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Pinobee: Wings of Adventure

Review By:  Siou Choy

Developer:  Hudson
Publisher:  Activision
# of Players:  1
Genre:  Platformer
ESRB:  Everyone
Date Posted:  7-9-01

OK, I have something to confess.  You may recall my earlier preview of Pinobee: Wings of Adventure, in which I played up the fact that
the game appeared to be, in essence, just an average side-scroller, albeit one with some updated graphic nuances.  Well, I'll be the first to admit it: I was wrong.  For better or worse, Pinobee is nothing like what I anticipated.  I was expecting something along the lines of Super
Mario Bros
and Sonic the Hedgehog - after all, how much different could a 2D platformer be?  Essentially, the template runs like this: scroll horizontally or vertically from point A to point B, fending off any obstacles (sentient or otherwise) along the way.  Pinobee doesn't quite fit the mold, or provide you with anything that simple.
Exploration in Pinobee is a lot more important than you might imagine. Oftentimes you might find yourself missing something on your first time
through, just to find yourself forced to return to earlier levels in order to continue.

For all you prospective Pinobee purchasers out there over the age of 5, there's a neat trick I discovered that you might want to try out: by
missing items and not going back to find them or failing to complete tasks, Pinobee will gradually begin to take on a rather aggressive and
unpleasant demeanor.  If you ignore all the hints in the diary to go back, you don't save Grandpa Bee (which is the ostensible point of the game).  Instead, Pinobee will give up his quest so he can relax and grab a snack.  I guess the absence of that heart he never got is showing.

The plot of Pinobee is almost as simple as the game itself proves to be. A fairy wakes Pinobee up one day to tell him that he is the robotic
creation of Grandpa Bee.  Before he could complete Pinobee and place a heart in him, Grandpa Bee was kidnapped.  So it's up to Pinobee to save Grandpa Bee, in so doing discovering for himself what it means to be a
real bee.  The game is obviously a cheap knockoff of Pinocchio, even to the extent of copping the big ending inside of a whale - this really isn't one to get if you're looking for a big, involving plot.

I thought it was a nice touch to be able to explore a bit in Pinobee, but the design team took things a bit too far.  The levels seem a little too big at times, making locating all the necessary items almost impossible. The enemies will also become tougher if you haven't killed all of them off in the previous level.  Just to up the difficulty a bit, the levels are huge, making it tough to even find all of the golden robots you need to kill.

Going strictly by Game Boy standards, the graphics in Pinobee look great; being on par with Rayman.  The rendering is bright, colorful,
vibrant, and distinct, leaving little doubt as to what everything is in the game (for example, there should be no problem distinguishing the
crickets from the other creatures, which sort of thing is often an issue in low-resolution handheld gaming).  The game graphics offer the illusion
of 3D, despite the fact that they're actually sprites created from rendered meshes. The backgrounds in the game give a strong impression of depth, with close objects clear and distinct and items further to the background as blurry as they would appear in real life.

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