Review by Sashanan

Reviewed: 09/29/04 | Updated: 04/07/08

Must stop...please, let me stop...

Life, why must you always throw new challenges in our path? Why do you force us to spend our time on activities that we do not enjoy and that do not get us anywhere? Why, indeed, are we driven to inflicting mental agony on ourselves, to warp our brain and numb our mind, aware of it every painful step, yet unable to resist? Why must we let ourselves be knocked down, trodden upon, only to scramble back up and ask for more? Why, dear God, why am I playing this atrocity of a puzzle game called Mighty Beanz?

Because I can't stop myself, that's why. Every spare minute at work, the image of beans being shuffled around a square playing field pops in my mind. While dodging Dutch traffic in my beat-up French minivan, I'm humming the horrible background tune to myself. As I draw ever closer to my computer, anticipation builds, and shows in the shaking of my hands and a relentless urge to salivate. Family and friends go forgotten, dinner remains untouched on the table, as I slam the door behind me, ascend the stairs with a determined stride, lock myself in my room, keep my window fully blinded...and play Mighty Beanz.

Some might argue, seeing the headache-inducing repetition of the game, the dizzying and mesmerizing moving around of top and bottom halves of beans in an attempt to match up the right ones, the ridiculous ease of the first levels and the wacky and uncontrolled increase of difficulty later on, that whoever is behind this cruel title has made a deal with the devil. Personally, I think he *is* the devil. Has to be; never has a game been so sadistically bad and impossible to put down at the same time. The whole concept of the game consists of halves of beans in the shape of people falling down into the playing field, and having to switch them with each other to match up each top half with the right bottom half, causing both to be removed from the playing field. In the meantime, of course, the game liberally tosses new ones onto the field, hoping to be quicker than you are in cleaning them up. Both the speed with which this happens and how many different kinds of beans there are scales up per level, and scales up from pathetically easy to "oh God, why hast Thou forsaken me" in about ten minutes, tops. The bizarre result is that in the first level, you can sit and watch while the bean parts entering the screen automatically fall into the right position, and you win without actually doing anything. Whereas just a few levels later, you are working yourself in a furious sweat, moving beans around faster than the eye can see, hoping to get enough matches in the little time you have. Heck, sometimes the best results are achieved just by moving entire rows around randomly and living off the accidental matches this inevitably causes. Such is the life of a player of Mighty Beanz.

The fact that you can only switch two bean parts with each other, or move a bean part horizontally, often results in the confusing situation where you have a top and bottom apart lined up, but can't actually stack them. What also doesn't help is that on 9 out of 10 bean types, the top and bottom parts look absolutely nothing alike. While your cursor hovers over a bean part, a helpful image of the full bean is shown at the side of the screen, but by the time your eyes wander back to the playing field to look for any matches, you'll have forgotten again what it looks like. Very few of the beans fit logically together, and more infuriating, a lot match aesthetically with parts of *other* beans. If you go entirely by gut feeling, you can make some great matches that the game flat out rejects. Yet you keep playing Mighty Beanz.

The same thing just keeps going on and on. A few "power-ups" are available by making a bean match in a specific spot lighting up for maybe three seconds, but only one of them, the ability to stop new bean parts from falling down for a couple of seconds, is of any practical use. There seems to be no rhyme or reason to the arrival of new parts, anyway. Sometimes it's quiet for half a minute, and sometimes 20 of them arrive at once. Especially in the later levels, the game constantly manages to confuse and unnerve you with this and make your frantic attempts to line up the beans even more futile. Absolute concentration is required, and not granted. The whole thing seems to be programmed specifically to make you lose. And when the Game Over screen appears, you start another game of Mighty Beanz.

So why not just put it aside and play something worthwhile? Something with more depth, more game modes, and less migraine and frustration? Good luck! Once you've played Mighty Beanz, you will find the idea of quitting alien and inconceivable. You must play it again. Your blood sings for it, your heart pounds at the thought of not being able to anymore, well meant suggestions from friends to sell your cart on eBay will result in bouts of unrestrained violence. How dare they! If you want to play a game that sucks that is *your* business and yours alone! And you return to playing Mighty Beanz.

By all that's good and holy, steer clear of this game. It will take control of your life, of all your gaming, and reduce your once illustrious and many-faceted hobby to a mockery of itself, an endless string of unholy torment, of wailing and suffering, of gnashing of teeth and clattering of handcuffs, of matching up beans over and over and over again. Whatever you do, wherever you go, heed my advice, dear wanderer: never, ever, play Mighty Beanz. I'm off to play Mighty Beanz.

Rating:   2.0 - Poor

Product Release: Mighty Beanz: Pocket Puzzles (US, 06/07/04)

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