Jan 28, 2015

Lego Bionicle is a sub-franchise of Lego that I just never got into, despite being hugely into Lego. It was just too corny, and never really felt like Lego. There was barely any construction involved, and I couldn’t figure why I was supposed to get into that vague story about some monsters that have an obsession with masks. I was obviously in the minority, since Bionicles are hugely popular even today, evident by this very videogame, Lego Bionicle.

The story in Lego Bionicle is as vague as it is in the whole Bionicle universe. There’s some mask that everyone wants, I guess? The story is told in the wordless one-shots between the levels, that make it even more unintelligible, so I just didn’t bother with it. I understand that the player controls one of a number of warrior-type beings that search for the maskguffin through the different parts of a huge island, populated entirely by aggressive Lego spiders, and that’s perfectly enough.

The gameplay in Lego Bionicle has a really minimalistic approach to it. The levels are basically a bunch of interconnected arenas, where the player needs to kill advancing spiders and not get hurt by their random attacks, because…nothing. When hurt, the player taps the screen for a couple of seconds, and the Bionicle springs back into action. I know that it’s a game for children, but it felt a bit toothless even for that. The action demands the player to tap on the spiders around him, and the hero will jump between them, dealing damage. There are two super-attacks, one dealing a damage around the player, and another stunning the enemies. The gameplay is actually surprisingly exciting, as you have to jump between the spiders really fast, and not to get hit by their attacks – again, despite the fact that they don’t really pose any threat. After the level is over, the player gets a body part for one of the Bionicles that slightly changes its appearance, as a trophy.

There is a single big problem with Lego Bionicle, and it’s a complete lack of variety. The campaign is insultingly simple and short, there are only two kinds of enemies,Lego Bionicle 4 and the same boss at the end. The Bionicles have literally no gameplay differences between themselves. Basically, the only things that change when playing different Bionicles are their look and attack animations, and the backgrounds. It’s pretty dumb, considering how much work was obviously poured into them, and how long it takes to complete the campaign with all six of them – not even talking about collecting each of the numerous body parts. The game looks massive, but doesn’t feel massive at all.

Besides that, Lego Bionicle is an okay fast-paced action for the fans of the Bionicle universe. If you’re not into Bionicles, it’s only interesting for about an hour at most.

Oh, and there are no in-game purchases, making the game completely free, so that’s pretty sweet.

Honeyrun HD Review

Honeyrun HD Review

May 24, 2011

More often than not, if a developer describes a game as “for kids” it means they’ve made something that no discerning member of the human race would ever want to play. “For kids” is essentially a byword for “terrible”. This makes Honeyrun HD an even more pleasant surprise.

A simple, 3D bee-simulator, Honeyrun tasks you with collecting flowers in a meadow. There’s a time limit to make things more interesting, and a variety of power ups, including apples and glowing, golden, which extend your time and grant extra points.

You control your bee by tilting your phone, and unlike most games with accelerometer features, you can move up and down as well as left and right. The controls aren’t the tightest I’ve used, and could do with a little refinement, but they do their job well enough.

As well, the visuals aren’t the sharpest in the world, but they create a pleasant, cutesy atmosphere that’s hard to fault. Indeed, the whole package here is one that’s designed to look good to a child’s eyes, and Honeyrun does just that. It’ll never make you go wow, nor will it be the one app that you whip out to show your friends, but it’s solidly made and robust enough to keep even the most cynical eye entertained.

Of course, the game isn’t without its faults. For a title aimed at children, sometimes the time limits can be a little strict, and it’s quite easy to crash through the barriers at the edge of the world and into the unknown. Equally, there doesn’t seem to be an option to turn out the sound effects, which can get a little annoying.

Still, Honeyrun HD is a perfectly pleasant little game. It won’t appeal to a sophisticated gaming palette, but for younger gamers, it’s actually quite good. There are a few kinks that need ironing out, and I’m still not convinced that the Android platform is the perfect place for a child-oriented game, but if you have some young ‘uns you need to keep quiet, Honeyrun might be a decent place to start.