Unlike his previous games for the PlayStation Mobile platform, this is something of a departure for Thomas Hopper. King Bean has moved away from the more simplistic retro look of many of his earlier games seen in titles such as Radiant Flux and Super Brain Eat 3 and and has moved away from faster, action oriented arcade games to deliver a new puzzler…
You take on the role of a King… of sorts. Okay, you’re actually a bean(!) and you’ve lost all your other beans so you’ve got to go off in search of them. Why, I don’t know but it’s not really important, it’s not explained but my guess is that it won’t really make any bearing on the game. What is presented before you is a fun puzzler set over almost 40 levels where you have to manipuate blocks of grass, earth, rocks, wood, explosives, and even cakes(!) to reach the beans on each level before moving onto the next.
The game plays at a fairly relaxed pace with no time limit, so you have plenty of time to plan out what you’re going to do which is just as well… you’re going to need it! Each level is a single screen affair with the all of the beans placed in seemingly impossible to reach locations surrounded by different types of blocks. To get to the beans, you have to either move, destroy or climb over the blocks. There are several block types in the game, each with their own properties that have an effect on the game and how you interact with them. Grass blocks can be destroyed and moved but they disintegrate after moving a short distance, rocks can be moved and destroyed freely, and stone can’t be moved or destroyed. All of them can be climbed on easily enough but you can only climb up the height of a single block so you have to think before you move any blocks around so you can reach every bean.
Things start off gently easing you into the game, but the puzzles quickly increase in difficulty giving you a real challenge and you’ll soon be scratching your head and pulling your hair out trying to figure out each of the levels but while each level is taxing, it’s not so frustrating that you won’t want to keep trying until you beat it. There are three themed stages with 13 levels in each, each with it’s own visual style and background graphics providing much -needed variety to the game as well.
Although the game isn’t played against the clock, nor does it give you any score based on your performance, it does keep a track of how many moves you take to complete each level so there’s an incentive to go back and tackle levels again to see if you can complete them quicker at a later date. Despite the on-screen counter registering 99 moves, this isn’t the maximum number of moves you can make in a level with each attempt so you don’t need to worry if you struggle!
Visually this is arguably Thomas Hopper’s best looking game yet. The graphics are bright, bold and colourful throughout, clearly defined and there are some subtle visual effects and animations that will go unnoticed by most by add to the presentation immensely. Animations generally are top-notch with great characterisations and the King Bean himself is superb and bears more than a passing similarity to another video game character of French origins…
Sound wise, again this stands head and shoulders above all of the other titles from TACS Games. This is the first game ever from Thomas Hopper to have speech, included in the tutorial and in other parts of the game and while it is only a small addition to the game it works really well. It fits the game really well and while there isn’t anyone mentioned in any credits for the voiceover work, whoever it is who recorded it has done a great job. As always, there are also the usual jolly pieces of music and sound effects as well, making for a great well-rounded package.
Despite being incredibly tough in places, this is a really fun puzzler that just oozes charm right from the start. The fact that this is so quick and easy to pick up means that it can be played by almost anyone but there’s enough of a challenge to keep even the most hardened puzzle addict hooked right until the last level is beaten. Looking at the early screenshots from this, I thought that this was going to be a typical platform game but I have been pleasantly surprised by what has turned out to be a great little game that is well worth the asking price. Yet another winner from TACS Games.
At A Glance
- Title: King Bean
- Publisher: TACS Games
- System: PlayStation Mobile
- Format: PSN Download
- Cross Buy: No
- Cross Play: No
- Online Multiplayer: No
- Memory Card Space Needed: 30Mb