And while Pinobee
is fun, any gamer worth their salt can 'complete' the game in a couple of hours. Of course, they haven't truly
finished the game at that point; Pinobee
relies on people going back to finish the levels completely. However, when the game is as short as this one, that technique ends up falling flat on its face. Chances are good that you'll feel cheated once you complete Pinobee
, and while you may spend the time to completely finish the game, it's still something of a sour taste.
It's a shame, too, because the game is quite a bit of fun. The plot develops as you play the levels, but you won't really see it in the stages themselves; instead, you can read about what really happened in the journal that Pinobee writes after every stage. It turns out that Grandpa has disappeared--your creator--and it's up to you to find and rescue him. As the game goes on, you'll find out more about what happened, and more about your rather unique condition; like Edward Scissorhands, you are incomplete. But instead of lacking hands, you lack a heart.
The game's levels are sprawly platformer fare. They start out simple, but by the end you're going to have to negotiate mazes of passageways and doors that go back and forth to find the exit. You can fight enemies by jumping on their heads; the gold ones require two bops, but you have to kill the gold ones to truly complete any level. Besides being able to jump, Pinobee quickly learns how to dash. This dashing lets you zoom a short distance in any direction, and if you have multiple dashes you hover for a bit between them so you can choose where you want to go. By the end of my first play-through I had seven dashes, which was enough to get across most rooms without actually touching the floor.
And therein lies the core problem with Pinobee. Other than the maze levels, you can basically 'cheat' your way through a level--dash as far as you can, touch a platform, dash as far as you can. Handy arrow signs show you the direction that you need to move in to find the exit, and you can breeze through most levels in a matter of minutes. Only the more mazey ones will require more of your time. Because of this, the game only lasts a couple of hours of playtime.
So the game expects you to go back and completely finish each level. Unfortunately, instead of recording each piece of the level that you complete, you have to finish the whole thing in one sitting. While this isn't bad on the beginning levels, the ones that require you to kill twenty-odd gold enemies and do the usual button-pushing and character-saving will have you grumbling in frustration. It's definitely a challenge to beat the game entirely, but that challenge feels more artificial than real. The same thing goes for collecting the 'items' to gain bonuses. You don't have enough room in your inventory for all of them, so you have to micromanage the items and hope to get enough to actually complete a few lines on the 'Bingo' grid. As you complete them, you gain new abilities, which is very cool, but it still feels a little frustrating.