Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Magic Beans from Pixelthis Mobile - Flash Lite Game Review

Magic Beans
Developed by Pixelthis Mobile
Released: 1st Quarter 2008
Availability: Verizon Wireless (via Smashing Games/Smashing Content), voeveo.com
Requirements: Flash Lite 1.1 and above

Note: I did the review on the Nokia E90 which runs Flash Lite 2.x. However, I have Flash Lite 3 with recent firmware update!

"... kind of like a fun take on a block Tetris, only in reverse, and with lot more imagination ... " - Scott Janousek

Review by Scott Janousek


Peter Vullings of Pixelthis Mobile sent us (frame27) a new game called "Magic Beans".

Given our review of Rune Mage earlier last year, we were glad to see yet another puzzle title from (Peter and his posse).

After playing for a bit, I think of Magic Beans as kind of like a fun spin on block Tetris, only in reverse, and with lot more imagination.

Here is a bit of narrative on the game:

"While experimenting with beans in his secret underground labratory, Dr. Blah creates out-of-control Magic Beans! Try to control Dr. Blah's creation before things get out of hand. A frantically addcitive game that turn your perspective on falling block games upside-down!"

Pixelthis Mobile

Ok. Let's roll up the sleeves and get into it. :)

The objective is to get the highest score possible by forming groups of four or more (magic) beans of the same color within the "garden grid". Upon matching, the correctly colored beans will magically disappear and allow the beans that are stacked above to drop down.

You add beans to the screen by selecting a place in the ground (the lowest level of the garden grid). There are 6 positions to plant to. Planting in a spot where vine already exists pushes the vine up by one position and so forth.

You control where to plant your beans by using your devices up and down keys to rotate a "planter" (which always consists of 2 magic beans at a time). Moving left and right will adjust your position within the area where you must plant your beans.

Scoring Points:
Points are scored by the total beans you manage to match and how they are matched in groups (horizontally or vertically, not diagonally, but also not necessarily "in a row").

As time progresses, the game speed increases, adding a bit of challenge to the title. Every twenty turns will be a small increase, so you need to be quick on your foot and get your beans planted!

The game ends when a player allows one of the growing vines of magic beans to get to the very top of the screen where the falling carrots come from.

At the end, the beans all turn into carrots and your score is totaled and can be seen on the leader board (on a separate version it has been said, that there may be network submission if you are planning on competing against other player scores).

Carrots, anyone?:
Did I mention the falling carrots? Ah. Yes, the (very evil) falling carrots ... these get created when magic "acid drops" fit the ground when you run out of time, or at pivotal points in your game as you attain points.

Honestly, I'm still trying to figure out the best way to deal with carrots. They are kind of the bane of my existence when I play (right now). I won't be eating carrots this week. :)

One more thing, there are "combos" in this game to attain. This happens if a group of beans is removed and thus consequently forms another group.

This is considered a combo, and when it happens you get a special pair of same colored beans which, when planted, all beans and carrots next to them (but not diagonally), will switch to be the same color.

This enables, you the player, to get some potential mega score!

Speaking of Score, it's broken up by the following:

A score of 100 is awarded by forming four beans, and every extra bean or carrot in the group adds more points (10 I believe). For example:

4 beans: 100 points
5 beans: 110 points
6 beans: 120 points ... and so on.

If two groups form at once then they are scored separately and then added. According to the documentation; in a combo the group score is also multiplied. The combo multiplier is x2 for a single, x3 for a double, etc. Additionally, a 2000 point "clear screen bonus" is awarded if a screen is completely cleared of all beans and carrots.

The Good

The MIDI soundtrack for the music is very cute and appropriate for the game setting. The game play is very addicting once you understand the rules and start to play.

The graphics are very appropriate and highly detailed (see screenshots above) and give the game a very "mystical sort of feeling" that is a trademark of the work that comes out of Pixelthis.

Attention to detail, such as the animated bird in the background is also a nice touch.

The Bad

The instructions are a bit lacking, so there is a bit of a learning curve. This is especially true of buttons and how they interact with the game.

Lots of rules for this game. A full on tutorial would probably be well suited for this game, or perhaps even a step-by-step level where a player "learns" as they play that level.

Also, a tiny nit-pick, we found the "Quit" menu a bit hard to see on the opening screen (when highlighted), since it is green on green (just a switch to blue sky background should fix this).

Other than that, the game is well done, and I'm sure there will be folks attracted to it's initial game graphics, and hooked by the unique game play!

Review by Scott Janousek

Sunday, March 02, 2008

Flash Lite game winners for playyoo.com mobile game contest!

Last year, as part of Playyoo.com's launch strategy, they introduced a game competition with prizes for those creating best of worlds casual game content for the launch of their new online social networking site for Flash Lite mobile games.

Last week the contest ended, and here are the winners ... including mention of Pasi's qTile game which we actually reviewed here on frame27 not too long ago!


Honorable MentionsAlso, just an FYI, but there some more winners to be announced soon for the 2007 Flash Lite game contest.

Congratulation to Samir Dash and the other playoo.com contest winners! There is some really entertaining content on playyoo!


If any additional contest winners would like their mobile games reviewed here on frame27, let us know.

We'll be more than happy to review your Flash Lite game (as long as it meets the submission criteria).

