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The Daily Download: Bumbledore Misses the Mark on PC

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bumbledore_title

Overview

Bumbledore is a game about skirting copyright law. Okay, not really, but if you’ve ever played Angry Birds or Plants vs. Zombies, you’ve seen this one before.

You play as a bee wizard – no affiliation with J.K. Rowling – who must defend his castle from hordes of evil bugs. As they march toward Bumbledore’s abode, you fling projectiles to stop them in their tracks. Some spells come from the top and bottom of the screen, offering a slight variation on the Angry Birds model.

bumbledore_panic

Angry Birds works well because you have time to line up your shots and complete the level as efficiently as possible. Bumbledore adds the urgency of moving targets, which turns a casual puzzler into a panicked clicking frenzy. I found I was most successful when firing spells in all directions as quickly as I could.

As in Plants vs. Zombies, you fail the level if an enemy reaches your base. Most levels start with an empty playing field, but some force you to react instantly by spawning bugs right next to the castle. I later learned, through trial and error, that many of them were on pre-determined paths that would never actually reach my side of the screen. The game didn’t teach me about enemy flight patterns, though, so my first playthrough was extra intense.

Bumbledore is an Android game that was awkwardly ported and made available through Steam for PC and Mac owners. You can tell that absolutely zero work went into the PC version from the menus alone. The buttons have no hover states, there are no display options, and even the tooltips tell you to drag your finger across the screen. I may be behind the times, but I don’t think I’m the only one who still uses a mouse and keyboard.

bumbledore_tutorial

It’s a shame they bothered to release a desktop version at all, because the smartphone variant really isn’t that bad. It’s similar to other games in the genre, sure, but it works well for casual fun on that platform. To top it off, it’s free on the Android Market. I enjoyed it enough to play through the entire game in one sitting on my phone.

I see what Nimbly Games was trying to accomplish with Bumbledore. It’s a fun time waster while you’re sitting on the train, but it has no draw for someone sitting at a desktop PC. Based on the lack of effort put into the port, I think the developers agree.

The Good
+ Lots of levels
+ The Android version is a fun time waster

The Bad
- Terrible PC port
- Gameplay is too frantic
- Angry Birds and Plants vs. Zombies have already executed the concept more elegantly

The Verdict
Other games do it better and cheaper. Play for free on Android or skip it altogether. Avoid it!

Terrible

Bumbledore was released on March 15, 2012 for PC and Android. Review is based on the PC version.

Developed by Nimbly Games

http://bumbledore.com/

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