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Thursday, June 9, 2011

Review: Bumblepig (while you wait for Halo 4... get this!)

What happens when pig meets bumblebee? Flowers get pollinated and hats get worn, that's what.

Games just keep getting weirder

So at first you might be wondering just what exactly a Bumblepig is. Having played through developer Kindling's new offering on the Xbox 360 Live Indie channel, I can safely tell you that... I still don't really know. But it doesn't matter because BP is a really enjoyable little shooter nonetheless.

At least, I think that's what you'd call it. At it's heart, this is a top down shooter in the old school fashion. What really sets it apart, is that you're dropping pollen, not bombs and missiles. See, Bumblepig is more bee than pig. Way more actually, which kind of makes you wonder why the 'pig' portion of his design was included at all- cuteness maybe? If so, that's a mission accomplished right there good buddy.

In fact, to say that this is a cute game might just be a massive understatement. The graphics have a real Saturday morning feel to them and are simple, colorful, and bright; with backdrops that really pop. And that's not to mention Bumblepig himself who's an ultra-cute little character that could easily star in a full fledged retail release.

The story, not that it's all that in-depth, is that ol' BP wants to buy himself some new duds. Clothing being what it is can be quite expensive though and the little guy is a tad short on funds. So what is a half pig, half bee to do? Why, pollinate some flowers of course! Oddly enough, as you drop pollen on them, the various examples of waiting flora give you cash... Is it me, or is there an air of illegality to that?

Indie games really is one of the biggest weapons in the Xbox 360's arsenal

Anyway, the gameplay is both simple and well implemented. The screen scrolls vertically as you fly, in classic style. Bumblepig just needs to glide over pollen to pick it up and can drop it with a press of either the left or right trigger, each corresponding to the appropriate pollen-drenched leg. It's not complicated and it works.

Pollen comes in different colors too. For example, dropping red pollen on a blue flower will give you a purple bloom. That will get your score to multiply faster and get you up to the maximum multiplier of 25 cents. Once you hit that ceiling, it's bombs away. Hit any flower you can with any color pollen you have and you'll tally up some cold hard cash. And that in turn unlocks new stuff for purchase.

Feelin' a little blue today

It's an enjoyable experience overall, and one that the younger set will more than likely really eat up. Older users might just find this adventure a little too short though. With only five levels and three stages per level, you can cruise through the entire game in an afternoon. But if you think about it, the cost of the game is minimal at just 80 Microsoft points, so it's still a decent value for the money.

If you like cute, or you like shooters, or you're a strange amalgamation that likes cute+shooters (as I apparently am) then you might be very happy with Bumblepig. So, maybe what happens when pig meets bumblebee is... fun?

- Jason M

Review: Bumblepig (while you wait for Halo 4... get this!)
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