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Portabliss: Sticky Bees (iOS)


Did you know that you can download handheld games now? That's amazingly convenient! The only inconvenient part of it is finding the right games to buy -- and that's where we come in, with our Portabliss column. In each installment, we'll tell you about a downloadable game on the iPhone, iPad, Android device, DSi, 3DS, PSP, etc. Today: Sticky Bees.

Sticky Bees is very simple, and a little bit mindless -- something that developer Fourfire Studios seemingly acknowledges with the characters' vacant, tongue-out expressions. It's mindless in a good way, though: you can play and enjoy yourself, and not really have to think about what you're doing at all.

Sticky Bees, created by Scribblenauts lead designer Matt Cox, is a game in which you move a bee around with your finger in order to slam him into other insects, killing them instantly. Swarms of butterflies, fireflies, and other flying insects will come in from edges of the screen, and you run into them. Simple and satisfying.

Gallery: Sticky Bees (iOS) | 9 Photos

The twist comes in when you start collecting more bees. They trail behind you like in the classic game of Snake, multiplying your score. However, only the lead bee can do damage to enemies; if one of the trailing bees is touched, it falls out of the line and cuts your multiplier. As you build up a longer line of bees, it becomes more difficult to keep them out of harm's way, providing a motivation for at least a little finesse when haphazardly careening about the screen.

Each insect makes a synth tone when hit, and you're almost always running into a couple of dozen at a time, adding a semi-random, pleasant sound to the soundtrack. It's like a music game, but without any rhythm, so it's not much like a music game at all. Point is, playing it makes nice sounds come out of your phone.

Simple is usually best when it comes to iPhone games. Even though it is simple, it's hard to think of an analogue for Sticky Bees. Maybe dragging bees into other enemies is more radical than I first thought ...

Sticky Bees is available for iPhone/iPod Touch on the iTunes App Store for $0.99. An iPad version is available for $1.99. We're always looking for new distractions. Want to submit your game for Portabliss consideration? You can reach us at portabliss aat joystiq dawt com.

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