Have you ever thought to yourself: You know what? I want to play as a bear. Now have you ever thought to yourself: I want to terrorize an Art Museum. Well I have great news for you, there is a game out there that will allow you to do these things. Australian game developer Half Brick studios have brought us their latest offering in the form of Bear Vs Art. This development studio has already had quite a history as a development studio having several major hits that have had been severely popular, IOS games including the popular Jet Pack Joyride have found quite a success for Half Brick studios but they still aim higher and try to gain the massive popularity of other games from their past including one of the games that truly defined the Mobile game era, Fruit Ninja. To date they have still not achieved their goal of providing as memorable as an experience but that doesn’t mean their games are bad as is the case with Bear Vs Art.
There is a very simple premise at play here, you play as a bear, who terrorizes and seeks to destroy pieces of artwork around the Museum. So why are you trying to destroy this Art Museum? Well that is a simple answer, while you were sleeping, your forest home was destroyed and an Art Museum was built where it once stood. Enraged by these events you set out to destroy the museum and rid it of its art and its snooty patrons. Essentially the story is not that important and is a more a simple means of explaining the premise.
First and foremost Bear Vs Art is a puzzle game with a simple goal which involves the aforementioned goal of destroying the Art Museum. It is a simple puzzler that will set you in the room of the museum asking you to carefully plot your movements in order to achieve your goal.
Many of the levels will give you a simple goal, some are simply plotting movements in order to destroy the pieces of art work scattered throughout the level, others ask you to achieve this goal within a set amount of moves, which is one of the most common level formats seen, others also have you trying to destroy art in a set amount of time. Levels also vary from destroying art to even taking out the patrons at the museum within this set amount of time, it is pretty simple in idea but can be deceptively difficult.
Admittedly this challenge that can be found is very much absent in the first few levels, the levels are simple and can be easily beaten without much effort, I myself had beaten the first 10 or so levels in a matter of minutes, only failing once because I tapped the screen in the wrong direction due to getting distracted. While it may have started out boring and I was considering putting the game away and not picking it back up, it did improve.
As the game continues further in more new dangers are added. While also competing with the time issues or little objectives, little dangers and obstacles continue to get added to the experience giving it a fresh face, I was glad of the introduction of spikes as an obstacle that move by move would switch from active to non-active by each move I made and on many occasions these would trick me and force me to lose my lives. Furthermore other hazards are added in the form of security guards, direction changing floors and many others each forcing me to reconsider every move I would have made.
Bear vs Art is a free to play game and it benefits well from this system, lives are given out over a set period of time and forces you to put the game down when you have been failing too often, I believe at times this has allowed me to walk away and fully succeed at a level I previously found impassable. Also this means that Bear vs Art is a perfect little game to make you think while you are on the bus or train and need to pass time.
Ordinarily I would probably complain about the free to play model of a game, normally I would complain and argue that the game tries to force you to spend real money, Bear vs Art was never that game and handled micro transactions extremely well. At no point did I find the game intrusive asking me to spend real money to proceed but it did give me the option. The game provides options to spend real money to replenish all your lives as well as also providing cosmetic upgrades such as costumes, when I had a look I even found some that cost about the price of a full retail game. During my time with Bear vs Art I never personally spent any money but the option is there for those that want to.
Easy enough to say Bear vs Art is a decent enough distraction that will keep you happy for short bursts, personally I don’t see the game being one I will come back to very often again to redo levels but it is fun while it lasts. Interestingly I also found it quite amusing all the bear references and the developer’s take on famous artworks taking on the form of bears. Half Brick has easily made a fun and memorable game that while it may never see the same popularity as rival mobile games such as Fruit Ninja, it manages to be a fun puzzle game that is worth giving a go to and is different from the standard games of our modern era.