iPad Game Review: Beaver's Revenge for iOS (Universal)
Reviewed by Tom Slayton
Beaver's Revenge is a physics puzzler similar to Angry Birds. You (an angry beaver) are tasked with flinging your fellow woodland creatures at a horde of stereotypical lumberjacks in an effort to drive them from your forest. I suppose the revenge part comes in the later stages where you relentlessly pursue your flannel-clad foes all the way to outer space. George Santayana's famous quote comes springing to mind: "A fanatic is someone who redoubles his effort when he has forgotten his aim."
Beaver's Revenge is the latest entrant into the wonderfully crowded physics puzzler genre. In it, you will do your best to balance distance, thrust, gravity, and angle of impact to destroy a pack of maniacal lumberjacks. You have a limited number of shots to complete your task, and you must also choose the right projectile for the job. For instance, bunny rabbits can drop bombs (alarmingly, in the form of baby bunnies), skunks can alter their trajectory through the use of controlled emissions, and beehives can be triggered to explode on command. The fact that you can manually select which projectile you want to use means this game is going to be a bit harder than some of its predecessors, as you are expected to not only learn the art of accurate tossing, but also read the puzzle correctly, choosing the right tool for the job before each toss. To further complicate your task, many of the levels are actually dynamic in that machinery is moving, and in some cases building additional structures for you to deal with. I found this very refreshing and motivating as I plowed through the puzzles.
The game features 60 puzzles, although you must solve them in order unless you pony up for the IAP (in-app purchases) to unlock some (3 for $.99) or all ($2.99) of the levels. Before you start griping about IAP, it is important to keep in mind both the low price of the full game, and the fact that neither of these purchases are necessary to play the game to completion. In a world where games are increasingly shackled by consumable IAPs in the form of in-game currency, I find this approach both reasonable and benign.
Beaver?s Revenge also supports both Open Feint and Game Center Achievements, as well as leaderboards. However, I do have one complaint about the scoring. Like other games in this genre, stars are awarded for performance. Unfortunately, the criteria here is somewhat nebulous, leaving one to often wonder what sort of burnt offering is required to get that accursed third star on any given level.
Unlike other games in this genre, Beaver?s Revenge runs on a 3D engine. I?m not entirely sure the advantage of this as everything is still displayed in only two dimensions. Still, it gives the game a unique look, and certainly doesn?t detract from it too much. The game looks equally good whether zoomed in or out, and all the critters are nicely animated, however, if you?re looking for 3D enhanced explosions you won?t find them here. Apparently, this engine still has some limitations.
The sound effects in Beaver?s Revenge are a nice collection of explosions, falling lumber, and splintering wood. Every time you take a shot, the remaining animals cheer in little munchkin voices and the lumberjacks jeer and laugh menacingly. This game has a great deal of personality, and a lot of it comes from the sound effects. The music has a manic feel to it, almost like a piano player at a melodrama. Thankfully, it only plays while accessing the menus. It?s well-done, but far from relaxing.
A worthy contender in the crowded physics puzzler genre. It features a solid physics engine, 3-D rendered graphics, great sound, achievements and leaderboards. If you?re into these types of games, you would be hard-pressed to find a reason NOT to add this one to your collection. If you?re new to the genre, it?s low price point and charming characters may be what it takes to bring you into the fold.
Ratings (scale of 1 to 5):
Graphics: - 4 - charming graphics built on a 3D engine. Looks good, but not super crisp.
Sound: - 4 - Great sound effects and a manic soundtrack that (thankfully) only plays while accessing the menus.
Controls: - 5 - The physics model felt very solid, and performed consistently, allowing intuition to take over as you move deeper into the game.
Gameplay: - 4 - A good crush-the-castle type of game, that should please fans of the genre.
Playing Hints and Tips:
Decide carefully which projectile to use before each toss. Multiple taps will allow you to rotate through all of the available animals so make sure you are firing the one you want. Before each level, zoom all the way in and look for weak points, balance points, and explosive items. Brute force will rarely win the day.
Developer: Twisted Games
Release Date: September 8, 2011
Price: $1.99 (Currently Free!)
Buy App: Beaver?s Revenge
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