Bean's Quest Android Review
Somewhere out there right now a developer is surely thumbing through a dictionary and idly wondering what the next unique character for a mobile game might be. Well, full marks to developer Kumobius for settling on the Mexican jumping bean, a character which offers gamers not just a unique agent to play with, but also a new platform mechanic that's tied up intrinsically with the old bean's nature.
Transformed from human form to that of a humble jumping bean thanks to a terrible curse, main character Emilio jumps continually whether you'd like him to or not (the latter, most frequently). The game accordingly centers around steering him gently towards the end goal of a variety of platform stages filled with spikes, critters and swings. The first of these areas, the Grasslands zone, introduces some of the more basic challenges of the game, although we use that word in the very loosest sense.
Nothing about the game is necessarily all that easy, but Bean's Quest rewards players with some cunning game design that slowly combines the various platform elements together in order to create ever more fiendish platform challenges. It's this combination of fearsome challenge with a gentle teasing of player ability that has earned the game a loyal fan-base ever since it hopped onto the App Store, and it's a fan-base likely to grow now that the game is available to Android gamers.
The control system of Bean's Quest is one that takes no small amount of time to become accustomed to, conditioned as we all are to controlling character direction with the left thumb, and action with the right. You will come to a sticky end in the early stages as you attempt to pointlessly control Bean's jump timing. But if we're all going to be forgiven a moan from time to time about the creeping sense of deja vu that accompanies so many mobile games, then this is something we need to accommodate ourselves if we're to enjoy new things.
And accommodate it you will. Before long, you learn to focus less on controlling every aspect of Emilio's movement and more on the delicate timing required to pass through the blended elements of the game, grabbing spare gems whenever you can. It's just as well really, as there are certain sections of the game that involve challenges more reminiscent of skill games like Trials as you steer balls towards gaps that need filling, or handle crashing enemies.
Mere survival of a level is often enough to make you feel proud. For the more masochistic, every level offers up challenges that involve completing a level within a horrifyingly small number of jumps, or collecting every gem contained within. These additional challenges serve to ensure that there's no shortage of replay value for your money.
It's lucky that Bean's Quest has the charm and careful design that it does, or many would likely give up before heading deeper inside. Thankfully, it's an exceptionally well-checkpointed game, without punishing level completion requirements. Even if you can't obtain a perfect score on each level (good luck with that), a little planning and steady hands will ensure that you make brisk progress throughout the campaign. One thing's for certain, no-one will ever again be able to complain that hardcore games are impossible to create on mobile devices.
What's Hot: An incredible challenge if you have the stomach for it, and a game that offers up a unique character.
What's Not: Not a game for the impatient or weak of heart! Some of the platform challenges will bring you out in a cold sweat.