Version Reviewed: 1.0
App Reviewed on: iPhone 4S
Graphics / Sound: Rating:
Game Controls: Rating:
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Bean's Quest 2: Bean Dreams is a colorful platformer in which players take control of a Mexican jumping bean in his quest to conquer his dreams. And Bean jumps automatically, which is part of what makes this a pretty fantastic and manageable mobile platformer for iOS.
By having a character that jumps on his own, players simply have to control Bean by touching one side of the screen or the other to move in the desired direction. Each stage is relatively bite-sized, but most offer multiple opportunities for collection and speed challenges. This makes most levels feel fresh and replayable as soon as they've been cleared for the first time. These challenges are based on the number of jumps a level takes, the amount of collectible fruit gathered, and the collection of the elusive Axolotl hidden in each level.
Even without replaying levels, Bean Dreams has plenty of content to offer - all of which are divided into worlds with their own unique aesthetics and mechanics. In fact, part of the fun of playing Bean Dreams is jumping from one world to the next to see what cool, new, retro-inspired environments are waiting.
Far and away the best thing about Bean Dreams, though, is the tightness in its design. Many of the speed challenges are based on the exact number of jumps it takes to execute a level perfectly, and the balance of difficulty when trying to accomplish these challenges is spot on. There's nothing quite like the feeling of bouncing on several enemies in a row (to earn "free jumps") right before hitting the end-of-level goal screen in a perfect run. Of course, there are other games out there that have used a similar idea, but there are far too few of them if you ask me - and not enough that are as consistently good as Bean Dreams.
In terms of drawbacks, the main problem with Bean Dreams is that it could be frustrating to players that simply aren't interested in replaying levels. The core of the difficulty is derived from completing level challenges rather than simple traversal, and things is gated accordingly. Players cannot simply reach the goal of each level to advance. It will work up to a point, but most of the worlds require a certain number of challenges to be completed before unlocking them.
Although this gating method might be frustrating to some, particularly as this technique is a hallmark of many free-to-play games, Bean Dreams is best enjoyed through repeating stages and is probably a stronger game because of its dedication to making the level challenges both difficult and rewarding. Provided players aren't wary of this aspect of the design, there's plenty to like about Bean Dreams. It's very easy to recommend.