Review: Mountain Dew Game Fuel Horde Red


In March, Pepsi announced that 2 new versions of Mountain Dew Game Fuel would be hitting the marketplace for a limited time this summer. Themed to tie into the World of Warcraft massively multiplayer online role-playing game (MMORPG), a citrus red version and a wild fruit blue version were created. Today we take a look at Mountain Dew Game Fuel Horde Red.

Mountain Dew Game Fuel Horde Red
Mountain Dew Game Fuel Horde Red

If this drink looks familiar, that’s because it is! Pepsi has confirmed that Mountain Dew Game Fuel Horde Red is the same formula as the first Game Fuel flavor that was available in 2007, tied to the release of the Halo 3 game on the Xbox 360. I know a lot of Dew fans are welcoming its return, no matter how its branded.

Mountain Dew Game Fuel Horde Red
Game Fuel’s Cherry flavor returns!

Having hit the stores here in June, it’s officially available for 8-10 weeks. Based on the June 8 date of Pepsi’s press release, that ends the run between August 3-17, most likely dependent on local supplies (much like we’ve seen with the inventories of Pepsi Throwback and Mountain Dew Throwback fading away, much to our dismay). For those wondering, the original Mountain Dew Game Fuel had a 12 week run.

Mountain Dew Game Fuel Horde Red
It’s the infamous “Mtn Dew” logo

This is the first Mountain Dew spinoff flavor to use the new “Mtn Dew” spelling noted in the revised logo. This is curious because since that name spelling change, we’ve seen the official rollout of the DEWmocracy winning beverage Mountain Dew Voltage — which is being shipped using the old style Mountain Dew logo — even though there are filed trademarks and logos for the spelling “Mtn Dew Voltage”. Are you confused yet?

Mountain Dew Game Fuel Horde Red
Forget the Halo, it’s all about WoW!

Like the original Halo 3-inspired Mountain Dew Game Fuel, it seems the emphasis of this drink promotion isn’t really about the Dew itself, but more about the marketing tie-in. Pepsi probably devotes 2-3 sentences to the drink in the announcement press release, touching solely on the fact that “Mtn Dew Game Fuel is available in two varieties that represent the opposing factions of the game: citrus-cherry-flavored Horde Red and wild fruit-flavored Alliance Blue” and “Mtn Dew Game Fuel will be available in 20-ounce single serve bottles and 12-packs of 12-ounce cans from June through the summer. A full slate of advertising will support the product’s launch with TV and radio spots created by BBDO NY and digital from Tribal DDB.”

The rest of the copy, I think, speaks to the real purpose of this drink. Here’s an excerpt:

To celebrate the launch of the two beverages, Mtn Dew, working in partnership with Blizzard Entertainment, is offering World of Warcraft players an in-game pet, known as a “battle-bot,” available exclusively through the promotional Web site http://www.warcraft.com/Dew. This site also offers an extended 14-day free downloadable trial of the game.

Mountain Dew Game Fuel Horde Red
Choose a side online!
(Source: MountainDewGameFuel.com)

Throughout the summer, visitors also have the chance to win great gaming related prizes every 15 minutes for 84 days with Mtn Dew Game Fuel’s “Choose Your Side” promotion, resulting in 96 giveaways per day — a grand total of over 8,000 prizes. Among the prizes are Alienware Notebook computers and Razer Gaming Peripherals, such as headphones, speakers and keyboards, as well as Mtn Dew Game Fuel/ World of Warcraft branded gear and apparel.

“We are thrilled to be collaborating with Blizzard Entertainment to harness the power of one of the most popular and recognizable game franchises,” said Frank Cooper, chief marketing officer of sparkling beverages, Pepsi-Cola North America Beverages. “We’re giving players a new way to experience World of Warcraft and a new way to experience Dew.
Both of us, and more importantly, the consumers, will benefit from the partnership.”

Mountain Dew Game Fuel Horde Red
Earn tokens for the chance to win prizes!
(Source: MountainDewGameFuel.com)

“We’re pleased to be working closely with Mtn Dew to bring this opportunity both to our own community and to the broader gaming audience as a whole,” said Paul Sams, chief operating officer of Blizzard Entertainment. “In addition to putting thousands of great prizes up for grabs, this promotion offers World of Warcraft players a new way to show their Horde or Alliance pride out in the real world.”

Forget the taste, it’s all about World of Warcraft! But I guess that’s where we come in, right?

