Beastie Bay

Beastie Bay review

Beastie Bay review

Creatures of habit.

Beastie Bay will remind you a lot of other Kairosoft games, like Game Dev Story. During its simplistic monster battles, it will almost certainly remind you of Pokémon. But it most reminded me of a maths teacher I had in primary school who would use strange examples to make the subject more interesting: instead of apples and coins, it was dinosaurs and doughnuts. All that silliness would distract us all from the fact that we were doing boring old sums, and Beastie Bay uses similar misdirection techniques, with moments of calculated weirdness - and the occasional dose of cute - to deflect attention away from its systems. Which, when it comes down to it, are often little more than busywork.

Still, it's a formula that has served Kairosoft pretty well so far, and it works again here. The developer knows that one sure-fire way to keep your attention is to offer you constant encouragement that you're doing the right thing. Accomplishments come thick and fast and are rewarded with adorable animations and triumphant little fanfares. It's positive reinforcement as an art form, and yet it does it in a way that rarely feels cheap. I've played dozens of console games that shower you with Achievements and Trophies and it usually feels patronising. Somehow, Kairosoft games manage to nimbly leap over that particular pitfall.

It's odd, because at times you can almost hear the cogs whirring. "The player's getting bored - quick, let's throw them a sly pop-culture reference or a silly pun to keep them playing." And the next thing you see is a genetically modified ape named Chimpan Z, or an enemy saying "gotta catch 'em all", and you smile and you keep tapping away. You'll often feel manipulated into playing on, yet you'll be powerless to resist. Such is the Kairosoft way: once you're caught in its net of feedback loops, unhooking yourself is far from easy.

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