BeanNcounters, by developer Think at the Park, offers a unique number game that will appeal to fans of truly hardcore puzzlers. The game’s design is a bit of a hot mess, but the game mechanic featured here is strong enough to keep the ball rolling. Don’t touch that dial: Our full review of this number puzzler is just after the break!
Concept and Gameplay
The idea behind beanNcounters is fairly straightforward: The player is presented with a grid full of numbers, and one target figure to reach. By selecting numbers in their squares and adding, subtracting, dividing, or multiplying them by their neighbors, the player hopes to eventually reach the target. There’s a timer to track the player’s progress, though completing a puzzle quickly does not influence the gamer’s score.
On that note, there’s currently no Game Center integration within beanNcounters, meaning there are no leader boards or achievements to tease the user with. The game does come with eight different difficulty modes, however, each one proving quite harder than the previous. BeanNcounters also comes with a pleasant “Daily Challenge” function, providing a smattering of variously difficult daily brain teasers.
All in all, the game’s tougher levels are an excellent way to give your brain a stretch, though the easier levels offer almost no replay value at all. This isn’t much of a problem for the adult looking to do something with a morning commute, but adding Game Center integration would certainly help to smooth over any lingering doubts.
Design and Layout
Perhaps beanNcounters’ biggest problem is its design: The app just doesn’t look that great on the iPhone. Features have been shoved about in a way that seems haphazard and unprofessional. The game board itself looks great, and the controls below are quite functional, but there’s still an overall feeling of emptiness to the app’s layout. The developers have tried to counter this by offering multiple background sets, as well as “bean-cons”—or exchangeable icons—but these minor cosmetic changes hardly correct the much deeper design issue. The game needs a graphics overhaul, and a fully functional 3D game board would be a great place to start.
Overall Fun and Value
Clocking in at $1.99 in the App Store, beanNcounters feels a tad out of its price range to us. For the two dollars the app will cost you, you’ll get very challenging gameplay wrapped in a less-than pleasing shell. And with no current support for services like Game Center or Open Feint, the brain struggles themselves are the only incentive to give beanNcounters’ levels a shot. With any luck, future updates will bring better graphics and tighter extras to the title, but until then, beanNcounters is a cautious buy in the App Store.
beanNcounters requires iOS 3.0 or later and is compatible with iPhone, iPad, and iPod Touch. A small expedite fee was paid by the developer to speed up the publication of this review.
The iPhone app reviews rating: