Platform: Gameboy Advance
ESRB: E (Everyone)
Released: Q3 2001
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Pinobee: Wings of Adventure
Score: 7.6 / 10
- Easy to get into
- Bright and colorful graphics
- Different endings
- Trade items via the Game Link Cable
- As much challenge as you want it to be
- Music doesnít catch the ear
- Cable Link trading is really just a gimmick
- Strange diary function
- Inclusion of BINGO
"Pinobee is a solid platform game for the GBA. Itís got some good-looking graphics, is easily accessible since it relies on convention, and enough challenge for young and old."
There have been many comparisons between Pinobee, the title character of Pinobee: Wings of Adventure, and Pinocchio in many of the reviews Iíve read. Why? I always thought of Edward Scissorhands or the Tin Woodsman from the Wizard of Oz or Lt. Commander Data from Star Trek: The Next Generation. Which leads me to also ask the question, "Why is it that male scientist always create male creations based on their own image?" Obviously, Freud would have a very interesting interpretation.
The basic plot of Pinobee boils down to the clichťd: inventor creates being then a plot twist prevents the creator from completing his project. Platform jumping ensues and every one live happily ever after. (Well almost Ė there are 8 possible endings.) You assume control of Pinobee, a mechanical bee, who must find his creator if he hopes to attain a "perfect" heart.
Gameplay is to the point. Thereís only one button plus the directional pad to use during play. (Note: If Pinobee feels slightly Sonic-ish, itís because some of the same people worked on both titles.) You can perform all the basics like crouching, jumping, hovering Ė everything a mechanical bee should be able to do. There isnít a lot of originality in terms of a platform jumper: youíve got a diary to save your progress, there are power-ups to collect, you jump on enemies, etc. And you can replay completed levels and uncover areas previously inaccessible. Itís all done in that happy go lucky style that earned it its "E" rating. In short, itís all familiar territory and thereís nothing to indicate the development team set out to reinvent platform jumping.
The graphics are bright (considering the GBA screen) and colorful, which is great but on occasion youíll have to take a few seconds to figure out where you are because thereís so much color. Iíve got mixed feelings about the music. It fits right in with the gameís style but there isnít much variety in the musical score. I didnít feel I missed anything playing without the sound.
The challenge of Pinobee is dictated by how badly you want to get the ultimate happy, "right," ending. Some of the levels can be frustrating to finish perfectly, even when youíve powered Pinobee up to Vision-like proportions. Some of the secret areas are very hard to find. (I suppose thatís why they call them "secret areas." Ė Mr. Nash) There is a problem with the diary (read: save) function that will become apparent after youíve played a few levels, but itís nothing that affects the overall score of Pinobee. But something that does bring down the score a bit is the inclusion of the "BINGO" portion. I had a really horrible experience playing Bingo once. Now, whenever someone says that dreaded phrase, I feel like hiding under my desk and wetting my pants. You donít actually play Bingo but itís the method used to power-up Pinobee. (e.g. Collect all pink clubs and your energy Ė battery power Ė will go down slower, or collect the pink spade 3, heart 3, diamond 3, and club 3 and youíll gain the ability to recognize capsule types.)
Pinobee also allows players to swap items between players via the Game Link Cable. It really is a gimmick Ė one that I didnít need since finding the items isnít too difficult. But if your neighbor has a cartridge, itís pretty easy to do.
At the end of the day, Pinobee is a solid platform game for the GBA. Itís got some good-looking graphics, is easily accessible since it relies on convention, and enough challenge for young and old.
(September 9, 2001)
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