Bean’s Quest (£1.99/$2.99) by Kumobius sucked me in at the title screen. Garish green clashing with blue and orange, the title itself placed above a tacky orange star. On the left of the screen, a sombrero-wearing jumping bean called Emilio grinned at me toothlessly. It all felt so cheap, but intentionally so, and I loved it.
Then I started playing the first level, and I began to love the game even more. The platformer is all about Emilio, a bean that just doesn’t stop jumping. You move him left and right by tapping the appropriate side of the screen, and he jumps up and down automatically. Bounce, bounce, bounce through each gorgeous 16-bit environment. Each stage contains jewels to collect and a hidden axolotl to find (yes, an axolotl). I managed this with ease on the first level, but soon realised that I hadn’t quite done everything I could: to do that, I’d have to reach the goal in less than 15 bounces. 15 bounces?! I had taken about 50. So I got to work, replaying the stage again and again. And again, and again, and once more. Yet somehow, I still didn’t manage the task. In fact, I only managed it the next day, after tens of attempts at calculating the quickest route past each obstacle. And this is where Bean’s Quest’s brilliance lies: it’s incredibly hard to resist the urge to replay each level several times.
I quickly progressed through the game, and was really getting into the swing of things. Particularly impressive is the amount of different obstacles you’ll encounter; enemies to jump on, springs to launch you into the air and even large balls to roll you across wide sections of deadly spikes. The level design is also spot on, with enough challenge to keep you coming back for more. I reached the eighth level, jigging along to the lively retro music, thinking “oh man, I’m gonna’ be playing this for hours”. Completing the level, I got ready for the next and – wait, what?! That’s it?! – the game finished.
How annoying. Around ten minutes of fresh content, after which you can only replay parts of the game. There are another 16 levels promised via a free update some time in August, but there’s no guarantee that they’ll be of the same quality. I really hope that they are, because Bean’s Quest has the potential to be one of the best platformers in the app store. It’s got character, replay value and more.
Overall, buying Bean’s Quest now is effectively pre-ordering two thirds of the game. Hopefully, Kumobius will continue to update the game with more and more levels until it’s bursting with them. Until that time, I still recommend the app because the amount of fun it provides compensates somewhat for the game’s lack of content. In fact, I enjoyed the game so much that if it receives several significant updates in the next few months I’ll happily re-review it. As it is, Bean’s Quest is too short to be up there with the platforming greats.