App Reviewed on: iPhone 3GS
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Hank is an alien who loves cows. I mean he really loves cows. It’s pretty creepy just how much he loves cows, actually. It’s an obsession that has driven him to seek out extra terrestrial bovines in order to change his very genetic makeup and, hopefully, draw some attention away from that stupid bull all the ladies seem to adore. Yeah, it’s incredibly weird. Thing is, despite being odd in both concept and execution, Cowbeam is still surprisingly interesting and difficult to put down.
Hunting alien cows in Cowbeam is a relatively simple process of elimination. Choosing a galaxy will bring up a swipe-able map with a number of planetoids and a set number of turns. Tapping on a planet will zoom in for more detail while swiping causes it to spin, thus revealing hints and hopefully an extra turn-granting star. Hints - such as “the cow’s planet is green” - act as a series of guides to point players in the proper direction until they run out of turns or find the cow. And some of these levels will require repeat plays for more stars as they’re needed to unlock new maps/special items.
I can’t quite put my finger on it, but there’s something indescribably entertaining about Cowbeam. Hunting for a given bovine is random each time so there’s no opportunity to cheat by remembering placements, and it makes replaying levels for stars less arduous to boot. It also features some pretty quirky graphics, cartoons, and music that create a cohesive package of weird. I mean that in the bet possible way.
However, as bizarrely entertaining as Cowbeam can be, it’s not for everyone. It has a very steady and measured pace, and I’ve already seen a couple of negative reviews claiming that player’s don’t really “do” anything. This is definitely not true, but it’s still important to understand that this is not an action game in any sense of the word. It’s also important to note that while finding stars in the early stages can feel like the result of blind luck, there is an item that can be purchased to act as a kind of divining rod. It won’t flat-out tell anyone where the stars are, but the semi-vague arrow guides help to make those three-star ratings much more feasible.
It can be difficult to peg Cowbeam from the screenshots, but it’s essentially a process of elimination scavenger hunt for alien cows. So long as curious players remember to check their reflexes at the door and bring the logic, they should have a good time.