Game: Pyoro

AKA Birds & Beans (US name)

The system/developer/publisher bit: Nintendo DSiWare, developed & published by Nintendo

The ten-word synopsis: Simple game in which a bird tries to eat beans.

The rise of the iPhone as a legitimate gaming device has really shook up the handheld market. Whilst there remains a gap for the meatier experiences found on the 3DS and Vita,  it has resulted in a mad panic for Nintendo and Sony to counter-punch with their own light entertainment titles. Pyoro was one of Nintendos’ earliest attempts to create an enjoyable 5-minute title, a launch game for their DSiWare online download service.

Originally a fleshed-out Warioware mini-game, it and fellow time waster Paper Plane grew wings and flew to the DSi shop as games in their own right. It may be a lazy way of offering the eluded to counter-punch, but Pyoro is actually a really addictive game and far better than initial impressions would have you know.

The idea is that you control Pyoro, a hungry bird with a sticky tongue. You walk from side to side on a flat plane and hold the ‘A’ button to extend your tongue over a set diagonal trajectory, hopefully gobbeling up beans as they fall from the sky. If one hits the ground, it destroys that patch of land, meaning you can’t walk over it. If it hits you, you die and it’s game over. Catch the beans higher in the air and you get more points. It takes perhaps 2 minutes to get the hang of, and about 10 to get bored of.

Chances are your first impression of Pyoro will be one of disapointment. It certainly was for me. However, after a month or so of wondering what else that 200 points could have gone on, I decided to give it another go. It’s funny how my perceptive changed, as I found myself pouring hours into the game. Whilst I don’t mean this to turn into some sort of personal Pyoro play log, I can’t talk for anyone elses’ experience. My experience was one of redemption, one of addiction, as the time clocked up and my high score climbed very slowly upwards.

Pyoros’ gameplay is fine, and the visual and audio side of things are perfectly acceptable, functional, nothing more. Technically, it’s a solid game. There’s an unlockable second game when you hit a certain score, which is likely to be quite exciting for the 10 minutes following your first bout of boredom, but has the lifespan of a greenbottle fly with cancer. It’s all you really want from the sort of game. It’s able to waste some time, it’s sort-of addictive but it won’t demand too much from you. The games main problem is more with Nintendos’ distribution of online games. It costs £3. On iPhone, this would probably cost about 69p. At most a quid. Will you get £3 worth out of Pyoro? Probably. But, in this day and age of iPhone-shaken handheld gaming, does £3 feel an acceptable amount of money to spend on such a simple title? That’s a bit more debatable…

5 Congratulatory credits screens out of 10

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