July 10, 2008
Blue Beard (this game was originally known as Barmaley, but in what seems to be an attempt at universal appeal, the title was recently changed to Blue Beard), is a fun-filled romp through the jungles of Africa. Geared toward children, you play as a young boy who must outwit the evil Blue Beard and free captured animals bound for the zoo. The game is a combination of simple, but involving, arcade/action sequences and adventure-type puzzles.
The arcade/action sequences area all entertaining and must be completed to advance to the next stage. You will ride on the back of a lion in a race to reach the jungle before Blue Beard. avoid mermaids to reach a sunken ship, and catch baby panthers. Many of these situations are ingenious and add immensely to the overall fun factor of the game.
The puzzles are perfect for youngsters who welcome a challenge. Some of the more inventive ones include figuring out how to open a coconut (hit a palm tree with a stick so that the coconut falls on a turtle's shell and cracks open), answering five riddles so that a python will free you from its grasp, and finding a way to distract Blue Beard while you free the animals from their cages. For those who might have problems with any of the action or puzzles sequences, the game disk includes saves for almost every portion of the game so that if you are stuck in one area too long it is always possible to move forward.
While Blue Beard is not as good as the Humongous or Learning Company product line, it would still appeal to the younger gamer. The concept of what a child wants in a game seems to be universal as a serious subject (poaching) is approached with humor and lightness. In fact, if Blue Beard were in English (which the new version supposedly is), one would be hard-pressed to determine its country of origin. Blue Beard 2 is currently in production and expected to be released soon.
Final Grade: B
If you would like to order New Robinson, Blue Beard, or any of the other Nikita games, they are available through the Nikita website for a price of $29 per game, which includes the cost of shipping anywhere in the world.