is basically designed to minimize your time fidget spinning while maximizing ad impressions. I don't know why I expected anything different. But it's wrong, and I'm sad now.