|Bibi und Tina - Ferien auf dem Martinshof Review by: Singelli
Bored Boarding (for dogs and horses)
OVERALL RATING: 4/10
For a game that has its own web page, I have to be honest in saying that I expected a lot more. While the game isn't horrible, it's also not horribly entertaining. The game is in German which meant that understanding the story would have been impossible without Google, but not being able to read along didn't really hinder the game. The controls and goals were pretty obvious, so playing was easy enough to figure out.
That being said, the game really seemed quite pointless. Most pet simulation games are, but most games in this genre also have a lot more to offer in terms of tasks, animals, and progress. I played the game for a longer amount of time than I imagine most doing, simply so that I could write a more effective and informational review. Considering there are a plethora of games out there which offer more (and are readily available!) however, I don't see any reason for a single gamer to waste their time on this one.
By the way, the title in English is "Bibi and Tina: Holidays on the Martin".
The graphics are arguable the worst part of this game. When the game first starts up, the player is presented with comic strip like images. These actually weren't all that bad. They were colorful, and even with the language barrier, they were clear enough to get the point across. The two main characters are inside their house, watching the rain pour down their window when a dog shows up on their farm. Watching the sad animal outside in the downpour, they feel pity for it and ask their mother to take care of it. The mother says yes, but reminds them that taking care of the puppy is a lot of work to add on top of all their already existing duties. The kids assure her that they can manage the extra responsibility, and the game begins.
After seeing the colorful images while watching the long-winded story take place, you kind of expect for the same images to be present during game play. However, they aren't, nor is the quality of images consistent. For example, the main screen of play (on the farm) is not so bad. There are lots of many colors, objects on the ground are easily recognizable, and even the caricatures bare a resemblance to the ones shown at the beginning. The farm isn't large, but every where you walk around, things don't seem so bad. Chickens scurry away from your feet, ducks waddle around the pond, and even little butterflies float around.
However, it's once you delve more deeply into the game that things start to fall apart. Visiting the dog or the horse is the first show of low quality art. The animals don't move at all, and though your job is to interact with them, you basically scroll your cursor over (or click on) various parts of the animal's picture. It's totally lame and not interesting at all. If the dog at least moved around the screen, or the horse kicked his legs a few times, I'd find the activities a little more worth their time. Even feeding the animals results in absolutely no movement. If you fill the feeding bowls or troughs, the picture merely changes to reflect that.
The graphics only get worse as you delve into more complicated tasks. The worst activity has to be racing the horses. While still having the colorful appeal, the graphics suddenly appear to be drawn by a fifth grader. Now, the art is much, MUCH better than anything I could put out, but considering what is out there and available, the sham job is a huge downer. The graphics aren't very smooth, and the images are just silly looking.
With all this said, the game DOES have some appeal to it. It's doesn't hurt my eyes, it's very colorful, and everything is at least recognizable. The easy-to-discern graphics go a long way when you don't understand the German text which tells you what to do.
There are also three min-games, and disappointingly two of those use the exact same 'gem' like objects. The mini-games are also very simple (graphically wise) and have pretty generic backgrounds. They're colorful though, and what I'd expect for mini-game quality.
The sounds in this game aren't annoying at all, actually. There's not much noise to the game period, aside from the constant music. However, the game music is plain boring. Even a few minutes after shutting the game down, I honestly couldn't describe it to you. No impression is better than a bad one however, and I never felt the need to mute the game, which is also a good thing.
Surprisingly, the only noises I can clearly recall are the ones involved in the frequent farm tasks. There's a very -quiet- noise as you stroke an animal with the brush, the sound of soil moistening when you water the garden, and the dog whimpering when you take care of him. These noises were pretty unobtrusive, so I don't have much to say about them. As I stated, they weren't worth remembering for either bad or good reasons.
I can't even recall if the music changed during mini-games, though I'm sure it must have.
Strangely enough, I have a small affection for pet simulators. Maybe this is from Gigapet nostalgia, but I've always found these types of games to be irresistible. The funny thing is that they usually bore me pretty quickly! Bibi and Tina certain wasn't an exception, and in fact it was much worse than most games in this category. I kind of felt like there was no way to be successful in the game because game play amounts strictly to taking care of the animals. Basically, the plot of the game is a continuous cycle of chores in order to keep up with food and garden supplies.
