Singapore’s Second Preventive Drug Education Mobile Game Application, ‘Nelzon’

Everyone knows that drugs are dangerous and that we should never ever take drugs; yes, not even once because drugs can damage the brain, heart, and other important vital organs. People who abuse drugs do not cope well in school, sports, and other activities and more often than not, drug abusers do foolish things that could hurt themselves or even their loved ones. Hence, we all have a part to play in the fight against drugs and recently, in a collaboration between the Preventive Education Unit of the Central Narcotics Bureau and the students from the School of Interactive and Digital Media, Nanyang Polytechnic; Singapore’s second preventive drug education mobile game application [after Aversion], ‘Nelzon’ was launched by Mr Masagos Zulkifli, Minister, Prime Minister’s Office and Second Minister for Home Affairs and Foreign Affairs.

Launched to increase the awareness of the detrimental effects caused by drug abuse, Nelzon is a 2D survival runner game where players take Nelzon’s [Avatar] role to evade and battle the Evil Conscience and Gangster who constantly appears from nowhere to tempt Nelzon into taking drugs. Players will have to guide his avatar by jumping and sliding to avoid obstacles and drugs across 5 different game scenarios while collecting sufficient rewards such as Coins, Books and Power-Ups to last him through the day. The longer Nelzon survives, the total number of days increases!

What I think of the game?

I personally enjoyed playing Nelzon and I must say, I am still quite hooked to the game as I constantly challenge myself to see how long I can survive in the game. So far, my record is only 6 days even though I have maxed out my upgrades. With more practise, I believe I might be able to hit a record of 8 days.

From the game, I learnt the dangerous effects of three different drugs; cannabis, ecstasy, and heroin and during the gameplay, each drug will cause the player’s avatar to have different reaction that makes controlling the avatar quite challenging.

Though the game has a really simple setup, I like the fact that there is no in-game purchases or annoying pop-up advertisements. Having said that, the game could do with some improvements such as adding special features, a sequel to the storyline, or even a quiz/contest.

The Gameplay

At the home screen of the game, players can either choose to start the game or reset the game data to start afresh. Like I mentioned, the gameplay is rather simple. You will have to guide the avatar to avoid obstacles like tables, chairs, flower pots, drugs and etc. by jumping over them or sliding under them. Occasionally, the Evil Conscience and Gangster will cause the avatar to consume drugs and depending on the kind of drug that was consumed; the avatar will react differently.

Consuming heroin will slow down the avatar and consuming cannabis will cause a shaky distortion to disorientate the avatar. Personally, what really irritated me was the consumption of ecstasy as it will cause the jump and slide controls to alternate with one another; thus mixing up the controls and causing me to have difficulty coordinating the jump and slide functions.

There are two gauges that belong to the avatar. One is the coin gauge [quite similar to a HP gauge] and the other is the book gauge. For every time that the avatar bumps into an obstacle, the coin gauge will decrease significantly and when it reaches zero, it is game over. However, with that being said, you can replenish both the coin and book gauges by collecting the coins and books or cause it to decrease slowly through upgrades.

There are 3 upgrades that you can utilise and they are; coin and book gauge decrease slowly, power-up lasts longer, and penalty cost decrease. To effect an upgrade, a pre-determined number of coins and books are required. So, the more coins and books you collect, the better it is for you to get multiple upgrades.

To make the gameplay even simpler, there are two power-ups that exist in the game; the magnet and the immunity shield. Personally, I find the immunity shield more useful than the magnet because the immunity shield will protect the avatar from obstacles that will decrease the coin gauge while the magnet only aids the avatar to collect more coins and books.

What is most challenging for me in the game is probably the fact that the avatar has only got one life and if the avatar dies, the player is given only 1 chance to revive the avatar before the game is really over.

My final thoughts?

Well, Nelzon left one deep impression upon me and it got me thinking about the YOLO [you only live once] hype that was and is still quite popular. While many youths go with the notion that you got to try everything at least once in your lifetime because you only live once, I would beg to differ because I rather not try drugs even for once because it will destroy the one and only life I have in this lifetime.

After all, we’ve only got one life to live. Instead of taking chances thinking that it is the easy way out; why not make the best out of our lives by doing something meaningful, healthy, and productive?

Well, so much for being so serious but really, if you’re interested to play the game, the Nelzon Mobile Game Application can be downloaded for free on both the Google Play Store & the Apple App Store!

Also, there are many different Facebook Contests that the Central Narcotics Bureau is organising on their “Life Does Not Rewind” Facebook Page. There will be 1 contest a week over a span of 12 weeks and each contest allows 2 lucky winners, picked through a lucky draw format, to win SGD$50 Capita-Malls Vouchers EACH!

Hint: If you have downloaded and played Nelzon, it might give you an advantage in the Facebook Contests because some questions are quite related to the game.

Happy Gaming!