Thursday, March 1, 2012

Beat Sneak Bandit (iOS)

Time Played: 80min

What Happened:

I saw the teaser trailer for this game awhile back, and it caught my interest! I love music/rhythm games, and the art and presentation for this game are really fantastic. This game is $2.99 - but since it's up for an IGF, you can generally assume it's worth it. ...Also since when was $3 expensive for a cool game?! 

Gameplay is really fun! You can only move the bandit by tapping in time to the music. Tapping moves him forward only (so a true "single button input" game), although you do turn around when you contact a wall or guard. There are objects to avoid, such as searchlights, and guards will catch you if you are in their line of sight, and later a vacuum that moves towards you when you are on their level. Everything in the level moves to the beat, guards walking, horizontal and vertical doors opening and closing, searchlights turning on and off, etc. 

To beat a level, you only have to collect the clock with the flag on it, but you can also try to collect the 3 additional clocks that are in each level (as soon as I got the hang of the game, I found myself repeating every level until I had collected them all). If you collect the one with the flag, the level ends, so save it for last! The whole game is about figuring out what order to do things in, which for me meant tons of trial and error (which is cool since the game doesn't punish you in any way for making mistakes - you just start the level over). 

I played through the whole first section of levels, a couple of the bonus levels, and started the second section recently.

What I Liked: 

Gameplay! This game is very simple and quick to learn, but each level is still interesting and fun. Really it's all about the level design - each level still felt fresh to me, even though they are all constructed from a small number of pieces. 

Concept! The backstory is cute (all of the clocks have been stolen), you have a best friend that's a frog, and both your friend and the main baddie call you up with tips when you're in the level. Because everything is moving to the beat, and the house was constructed by a clock-obsessed man, the fact that you can only move to the beat makes sense for the world. 

Music! Since you require the beat to move, it's very helpful that the music is something that you want to listen to. Although it's very simple, it is upbeat and engaging. Also, since the music correlates with what's happening in the level, no 2 levels sound the same. 

Presentation! Everything is just presented so nicely. The title screen is simple, but catches your interest. The level select screen is visually cool, and even the Game Center icon has been stylized to fit with the game. It is a cohesive whole, and no detail has been overlooked.  

Art! You can see it for yourself! :) The art is fun, and different from mainstream game visuals. There's a surprising amount of detail in the art and animation of the backgrounds, which is great to look at, but also helps you play by reinforcing the beat. 

What I Didn't Like:

Sometimes I accidentally hit the button for playing the level again instead of moving to the next level. The 'next' button should be bigger and more to the right. 

Oh, also, when you get called on the phone, there's a sort of disc-scratch sound effect that plays while the dialogue appears. This can get a little annoying - it's just a bit too fast, so it's a little grating.

That's all! 2 tiny complaints. :) 

How Do I Feel About Continuing?: 

It's really fun and I'll probably pick it back up again. That being said, I feel like I've pretty much gotten the gist of what is has to offer, so when faced with the choice of playing it more, or trying something new, I've usually been playing something new. I totally feel as though I've gotten the value for my money, and this is a really cool game. Probably if I play a string of bad games, I will come back to this one to cheer me back up. :) 

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