Bumblepig is a delightful little game, made by the lovely folks over at Kindling Games, and they certainly lit a fire (see what I did there?) with this beautiful indie masterpiece.
From the moment I launched Bumblepig, I felt charmed by its humble appearance and welcoming music. It has such a beautiful, hand-crafted art style, which makes the game so nice as you play through. Even the menu screen is so simple, yet so gorgeous, as your Bumblepig flies around the screen acting as your cursor, as you select which ‘Garden’ to explore. And everywhere you go a bouncy soundtrack follows. However it only changes every garden (3 levels) and so quickly becomes repetitive.
Starting the first garden, cutely named: “little lily’s backyard”, I was immediately captured again by the crisp, rustic, hand-crafted art of the flowers, pollen, dragonflies, and pretty much everything. Sheer beauty.
As I began to guide my little Bumblepig across the grassy plain, I was intrigued by the game’s twist on the standard top-down shooter. I had to buzz around collecting different coloured pollen balls, which would attach themselves to my hind legs, one on each side. Progressing, I encountered different coloured flowers too, some of which matched the colour of my pollen balls. I started to think that all I must do is match the flower colour with the colour of the pollen ball, and pollinate each flower I pass; I was wrong. Whenever you drop pollen onto a flower, the colours mix, for example: dropping red pollen onto a yellow flower will add orange leaves. And so each time you pollinate a flower, it will release coins, the score for this game, which you must collect, or they disappear forever. Focusing on pollinating the right flower, and collecting coins is hard work!
However, it isn’t as simple as it sounds. Every time a flower is pollinated, a small petal of the colour you created will appear on a flower counter to the right of the screen. Consider this as the chain that you build up. In order to pass each garden, you must reach a specified coin total, and get even higher to gain different ‘ribbons’. The key to this is building up your chain, by pollinating continuous flowers the same colour. So, realising your Bumblepig is carrying two different colours of pollen, and trying to match each one to the different coloured flowers by alternating between triggers, to produce the same colour over and over, it becomes surprisingly tricky. Not only that, but each garden has a few nasties flying around, adding to the confusion as you try to avoid them too.
After completing a garden, you are returned to the menu screen, often to be greeted with “New Hat Unlocked”. Yet another cute feature in this game, ‘Dress Up’ for your Bumblepig. These are very funny indeed. Each is comically named, for example ‘A Clockpork Orange’, just to add a little humour to the game. Although they do not affect your gameplay in any way, it’s quite fun to see your Bumblepig flying around wearing a top-hat and monocle. But they also add replay value to the game, having to complete a specific challenge to obtain them. Such as: “Earn 10 Blue Ribbons”. Blue ribbons are for getting the highest score possible in a garden, which becomes incomprehensibly hard after the first few levels.
There’s also a ‘Night Mode’ for each garden. I daren’t go into detail, I’ll just let you experience the sheer difficulty and horror for yourself.
Overall, Bumblepig is a brilliantly picturesque and enjoyable indie game, which offers a great level of fun and difficulty combined. For the modest price of 80MSP, I highly recommend this to any gamer who enjoys a top-down shooter, or just any fun game. Don’t be put off by its cute appearance, this game is surprisingly hard.
A big thank you to Kindling Games for providing us with a code for review.