Friday, November 16, 2012

Review: Birds and Beans

It's been a while since I've written a review so I figured I'd ease back into things with Birds and Beans, a straightforward arcade game.

The classics of the arcade era are characterized by their simplicity, straightforward controls, and difficulty that tends to rise exponentially. Birds and Beans is no exception, and is simple enough that it could have been made for the Atari 2600, albeit with slightly worse aesthetics. 
The game starts out slow, with beans infrequently floating down the screen. Players move the bird left and right to avoid these beans, and eat them by extending a freakishly long tongue that a chameleon would envy. Beans are worth ten to a thousand points depending on how quickly they are eaten. Uneaten beans will break away the ground as they land, gradually shrinking the amount of room the player has to work with. The difficulty ramps up fairly quickly, with it becoming impossible to eat every bean after only a few minutes into the game. The ground begins to crumble at an alarming rate, but it can be repaired by eating special white or flashing beans. White beans replace one block while flashing beans clear all other beans from the screen around a dozen blocks.
As the player's score increases, the background comes to life, and the music intensifies. It's a nice touch that is easy to overlook under the stress of a shrinking platform.A high score of ten thousand or more is what players will want to shoot for to unlock Birds and Beans 2, a version of the game that replaces the tongue used to eat beans with seeds used to shoot them. In this mode shooting multiple beans at once yields more points. Unlike the first, this mode is much easier and did not almost lead to a crushed 3DS. It might just be me, but it took close to a dozen attempts before I was able to reach a score of ten thousand or more, and on my first attempt at Birds and Beans 2 I more than tripled that score. It's hard to say one game is better than the other as they're more two versions of the same game instead of two distinct ones. I find the first to be more about precision and timing while the second allows spamming but is a faster-paced game overall.

Birds and Beans can be had for $2 on Dsi-Ware and the 3DS eShop.

Released: 2009-04-03
Publisher: Nintendo
Developer:  Nintendo


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