Bebop Puzzle Beat (Free) by Plastic Dreams is a new new take on your typical matching puzzle game. If you like the match-three genre but want something fresh and exciting, then Bebop Puzzle Beat is just what you need. This is especially true if you’re a fan of jazz music, as the entire game revolves around it.
Even though I’ve gone through hundreds of games on the App Store, my favorite genre is still the classic matching puzzle game. As tiring as the formula may be, I can’t help but love them, since the entire experience puts me in a zen-like state and I love racking up big combos, seeing if I can set a new personal record. However, I do get tired of seeing the same Candy Crush Saga-style games over and over in the App Store, so when I heard of Bebop Puzzle Beat, I was intrigued — a matching puzzle music game? It’s definitely a mashup that you don’t see everyday, at least.
The graphics in Bebop Puzzle Beat are beautiful and stylish. It has cartoonish visuals that are rather charming, and you’ll be impressed with the various characters that you’ll come across as you play. The typography is old-school and gives it a nice, retro feel. Colors in Bebop Puzzle Beat are bright, vibrant, and all contrast with each other, so it is easy to tell each piece apart. The only problem I noticed is the fact that while most of the game is sharp and crisp on Retina displays, I did see some popups or screens that appear a bit fuzzier than they should be — it feels a bit out of place with the optimized visuals, so hopefully the developer fixes this in the future. Otherwise, animations are smooth and the music is upbeat and catchy, just as you’d expect from a jazz-themed game.
Like other puzzle games, players will have to progress through each level one-by-one. There are six different worlds to explore, with each of them being inspired by the 1940s era, with a total of 120 stages. In Bebop Puzzle Beat, players must join Bosco, Miles, Hot, and Jelly on a journey to save Mila, a lovely singer, from evil. While the main goal in each level is to make matches, each one will have a different objective that you must meet before you’re able to progress. These range from simple things like “Get 500 points in 60 seconds” to harder ones like “Destroy 10 green tiles in 90 seconds.” Eventually, you’ll reach challenging boss battles as well, so the variety of goals in the game helps keep interest high throughout. You can also earn up to three musical notes on each stage depending on your performance, and a bar at the bottom indicates your progress threshold.
Since Bebop Puzzle Beat is a free game, it does use an energy system, but it is cleverly disguised. Since you start the game with four characters that travel together, one is trapped if you lose a game. If all four are trapped, then you have to wait a bit before they are freed. However, there is a Master Key available through in-app purchase that lets you free them anytime, so you never have to wait. I would also assume that this will remove ads from the game as well, as they pop up every now and then between levels.
Controls are simple enough, though I do feel that they could be more optimized and responsive. Basically, tap on the colored piece that you want to start a chain with, and then tap on other like-colored pieces to create a chain (they don’t have to be adjacent to each other). You only have a few seconds to complete each match, and if you tap on a piece that is farther away, it connects with any like-colored pieces that are in-between those two points, thus creating a combo. As time passes, the board will fill up with new pieces, so if you only have a few gems but want to rack up more points, just wait a few seconds to see what colors pop up and make large clusters. There are even “joker” pieces that act as wild cards, so they can match with any color on the board. Later on, though, things will spin out of control if you aren’t careful.
While the tap-to-select gesture works, I found that it can feel a bit unresponsive at times. Due to the fast nature of the game, I find myself tapping around furiously, but sometimes it does not register a tap so the piece I wanted to select is not selected and it’s too late for that large chain I wanted to make. Hopefully the developer can fix the responsiveness in a future update, but the game is still playable in its current iteration.
At the moment, the game lacks a point system, so there is no Game Center integration for leaderboards or achievements. I hope that the developer can change this in the future though, as I think it would be a good addition and add to the replay value. Still, I’m enjoying the game a lot since I downloaded it last night, as it is a unique approach to the tried-and-true matching puzzle game formula. Plus, the visuals are great and the music is delightful. I just want to see crisper visual elements (some appear fuzzy compared to the rest) and more responsive controls.
I highly recommend checking out Bebop Puzzle Beat if you like jazz and puzzle games. Bebop Puzzle Beat is on the App Store as a universal download for your iPhone and iPad with optional in-app purchases.