Pinobee: Quest of Heart Hands-On

Hudson's Pinobee: Quest of Heart is a classic side-scroller that puts you in the shoes of a cute little bee. We got our hands on the Japanese version of the game and had a little fun with Pinobee himself.

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Hudson's platformer for the Game Boy Advance was developed by Artoon, a company started by an ex-member of Sega's Sonic Team. The Sonic influence shows a bit in Hudson's game, and the result is an amazingly colorful 2D platform game.

The game is centered on the "run to the right, collect items" style that dominated the 16-bit era of platformers. Pinobee can collect flowers, and he has a lifebar that can be replenished by collecting items. Since Pinobee is a bee, he can fly. His flight powers are a little limited, though. At the game's start you can jump once, then add a dash at the top of the jump. The dash serves as an attack, and you can dash in all eight directions. As you progress, you'll earn additional dash power, giving you the ability to zip back and forth at will. When you've used your last dash, you float back to the ground. Enemies can also be attacked by jumping on their heads. You'll also get shield items, which surround you with a bubble that looks exactly like the shields from the Sonic the Hedgehog games. The levels in Pinobee are a bit on the short side, and you won't face a boss until you reach the seventh or eighth level. It looks like you get a little story in-between levels, in the form of scrolling text.

Pinobee takes place in an incredibly colorful and lush environment. The game has extremely nice-looking backgrounds and platforms, and all the characters are animated quite well. The soundtrack is typical platform fare, with a little speech thrown in, as well.

While Pinobee doesn't currently seem like much of a challenge, the game seems pretty fun. Hopefully the pace will pick up a bit as we progress through the game. Stay tuned to GameSpot for more updates.

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