Thus, you basically complete summer jobs and jobs from your mother, take care of the garden, take care of the pets, and then repeat this cycle indefinitely. It seems like a pretty boring way to go about playing a farmhand when your animals are drawings that don't even blink. It's simply not worth the repetitive actions. The game becomes far too boring far too quickly. Even if more animals -were- available, I would find myself hard pressed to work that hard for more immobile critters. (Not that the work is hard, mind you....)
The story is very unimaginative, in my opinion. It's not as though pet simulators offer much in the way of plot anyways... but a dog showing up on your farm during the rainy night? The game writers could have at least had enough courtesy to make up for the horrible drawings by inciting some sort of fascinating object to the game play. Why couldn't the dog have been beamed down from outer space with special powers which could only be unlocked by making the poor thing happy? Or why couldn't the dog be a runaway from the police task force, and you have to find out why the dog keeps bringing home crime objects? Those are enough lame ideas from me, but at least they'd be more interesting than a stray showing up on a farm.
You take care of a horses, ducks, chickens, and a dog. End of story.
Like a few other games I've reviewed, I rated this game with a 5/10 for one reason: you can keep playing it to your heart's content. There is no 'winning' to this game, your animals don't die or run away, and you can never be in the position of being unable to continue. I can't imagine anyone sticking with the game for more than half and hour, but if anyone wanted to, the option is there.
There are many summer jobs available too and as long as the randomizer doesn't give you the same job too frequently, the variety is large enough so that you don't end up playing the same challenge over and over again to the point of exhaustion. (That being said, I think there's only around a dozen jobs which come in the mailbox, and maybe another half dozen that come through the mother figure.)
There's absolutely nothing challenging about this game unless you want to discuss the challenge of tolerating it for more than half an hour. From the simplest task to the most complicated, they're all mundane and ridiculously easy. For example, brushing the horse or dog simply requires you to hold a button down while dragging your cursor across the image wherever you like until a happiness bar fills up. Feeding the animals simply requires that you have food or water, and you click on their bowls or troughs.
In fact, the most complicated aspect of taking care of your animals might be gathering the supplies, and even that doesn't offer much challenge. Aside from dog food, all the supplies are on the farm in some place, and all of the supplies are limitless. Dog food is simply obtained through completing summer jobs.
Some tasks on the farm require that you find or visit other areas first. For example, you can't pick up the ladder until you've been to the orchard and clicked on a tree, noting that the apples are too high. These little nuances aren't difficult to discover however, so the challenge they add is minimal, especially considering that the game map is so small.
Most 'jobs' require gathering something or moving from one point to another. For example, one job requires you to move through a map as fast you can to reach a checkpoint. The map isn't very large so I'm not impressed by the fact that it changes each time you play. Other jobs require you to 'catch' runaway sheep or rabbits, meaning you just have to chase them until your sprite lands on theirs.
Honestly I found the house's mini- games more fun than these. There are only three however, and I only found one of them to be strangely addictive. In one mini- game there is a field of gems and empty holes. You must clone a gem into the space next to it, and when you have formed a square of the same colored gems, you win points. In the meantime, the computer tries to steal open spaces by placing random gems in them.
The second mini game is one of those 'drag to match' games where you pull columns and rows around until at least three figures are aligned. There's nothing to give it a unique twist, so it was easily my least favorite mini game.
Finally, the last game appears to be an Arkanoid clone and then surprises you pleasantly by being something altogether different! Much like the other two games, the goal is to match blocks of the same color, but the method is genuinely different. You click the 'a' button to allow blocks to drop onto your paddle and you can only collect blocks of the same color. Then, you can send those blocks back up to the ceiling in any location of your choice by hitting the 'b' button. When four blocks are aligned vertically or horizontally, they burst off the screen and you earn points. In the meantime, the ceiling drops more blocks every few seconds, causing more frantic play once the ceiling becomes too low.
I especially enjoyed the last mini- game and it is the only reason I could see myself ever opening this game again. My only complaint would be that each mini - game can only be played for a certain amount of time, and once the clock winds down the game exits. I would like the ability to play the games until the ceiling reaches the floor, or no more gems can be matched.
But I've gone on a tangent now, haven't I? Back on topic:
As enjoyable as they were though, these games still offered no challenge. They were easy and like everything else in the game, they held no consequences. That's probably what makes this game most boring: there are no consequences for failing to do anything.
Overall, I wouldn't bother trying this game. There are much, much more amusing pet simulators and that's all there is to it. This game will only increase your boredom if you were looking to ease it, and it's likely to give you a headache in the process.
Graphics 5 Sound 4 Addictive 3 Depth 5 Story 1 Difficulty 1
Bibi und Tina - Ferien auf dem Martinshof Description: