Sawbuck Gamer is our daily review of a free or cheap ($10 or less) game.
Escaping the underworld has never been a simple proposition, but the titular boneheads of Bill & Ted’s Bogus Journey managed to find their way out. Bill and Ted find themselves dead and trapped in hell. They come up with a brilliantly idiotic scheme to challenge Death Incarnate not to a game of chess, but to something more in line with their intellectual capabilities: Twister. Their ticket out of hell was to do what worked best for them, and the blue duck of Ice Beak does the same.
While navigating a surprisingly expansive hellish landscape, this lonely bird manages to transform it into a winter wonderland of sorts, by shooting balls of ice and snow from its beak. This proves even more effective than Twister, as the ice can jam up fireball-spewing cannons or bring down one of the myriad floating baddies—who bear a certain demonic resemblance to Dilbert’s Pointy-Haired Boss.
The hitch in each level is that you have a limited supply of ice—you are in hell, after all. While the inferno is peppered with ice-refueling stations early on, later levels spread them apart, and in typical Nitrome fashion, progressively difficult and inventive puzzle elements are introduced in each level, each of which requires timing and finesse. Beak’s endgame is downright menacing, and it left me yearning for the relative simplicity of four limbs, one colorful mat, and a spinner wheel.