App Reviewed on: iPhone 3GS
Graphics / Sound Rating:
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I absolutely adore Patapon, so one look at the screen shots for Mighty Beanz was enough to pique my interest. Even with the use of the letter "z" in place of an "s" in the title. It's not the same kind of game of course, but it's got a similar look which I totally dig. Unfortunately the look is just about all it has going for it at this point.
Some beanz (*sigh*) are on their way back from a successful hunt when they spot a bizarre rift in the sky and see a bunch of ominous looking gears fall out. These gears infect normal critters like a virus, creating odd animal/machine hybrids with a love of violence. In order to push the threat back to whatever dimension it came from the beanz (*sigh* again) hurl themselves at the issue head-on. Literally. Players fling the little buggers at monsters in order to inflict damage. Tapping will make them jump into the air, and several of them can be gathered up and tossed with a well-placed swipe for bonus damage.
So Mighty Beanz looks pretty cool with the art style and all, but there are also a few other handy features. The "normal" act of popping, gathering, and flinging the tiny kamikazes can get fairly exciting for one thing. Special Elders can also be unlocked and equipped, and can be used once per fight to inflict various effects. Assuming they don't miss their target. Similarly, victory sometimes earns a chance at unlocking a monster to use as a pet in a similar fashion to the elders.
If only it weren't so little fun in practice. Mighty Beanz has one major problem that made it virtually impossible to enjoy myself: the gameplay feels too random. Monsters usually have multiple attack types, some of which can take out airborne beanz (nope, still not cool with it) and others that can dispatch those on the ground. Typically games like this use tells so that players have a second to react before the attack comes, but I never spotted anything of the sort. The creatures seemingly attack at random and almost always manage to do exactly what I don't want them to do. Typically leading to lots and lots of bean-o-cide. The ground attacks also discourage a wait and see approach. Then there are the times I miss my target by a few pixels, completely wasting my shot, and limited "artillery." And then sometimes I'd miss because my shot went through a monster's face and never counted. Or the monster will attack just as the shot hits, killing the beanz. Gameplay is a big pile of frustrating is what I'm trying to get at here.
With some fine-tuning, Mighty Beanz could become a pretty fun game. Even with the "z." But until then, it's not worth it.