Review: Beeny (Nintendo Switch)

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Beeny is a sitcom-length 2D platformer, but one that’s only 99 cents. At that budget price, there’s nothing to lose by grabbing it. It’s pretty good for what it is. End of review.

What, need more detail? Fair enough, I’ll try. In Beeny, you play as the titular flightless bee rolling across a handful of short levels in search of honey. But how else will your Kiwi friend, occupied in their workshop, secure the planks for the raft they’re building? The story’s unexceptional but fine for the genre while also setting up a future game.

Once the rolling and hopping mechanic clicks, you’ll find yourself quickly ascending through the vertical levels. How quickly? I beat the game in about 25 minutes. What few enemies exist are more nuisances than genuine threats; it’s all about vertical platforming. There is some unlockable replay value, but these are levels that you can beat in a minute or less, albeit with much practice and difficulty.

What could help the short length feel more satisfying? How about the option to make the game more challenging? If Beeny falls, a trio of larger bees will catch him; there is no way to disable this. While it’s a nice feature, it should be optional. Level-specific collectibles would’ve also gone a big way and could’ve helped the game feel more diverse, explorable, and replayable.

Beeny nails its presentation, though, so I wouldn’t be surprised if some replayed it just to take in the sights and sounds. The “early 90s prerendered graphics” (think Donkey Kong Country) are a joy to look at. Orange and purple skies peeking through the leaves, falling rain or snow, and good use of vivid color are some of the highlights. And being a 2D platformer, it avoids the problem of a subpar camera that plagued the developer’s earlier Toree 3D. Some really nice music accompanies the visuals, also. It can be jazzy or chill, but it’s almost always a pleasant asset.

A particular level I should touch on is ‘Silent Visitors.’ These foggy treetops are loaded with skeletons and multiple severed heads chasing you while unsettling music and sound effects play. It’s ridiculously inconsistent, both in tone and mechanically, with the rest of the game. As such, it takes away from Beeny rather than adding to it. Very jarring and odd.

Beeny knows what it is, and the 99-cent price reflects that. While pretty good is probably the most it could hope for with its scant content, it is fun while it lasts. The enjoyable graphics and music certainly help, too.

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