- The Frame27 crew (Scott, Mariam, and Felipe)

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

qTile - a new Flash Lite game from Pasi Manninen

Developed by Pasi Manninen (ptm.fi)
Released: January 2008
Availability: http://ptm.fi/blog/, www.playyoo.com (contest entry)
Requirements: Targets Flash Lite 2.0 handsets. Built using the playyoo game framework.

Note: Review was conducted on a Nokia N95 running Flash Lite 2.0. Game played directly from the www.playyoo.com service.

"A Tetris like concept with a some twists that make it unique. It's fun and addictive to play .. a perfect fit to fill some dead time when you're on the go."

Review by Scott Janousek

Straight out of Finland comes a casual mobile game called "qTile". The author is Pasi Manninen, the author of SokoLite; another addictive Flash Lite casual game title.

This addictive title is a puzzle game (Pasi credits Jaakko K*oskela for the original game idea). The concept is to attract colored tiles to your current configuration of existing tiles. You start with a base configuration of four (base) white tiles that form a square.

As time progresses, new single non-white colored tiles randomly advance across screen from the top, bottom, left and right directions. Your job is to move (using mobile phones arrow keys) and rotate (using mobile phones select key) your current configuration of colored of tiles on the screen such that tile color blocks form columns of 4. Once a column is formed, it is removed, and you accumulate points.

The total game area is a 15x15 matrix of tiles in which game play takes place. The game is over is the current configuration game tile cannot move within the game area of 15x15. Levels are advanced after every 1000 points are scored. Speed is added with each additional level advance.

Some additional rules include:

  • a base tile (with collected tiles) cannot move away from the 15x15 game area
  • a base tile (with collected tiles) cannot rotate if part of it goes out of game area
  • a base tile (with collected tiles) cannot rotate if moving game tile is ahead
  • a player cannot join game tile to base tile from behind

Scoring breaks down as the follows:

  • join tiles to the base tile to get 10 points
  • join 4 tiles with same color together like base to get 50 points
  • tile moving out from game area = -5 points

The Good:

Game Concept

Game Play
This game is a perfect fit for any self proclaimed puzzle gamer.

The simplicity of the game is what adds to its appeal. Anyone who loves a good'ole game of Tetris will most probably enjoy this uniquely addicting title.

We found overall, the game play to be quite entertaining for such a simple game.

The Bad:

Game Play
We wish there was some sort of indicator when a tile is added to the overall configuration. Often times during game play we would not wait long enough for a tile to become "attached" and miss our score points.

We wished the look and feel of the game could be enhanced in future versions of the game, but the addictive play more than makes up for this puzzler.

It would add a lot to the overall game. We offer it up a suggestion for a newer version (if file size can be kept to a minimum).

More Info

Interested in playing qTile?

Check out the game for yourself over at playyoo! You can also contact Pasi at ptm.fi for more information.

Thursday, January 10, 2008

Welcome to Mariam Dholkawala a new mobile game reviewer on frame27!

Welcome Mariam Dholkawala, our newest mobile game reviewer here on frame27! It's great to have Mariam on the review team!

She has a lot of hands on experience with designing, developing, and otherwise working with Flash Lite games, the Flash Platform, and games in general.

You can find more about Mariam on her blog.

Also, if you're not aware; in terms of Flash Mobile community, Mariam has been running IndiMaD; The Indian Adobe Mobile and Devices User Group for some time now (being a resident of Mumbai, India).

Looking forward to some reviews here on frame27 from Mariam.

-Scott Janousek

frame27 is now accepting Flash Mobile Game reviews for 2008!

Greetings from us here at frame27.

First, I want to welcome all of our fellow casual Flash Lite mobile game players, developers, professionals, and enthusiasts to 2008!

Hope everyone had a great holiday break, New Years, and is now looking forward to some great Flash Mobile game reviews here at frame27!

Speaking of which ... our last Flash Lite game review here on frame27 was last August 2007, so in 2008.

We have some reviews in our pending queue but we are always looking for more content to review here!

Yes, we are now officially accepting content to review for 2008. Send us your latest and greatest Flash Mobile games to review here.

Up until this point we've received mostly games for handsets. However, we DO NOT discriminate against other devices here on frame27! :) We only require that the mobile game be created using Flash Lite (or a Flash port if the device requires it).

Therefore, if you have a mobile Flash Lite game that is for a non-PC device such as a handset/mobile/cellphone, -OR- a Portable Media Player (such as an iRiver device), Portable Game console (such as a Flash enabled PSP) or even a consumer electronic device such as the Chumby; we'd love to hear about it.

We only ask that you send us that you follow the game submission requirements that we've laid out below. There are currently only 5 items, so it shouldn't be that hard to get a game to us for review. Once received, we'll take a look and if we like what we see, we'll schedule a review.

Check out the ones we've already done if you want to know what to expect. Basically, last year we dropped ratings and scores in favor of general feedback on games.

Anyways, that's about it for now. Send us some Flash Lite games to review!

Also, tell all your friends about frame27.blogspot.com, connect with us on twitter, post us in your blog roll, etc.

We'd appreciate it. Thanks.

- The frame27 Game Reviewers
(Felipe Andrade, Scott Janousek, Mariam Dholkawala, Luciano Ayres)