Platforming games like Super Mario typically don't work so well on a smartphone — it turns out that touchscreen controls just aren't precise enough for entertaining running and jumping. It's why we have so many games like Canabalt, automatic runners where you only need to worry about jumping and not movement. 2012's Bean's Quest, meanwhile, went in a different direction, forcing you to focus on movement while controlling a character that's constantly jumping. It worked surprisingly well, and now there's a sequel that's even better.
Like its predecessor, Bean Dreams stars a tiny jumping bean wearing an adorable sombrero. It both looks and sounds like a game from the Super Nintendo era, but the differences are clear once you start playing, as the entire experience has been streamlined quite a bit. The touchscreen controls are incredibly simple: because the bean jumps automatically, you're only in charge of the direction he moves, and tapping either side of the screen will cause him to move in that direction.
It has everything you'd expect from a platformer
It feels weird at first; you don't have quite the same level of control over the character as you would in, say, a Nintendo game. But the game gets around this with brisk, cleverly designed levels that are challenging without being frustrating. It never really feels like the controls are holding you back, and the game has everything you'd expect from a platformer, from the enemies to the plentiful collectibles. It's just a different take on the genre — one that actually works well on your phone. (It's so old-school the developers claim the game will work on an original iPad or iPhone 3GS.)
Bean Dreams features nearly 50 levels that will take you everywhere from a weird desert to a colorful city, and they even have bonus goals, where you try to complete a level in a certain number of jumps. It's a fun little twist that turns each stage into a puzzle and completely changes how you approach the game. With fantastic pixel art, a great soundtrack, and fun and clever gameplay, Bean Dreams is just like its predecessor — a retro platform game built for a touchscreen. But the design and presentation are even better this time.
Nintendo might not be bringing its flagship plumber to mobile anytime soon, but Bean Dreams fills that gap quite nicely. You can check it out now on iOS.