I’m always looking for quick fun games that, hopefully, don’t cost me too much money. I have friends with kids — and a new niece. Since I’m not a parent yet, I have no qualms with passing somebody else’s kids an electronic device in the hopes that they’ll amuse themselves.
With that in mind, Busy Beaver caught my eye when I saw it on the Play Store. It was free and looked like a more colourful version of Tetris. Plus, it featured a beaver! There probably wasn’t a single better way to let Canadian children pass the time. I just didn’t realize I’d like it too.
Busy Beaver is shockingly simple. The game is 2D. You control the onscreen beaver by tapping the Up, Left or Right buttons. As bricks plummet from the top of the screen, your goal is to walk the beaver into them, or at least keep the bricks from landing on his head. If the bricks land on his head, game over.
The game features Easy, Medium and Hard difficulty levels. I never tried anything other than easy because, as I learned, I’m terrible at this game. Frustratingly terrible. And that’s where the game got me.
Be prepared to see the Game Over screen a lot, despite the fact that the game itself couldn’t be any easier
Not unlike my not-so-minor high school Tetris obsession, I was sucked into the game out of a desperate desire to somehow beat it. But there is no “beating it.” There is no way to win. Now that I don’t have the innocence of my youth, my view towards games like this has become quite cynical.
I hate them.
The game itself is much more fun than it should be.
That being said, I can’t stop playing. It becomes an obsession, one where I have to continually topple my own high score, hoping that maybe I’ll magically play until I hit a pop-up screen telling me that my phone is exhausted and Android needs to get some sleep. That never happens because, like I said, I’m terrible at this game.
But let me tell you about a few of the little details I noticed thanks to the many long hours I spent playing Busy Beaver.
Lots of Tapping
My first big problem with the game is that tapping on an on-screen arrow to move the beaver only results in moving him one space across the screen. I’d like to be able to hold an arrow down and have him run, or jog even. I’m working up more of a sweat than the beaver who’s fighting for his life, and I feel like that’s a problem.
I’d like some further onscreen instructions related to what happens as I tap the Up arrow to move the beaver up the screen. Why can the beaver float? And if he can seemingly float in increments, why is it that he has to slowly fall back to the ground? You might think I’m overanalyzing this game, but you try playing it for a dozen hours in four days and tell me if it’s not bothering you.
It also looks great on tablets.
All that being said, I can’t complain about the game’s graphics. They’re charming. Somehow, the developer manages to pull off candy colours that aren’t sickening.
There is an ad that constantly floats on the screen. The problem with the ad isn’t so much its existence, but its placement: It sits on the top of the screen, right where the bricks are beginning to fall. Most of the time, I didn’t notice the ad, but those rare times when it bothered me were also the times I lost. Worse yet, there is no in-app purchase to remove the ad.
I actually like Busy Beaver. I think it’s a clever twist on Tetris, without getting too cute or overextending its welcome. That being said, it’s insanely addictive. I was so into it I forgot to take screenshots until I went to post the review. I’m twenty-two years old. Maybe I have a problem, but I don’t think it’s just for kids.