There has been a veritable tidal wave of platformer games hitting the App Store recently, and it got us wondering what exactly is it about platform games that makes people go crazy with joy? Is it nostalgia for better times now lost? Or is it just that they’re damn awesome?
Well, we may never know the answer, but what we can do is enjoy this platformer invasion to its full extent. Bean’s Quest by Kumobius is one such platform game that has just recently been released on the App Store, and so we gave it a try.
Bean’s Quest is your classic jumping platformer, featuring a Mexican jumping bean (aptly named “Bean”) that bounces around, collecting diamonds and gems, while either avoiding or killing (via Mario-esque jump-on-head attacks) various koopa clones. Your character is constantly jumping, so your only concerns are the arrow buttons located on the left/right edges of the screen, that control the direction that Bean jumps to. There is of course inertia implemented in the physics engine that the game uses, and that means that you will be punished for the slightest miscalculation.
Collecting the diamonds and gems is very simple, but there are portions of some levels where if you don’t jump on a bouncer in the exact spot, you will miss a few diamonds, while being bounced into an area you can’t return from. This means you have to restart the level either from the beginning, or from the checkpoints that exist on each level. The checkpoints obviously help.
There are your usual hazards, in the form of marching/flying koopas umm…random enemies I guess, that your sombrero-wearing hero outright stomps on in the usual Mario-clone fashion. Spiked pits and other dangerous areas exist, and you will occasionally have to catch a moving platform (and stay on it) to avoid these areas. That may prove to be a bit of a hassle, given the inertia effect of the jumps.
Bean’s Quest is without a question the shortest platformer that I’ve personally ever played, but the developers do promise an update with 18 new levels in the near future. The replay value consists of going back and managing to collect all gems/diamonds on a level, as well as finishing a level in a set number of bounces. In my honest opinion, the “finish in X bounces” requirement is absolutely ridiculously difficult, and not even funny hard like QWOP, just irritating.
The graphics are great, very reminiscent of the 16-bit era, but with a modern polish that makes the game look very good. The character is funny looking, and fits the theme of the game perfectly, with the sound effects helping to add to the general atmosphere of the game.
Now as a developer, when creating a platformer you have to ask yourself a few questions, and be sure that you’ve covered a few elements. Is your character fun and memorable? Are the enemies cool or just random koopas? Are there enough levels, and are the levels themselves designed well? Are the graphics good, will they attract a wide audience? Does the game have any replay value once you’ve completed it?
Unfortunately, Bean’s Quest doesn’t do so hot when answering these questions. Bean, your character, isn’t exactly a memorable figure, his adventure definitely isn’t an epic one. The enemies are nothing special or out of the ordinary, and most of them suffer from the curse of the koopa, being clones with a different skin. The game is most likely the shortest platformer on the App Store (although the developer has stated that more 18 more levels will be added in an update). The controls aren’t great, and the levels are designed in a way as to punish you for the smallest mistake.
Is the game worth $2.99? At this time, definitely not. After the update that Kumobius has announced, perhaps it might be worth $.99, but in our honest opinion, without some major changes, this game should be free. Only the absolute hardcore achievement hunters and platformers might find it worth investing the time into this game, but even they will most likely agree that the cost does not fit the product.