Sunday, June 3, 2012

Game of the Day - Bells & Whistles

I hate space fruit.  And space vegetables.  And that's the enemy (for the most part) in the cute-'em-up Bells & Whistles.  It's a cutesy vert shooter where you actually throw (not shoot) your artillery at the enemy - and why not, the enemy is mostly fruits and veggies.  Although, I have also seen weird stuff of all kinds including bats, kabuki-faced air-kayakers, and a host of other things I'll just classify as "unidentifiable".

The game's controls are simple.  Although there are two buttons (along with the joystick), they both do the same thing.  So, you use either button to shoot and/or hold down the button for a larger "charge" shot.

Like any game for me, the trick is for it to be compelling.  And B&W is.  The gameplay is challenging and enjoyable with a wide variety of stuff to shoot and power-ups to collect.

The power-ups are at least quasi-in-your-control.  They are the bells (thus the title) and what color they are determines how they power you up.  But here's the rub, each time you shoot a bell, it might change color - so you can keep shooting the bells (they loft back up and then float back down) until you get the desired color and then gobble it up for the power.  Sometimes, if you shoot too quickly, you see the color you want for a moment, and then another of your shots immediately hits to change the color again (d'oh).  In later rounds, the bells can be enemies.  By the way, the bells emerge from the clouds that float down during each round.Per the game's manual, the color power-ups for the bells are: Gold=Bonus pts, White=Dbl shot, Blue=Speed-up (your shot, not your ship), Green=Follower, Red=Shield, Purple=Tall Shield and Black=Speed Down.

In addition to the bells, there are fruits, veggies and many other things to collect to add pts to your score.  Basically, you are fighting and grocery shopping at the same time.

There are several little touches added to the game.  For instance, your arm - that throws your artillery - can break (you use both arms alternately).  And if so, an ambulance comes out for you to hook up with to fix it up.  Also, the gameplay/enemies themselves have some tricks up their sleeves (leaves?) like a big grape sprig that assembles from lots of individual grapes and then explodes all over the screen or a giant floating pirate-y kind of ship that keeps coming up behind you when you aren't expecting it.

The graphics are just average, but they keep well to the cartoony, goofy theme, and do not detract at all from the engaging gameplay.  There are many more goofy things to see and discover than I have covered here, so check it out for yourself.


  1. If you like your wacky shooters you should probably play

    Zunzunkyou No Yabou (zunkyou) from Sega

    Gameplay is a bit like a modern Galaxian game, with enclosed scrolling areas and wacky characters dancing around the screen

  2. And if you like bells and whistles, check out twin bee yahoo. Can't remember but I'm pretty sure its the sequel

  3. Zach, if you think this game is wacky, play Konami's "Parodius Da!"

    Make that one of your games of the day to see what I mean.