Best iPhone games: Bean's Quest

CVG hand-picks the greatest mobile games available to download right now

Mobile games are fun, simple and accessible, but that doesn't mean they are lightweight or insignificant. They have the ability to bend time and make commutes bearable; they transform idle moments into thrilling distractions. In a new series, CVG celebrates the most impressive examples of this exciting new wave of games.

Click through the link to find our full list of the best mobile games.


Best iPhone games: Bean's Quest

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Bean's Quest has been made for the CVG of the early nineties - of cheats and tips, Yob's Mailbag and free Zool badges. "Eye-popping graphics and ace gameplay!" CVG magazine would have screamed, slapping a 'CVG Hit' award on a review written in enthusiastic 50-word bursts.

Creator Kumobious Games clearly dotes on the bygone SNES era of colourful character side-scrollers. Yes, it's hopelessly unfashionable compared to mobile game-of-the-moment Super Hexagon. But its warm familiarity should prove irresistible to CVG nostalgiacs who pored over every page of Mean Machines Sega or Nintendo Magazine System.

Its blend of bright, pixelly sprites and kitsch soundtrack is a beautifully judged amalgamation of every 16-bit platformer that went before it. Of course, Bean's Quest stars a cute cartoon mascot, and the stages are split out into worlds called things like Grasslands and Sky Ruins. The thin plot only really exists in the intro and ending, a kidnapping which sets up the quest. Collecting trinkets means extra rewards, and there's even a few short, vaguely irritating water sections.

Such reverence for the past doesn't halt some welcome concessions to modernity, though. You don't have to enter a special code in the options screen to get infinite lives, as they are available by default. Checkpoints are regular and keep progress speedy, but not easy - the final two worlds are genuinely difficult. Stage design is varied, and littered with switch blocks, springs and enemies to stomp upon. Simple physics puzzles do things with the scenery that Mode 7 could never manage. It has been built with speed-running in mind, too, as each stage has a 'par' number of jumps. Coming close to that meagre total is a formidable extra task to be conquered once the main game is finished.

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What makes Bean's Quest superior to so many other retro-tinged mobile platformers is its controls. Without the tactile D-pad and buttons of a SNES controller, running and jumping on a touch screen is frustratingly imprecise. Kumobious' simple solution is to make your jumping bean leap by himself, leaving you to concentrate on moving left or right by touching the corresponding side of the screen. Timing your movements perfectly is the core of this game, and your character's weight is well-judged. The controls never betray your intentions, as in so many other mobile games in this genre.

It's not 1993 any more, so there's no need to break this game down into separate scores for graphics, sound, gameplay and value before arriving at a final percentage. Bean's Quest is the best mobile platformer we've played, and the CVG of 2012 heartily recommends it.

Bean's Quest is £1.49 on the App Store. Download it here.

Bean's Quest is also £1.49 on Android. Download it here.