This time around, the drink is available in both 20 oz. bottles and 12 oz. cans in 12-packs, just like the original Game Fuel. The Horde Red flavor features a label with a red/orange/yellow/black color scheme, with the “Mtn Dew” logo showcased in an angular, creamy-colored font. The World of Warcraft logo prominently appears above the Dew logo, while a small subtitle denoting “Dew with a Blast of Cherry Citrus Flavor” sits towards the bottom.

Mountain Dew Game Fuel Horde Red
This guy… he’s scary

It should be noted that nowhere on the packaging is the phrase “Horde Red” used to describe the flavor. In fact, on Pepsi’s own product facts website, they refer to this flavor as “Mountain Dew Game Fuel – Citrus Cherry”. Granted, that same site also notes that “Citrus Cherry represents the Horde, who have banded together to ensure their mutual survival against the supression of the Alliance.” Not being a World of Warcraft player (I’m more of a Clue boardgame guy myself), I hope I don’t lose all credibility by not being able to identify the creepy green character featured on the Horde Red label. I’m sure that will be rectified in the comments! :)

Mountain Dew Game Fuel Citrus Cherry
Non-branded Review Can for Horde Red flavor

The color of the beverage has a red hue, but more of an orange-red. It’s not as red as Mountain Dew Code Red. The smell upon opening the bottle brings you back to Kool-Aid, of all things… the Tropical Punch flavor to be exact.

Just like our first review of this red flavor, we were greeted by a tangy, but mild taste. It didn’t seem as biting or acidic as classic Mountain Dew. The subdued tone reminded me quite a bit of the muted cherry flavor found in Vault Red Blitz. While the flavoring was definitely “red”, it was not overly cherry. A good correlation might be that Mountain Dew Game Fuel is to cherry soda what Mountain Dew LiveWire is to orange soda — in both cases, they seem like they’d be part of the same families, but aren’t quite. Game Fuel is sort of its own thing. It doesn’t really resemble Code Red at all, which one would assume it would.

Mountain Dew Game Fuel Horde Red
Yup, it’s got high fructose corn syrup

Given that this drink is loaded with our friend high fructose corn syrup (HFCS) — oh Mountain Dew Throwback, please come back! — you are greeted with a pretty syrupy aftertaste that isn’t very clean at all. If you are used to the way Dew tastes and frankly just want the buzz, this probably won’t phase you one bit. But if you are more of a beverage connoisseur (is there such a thing?), you may be correlating the experience with that of cough medicine. There’s a fruity flavor there with hints of citrus and watermelon, but it’s not the best Dew line extension by any means. As I noted before, I’d put it in a classification with Mountain Dew LiveWire, which I personally feel is an underwhelming drink that isn’t really worthy of the Mountain Dew brand.

Here’s what’s inside:

Mountain Dew Game Fuel Horde Red
Carbonated water, high fructose corn syrup, citric acid, natural flavor, sodium benzoate (preserves freshness), gum arabic, caffeine, sodium citrate, Yellow 5, glycerol ester of wood rosin, calcium disodium edta (to protect flavor), Yellow 6, Red 40, brominated vegetable oil

A 20 oz. bottle of Mountain Dew Game Fuel Horde Red will cost you 290 calories, and give you 110 mg of sodium, and 77 g of carbs — all of which are sugars. But as we all know, the big difference with Game Fuel vs. the rest of the Dew lineup is the caffeine content, which has historically been high. (Do you expect anything less for the gamer demographic?)

Mountain Dew Game Fuel Horde Red
Hey, there’s another logo on the back!

Mountain Dew Game Fuel Horde Red breaks down to 6.0 mg/oz of caffeine. In contrast, original Mountain Dew contains 4.5 mg/oz., while Coke’s Vault has 5.875 mg/oz. These numbers aren’t really close to the energy drink leaders, where Red Bull has 9.64 mg/oz. and Monster clocks in with 10.00 mg/oz.

Mountain Dew Game Fuel Citrus Cherry
Note Citrus Cherry branding, not Horde Red

The return of Mountain Dew Game Fuel supports Pepsi’s strategy of short-term line extensions to build interest around their brands. Dew has quite the track record in this area, having seen more spin-offs than probably any other PepsiCo product. For example, do you remember these limited-time flavors?

In the end, it’s great to see the return of Mountain Dew Game Fuel, now expanded to 2 flavors. Horde Red is a flashback to 2007′s original flavor, which did have a distinct cherry-ish taste, but was also quite syrupy. The real advantage of this drink is the 6.0 mg/oz of caffeine, far greater than you’d find in original Dew. If you want a buzz, this is your beverage!