Normally a ton of misspellings should throw on a player’s avoidance alarm, but the “krystles” and “meers” in Blake Davis’ beem (Out Now, $1.99; Lite) hint at the developer’s quirky creativity. This light bending logic puzzler is a great one to check out if you’re searching the App Store for an unassuming indie gem.
beem’s opening tutorial has the player unscrewing the bolts on a mysterious gate and unleashing the gremlin trapped inside, not to mention casting a ray of sunlight into his erstwhile prison. Instead of jumping out and celebrating his freedom the gremlin leads you further into his abode, where light-activated crystals power a mysterious device.
Your job, then, is to arrange a series of mirrors so that one ray of light you started out with can reach the innermost bowels of this ancient contraption. beem begins very simply but has a satisfying challenge curve over the two level sets currently on offer. You’re asked to rotate pre-arranged mirrors so the light beam crosses a series of switches at first, but solutions become increasingly open ended as you’re given a toolbox of freely placed mirrors to work with. Bizarre antimatter fields eventually appear to constrict your placement options, forcing some very creative solutions.
beem pulls off the ratchet mechanic for rotating the mirrors without a hitch. Once you tap on a mirror to select it, simply trace an arc some distance away to rotate. You can make large adjustments by tracing your arc very close to the selected mirror and minute adjustments by tracing further away, as if you had ratchets of different lengths to work with. Likewise, the drag-and-drop for placement of mirrors feels just right.
The only area beem trips up in is menu navigation — dialogue forwarding and menu selections feel finicky, with a couple taps needed to get it right. Some touch area widening in updates should do the trick, and thankfully the current problems have little impact on gameplay. It really helps that the game seamlessly ushers you from one level to the next, which cuts menu navigation to a minimum during a single play session. Not to mention, it just looks really cool. While beem could use a few more music tracks – there’s only one on offer now – it delivers an eerie ambiance that’s sure to make a lasting impression.
iFanzine Verdict: beem’s menu system is rough around the edges, but logic puzzle fans looking for something out of the ordinary are in for a real treat as long as they can deal with that gripe.