Title  : Pinobee: Wings of Adventure
Platforms  : Game Boy Advance
Publisher  : Activision
ESRB Rating  : Everyone
Game Rating  : 7.
Review by  : Will White

Pinobee: Wings of Adventure is one of the first 2D platformers to grace the Game Boy Advance. Originally released in Japan by Hudson, it was brought to this side of the planet by Activision. The grandfather and developer of our robotic hero, Pinobee, has been kidnapped, and it is up to players as the piecemeal protagonist to rescue him so that work on Pinobee can be completed. 

The story unfolds after you complete each level, 22 altogether, with a diary entry from Pinobee about what has been happening. As you progress, these diary entries will also give you clues regarding items or other things that you may have missed along your journey. 

With an ESRB rating of Everyone, the game is suitable for all ages. You could also take this 'E' to mean 'Easy' as the game is not difficult to play. The hardest skill to master is jumping, and when you do jump the distances are never that great. However, to beat the game fully and to get the best ending possible, you must invest several hours into the title and master your jumping and dashing skills. 

Your jump and dash skills are almost one in the same. As you progress through the title, you meet a fairy that will increment the number of dashes possible. After jumping once, Pinobee will hover in the air for a moment waiting for you to execute a dash. Once this dash has been executed, the total remaining decreases by one; if there are more dashes remaining, Pinobee will once again hover in the air. If all the dash moves have been used, Pinobee will plummet back to the ground. This gameplay element is intriguing, and when you have a greater number of dashes you can return to an earlier level to reach new heights and unlock secrets that were previously unavailable. 

Graphically, Pinobee is impressive for a tiny portable system. All the backgrounds are vibrantly colored, and have an even better look to them when you're in a good light source. Some hand-drawn backgrounds have a certain 3D aspect to them, but the game is solely 2D in play. 

The quality of sound through the one speaker on the GBA is lacking, as well as the musical score for the game. It's adequate, but not as impressive as some games. Then again, how often do you find yourself listening to Game Boy music beyond playing a Game Boy game? 

Overall, Pinobee is a fun title, but not enough so to be worth $39.99 or even $29.99. I suggest picking up the title for around $20 or less.


This article is copyright (c) 2001, 2007 by Ken Gagne. All rights reserved. Not to be distributed without permission.

Original publication: Video Gaming Central (CompuServe), 01-Jul-01