Pinobee: Wings of Adventure Review

If you're the type of person who likes to uncover every last little secret in a game, Pinobee might be worth checking out.

Pinobee: Wings of Adventure is a rather simple platformer that was originally published by Hudson in Japan. Activision picked up the US rights to the game and has released it in time for the Game Boy Advance's US launch. While the game contains hidden items, multiple endings, and a small collection aspect, just about anyone should be able to walk through it in an afternoon without encountering any formidable opposition.

Pinobee is a robotic bee without a heart and was created in a lab by Grandpa. One day, Pinobee awakens to discover that Grandpa has been kidnapped and decides to find him. The game's story is told through a series of oddly written diary entries that also alert you to hidden areas as you proceed.

Controlling Pinobee is extremely easy. The game adheres to the platforming basics, so jumping on enemies will kill them. Where Pinobee differs is in his ability to dash through the air. The dash functions like a double jump with a built-in hover. Additionally, you can earn extra dashes as the game progresses--this lets you dart around in all eight directions. Once you get your dashes up to around seven or so, the game becomes even easier, since you can dash past most of the action and get right to the end of the level. Doing that, however, would cause you to miss out on all the little optional encounters, like finding hidden switches, talking to a local cricket, or discovering a mysterious locked door. Finding all these things is the key to seeing the game's best ending.

Pinobee's strongest point is its graphics. Like Rayman Advance, Pinobee takes place in a brightly colored world filled with very cartoony-looking characters, which animate reasonably well for a portable game. The sound, however, is pretty uninspired. With the exception of the game's few boss encounters and a few scattered places, the same song plays throughout the entire game. This gets annoying almost immediately.

Overall, Pinobee is an inoffensive platformer with pretty good graphics and decent, albeit unchallenging gameplay. If you're the type of person who likes to uncover every last little secret in a game, Pinobee might be worth checking out. But if you're into picking up a game, blowing through it as quickly as possible, and never playing it again, Pinobee will keep you busy for only two or three hours at best.

The Good

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The Bad

About the Author

Jeff Gerstmann has been professionally covering the video game industry since 1994.