Bumblepig by Kindling Games
Release Date: May 17, 2011
The first thing I have to say about Kindling’s “bumblepig” is that it was exactly not what I thought it would be. When I first picked up the game, going on first impression of a screenshot only, I thought it would be a type of simulation game like Animal Crossing. This is not the case at all. Bumblepig is a hand-eye coordination and matching game that plays much more like a scrolling shooter with a twist.
After the game loads you’ll see your character, a bee-pig hybrid little fella, at his home hive. Maneuver him to the only open area in town, Little Lilly’s backyard, and select this area to begin. Each area has three levels to unlock before moving on to the next area. This is a vertical scrolling game. Randomly placed flowers and buds start to move towards you. As they go past, grab pollen from the buds and spray it on flowers to see them bloom and release coins that you’ll want to collect. At the bottom of the screen there’s a long stemmed flower serving as a power meter. Each flower pollinated helps to fill up the power meter. As the meter fills up the flowers begin to release higher valued coins. Continue this until you have successfully cleared all the flowers in the level.
There are a couple of things to note about the power meter. First, it is constantly emptying. So, as the game tutorial will tell you, pollinate flowers quickly and try for color streaks to get bonus power. Color streaks can be made by using the right combination of colored pollen and flowers to produce the same color bloom as many times in a row as you can. Learning to master this is going to become critical to progression in the later levels.
As the game progresses you will start to see obstacles in your way. Bugs will make you drop pollen and frogs will steal your pollen. The scrolling speed also increases throughout the level leaving you less time to grab pollen and catch all the flowers coming at you. These attacks increase with intensity as you move into new areas.
“So, why am I pollinating flowers and collecting change?” you ask. “What’s in it for me?” you want to know. At the end of each level your money is counted up and compared to the set amount for first through third place ribbons. A secured third place or better has to be achieved before new levels will unlock. Take the coins won and buy accessories to dress up bumblepig. These accessories will unlock as you complete certain tasks (Xbox achievement style) like pollinating 500 orange flowers or successfully completing an area.
The controls are easy to master. Move with the left thumb stick, spray pollen with left and right triggers and if you want to pick up different color pollen than what you’re holding, drop pollen with the left and right bumpers.
Visually, this game is very nice. I’ve always been a sucker for bright primary colors and this game is right up my alley. When your character pollinates a shower of colors trails behind him. Each flower that he sprays blooms in colors determined by which pollen was used. Bumblepig is kind of small so it’s a little hard to see his different unlockable accessories in good detail. It would be cool if there could be a main menu selection to go into a dressing room and see larger images of him “trying on” these different things. The enemy bugs and occasional frog are nicely done. Altogether the game is very appealing to the eye.
The background music is catchy and fast paced. For me it added to the adrenaline rush of trying to catch every single flower (which I have yet to do). Sound effects compliment the music and are well suited for the game style. The volume of each can be independently adjusted through menu options at the home hive.
Bumblepig is the perfect pick up and play if you’ve only got a few minutes and holds interest if you’re in the mood to do some serious coin collecting and accessory shopping. All in all it’s a fantastic game. It’s another great example of the awesome indie stuff out there. As far as value for your investment, the game costs a dollar and promises that anytime you pick it up the game will never be exactly the same. There’s always the option to go back and try to beat your last score and that’s a big win for its replay ability. I have been very happy with the purchase and recommend it for everyone to try.