Eager Beaver, a fantastic physics-puzzler developed by Gamagio and published by Chillingo, is now available from the app store. Featuring building mechanics mixed with fluid dynamics, timing aspects, and efficiency requirements, Eager Beaver is poised to be the next big mobile puzzler.
Eager Beaver Pros:
- Great cartoon presentation and lots of interactive elements that make for challenging puzzles
- Soundtrack is catchy and upbeat
- Controls are drag-and-release, working simply and beautifully
- Fluid dynamics, block stacking, and timing aspects integrate nicely
- GameCenter and Crystal integration for global leaderboards and 18 achievements
Eager Beaver Cons:
- Unclear how points are accumulated
- Game’s name doesn’t do it any favors
When flood waters threaten the nearby village and the lazy beavers cannot be bothered to assist, it’s up to Edgar to save the day by building dams by himself. Using a strange contraption that spins oddly-shaped objects above the watery surface, you’ll need to master the movement of objects in water and utilize impressive timing to use as few items as possible to dam the river. Each item falls from a static height, though you can alter the horizontal position from which it drops. The objects are impacted by the stream of water that flows from left to right across the screen’s bottom, often pushing items and changing their orientation a bit before they hit the sandy bottom or the other debris that you’ve dropped. The previously-dropped objects impact the final resting place of the newly-dropped ones, as the pile remains dynamic until the end. Barrels, stony levels, fish, mines, magnets, and suction vents are just a few of the in-stream objects that you’ll need to use or avoid as you attempt to dam the river. You can earn up to 3 golden leaves per level based on the number of unused items, and a certain number of leaves are required to unlock subsequent level sets. Sets are comprised of 10 levels each, with 7 total sets in the game.
Graphically, the look is cartoonish, but with a nice level of detail. The upper half of the screen contains the contraption with Edgar by its side, and images of the next few objects appear to the left so that you can strategize your approach. The lower half is reserved for the water and various elements with which you must contend. A percentage meter indicates how much of the stream you have blocked off, and the water performs a satisfying drop-off animation when you hit the 100% mark. The dropped items similarly behave in realistic ways when they hit the water and contact other objects. It can be frustrating, but you never feel that the game cheated you out of anything. It’s always clear that you have misjudged something in a minor way. We were pleasantly surprised with how engaging the entire presentation is. The soundtrack is pleasant and cheery, as expected. Controls require you to drag your finger on screen to position the machine, and the item is released when you release your finger.
Replay value is good, as many levels will require additional attempts to earn missing leaves. The gameplay itself is satisfying enough to warrant playing again simply for enjoyment. GameCenter and Crystal integration provide global leaderboards and an achievement system with 18 awards to snag. A universal app for $0.99, Eager Beaver is a cleverly designed 4.5-Dimple game.
Eager Beaver Review,