Beezzle Review

Developer: Alawar Entertainment Publisher: Alawar Entertainment
Release Date: March 20, 2006 Also On: None

Alaware’s latest game, Beezzle, is a puzzle game in which the player tries to swap colored hexagons in order to form rows of at least 3 hexagons of the same color. There are three modes, each with a twist on this gameplay. In action mode, you are timed in each level, and are required to create honey candy pieces by getting a lot of rows in, and then remove said candies by including them in a row. In this mode there are also bombs which, if included in a row, blow up many pieces around it, causing more to fall. In fill mode, every time you get a row, the honeycombs the pieces of the row were in fill with honey. The goal is simply to fill the entire thing with honey, inside a time limit. Puzzle mode requires you to move a pupa (“baby” bee) from one side of the map to a honey filled space on the other side, but only by creating rows. This can be tricky as you are only allowed a certain number of moves which don’t involve the pupae. This mode is not timed.

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Normally with Alawar’s games, you’ll find that they are good for either kids or adults, depending on what mode you play. The surprising thing about this game is that… it’s really hard. I could barely get past level 2 on any of the modes on easy. The “hints” the game gives you on easy mode are not as helpful as a simple time extension would be, and they commonly distract me from the rows I am working on. As far as graphics go, like all of Alawar’s titles, they are clean and vibrant. They keep the theme very well, but the game can only be played at one resolution, which means those graphics will have to be stretched across your whole screen anyway, since there is no “windowed” mode, only full screen. Another problem with that is the fact that you can not “alt+tab”, “control+alt+esc”, or “windows key” your way out of the game. You get an IM? Need to change your music? Too bad. You have to quit out of the entire game. Strangely, they managed somehow to disable my laptop’s hardware media control buttons as well, so I could not switch tracks or volume of the music I was playing in media player.

The music in the game isn’t bad, it’s basically the same no matter what you’re doing, but it doesn’t sound cheap. The quality is good and carries the theme well, but like I said, there is virtually no diversity. This wouldn’t be a problem if I could control my music in windows media player without completely exiting the game, but I have to. Luckily, you can mute the game’s music in the options menu. There is no online functionality to the game, no online high scores (although local high scores exist), no downloadable levels or themes. That could have been the redeeming factor, but you’re stuck with what you buy. The bee theme will surely get old fast, and once you beat the levels that are there, that’s all you get.

All in all, the game’s solid; it works. The graphics are nice, the sound isn’t bad. The problems exist in the steep learning curve (took me 3 tries to beat the first level), the lack of online functionality, and the inability to minimize the game or play in a windowed mode. This is the game for a casual gamer who is maybe on a flight with nothing better to do. Trust me, there are better ways to spend $20. Am I saying that you shouldn’t buy the game? No, if you’re the casual gamer who likes pretty puzzle games with no expansion possibility and you don’t mind, go for it. As for the rest of us, why not spend $20 on a good game?

Graphics: 6
Sound: 7
Gameplay: 5
Creativity: 3
Replay Value/Game Length: 3
Final: 4.5
Written by Dave Review Guide

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