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Betty's Beer Bar

Published by Mystery Studio
Price $19.95
Primary Genre Secondary Genre

I've come to the conclusion recently that not enough indie games feature beer. It's true, if you need a sure fire way of standing out from all those commercial releases, use beer because it has mass appeal and is an under-used beverage. But please, if you do decide to use beer, don't do what they did in Betty's Beer Bar.

You've got to admire those legs! B.B.B. includes a full tutorial to get you started.

Betty's Beer Bar is essentially a puzzle game. Remember the 8-bit classic Tapper? Well, this is the same principle, but with a different perspective. You play the game as hapless waitress wannabe Betty who dreams of being the best in her profession. Progress through the game relies on your skills at serving beer to the customers that frequent the many bars that employ Betty.

Gameplay is handled in a point-and-click adventure style, with the viewpoint of Betty behind the bar. Betty can be moved around the confines of the bar to collect money and empty glasses, serve drinks, wash glasses and make coffee. When things get frantic you can use each of Betty's hands for different tasks.

Story mode has a comic book feel to it with panel art showing Betty's life. Some of the characters you'll be serving include army officers, nuns and pirates!

To make progress you need to keep the punters happy, so you must ensure that Betty keeps everyone from leaving by serving drinks in clean glasses, quickly removing empties, and keeping them sober enough to pay the tips that are needed to succeed.

For the first 30 minutes or so, this is highly engaging stuff, with the player being forced to accommodate the various characters that frequent the bar. We're very much in puzzle territory here, and you get the sense that you don't really need the story of Betty getting in the way of playing the game.

Thanks to the story, the developers have been able to show some nice character design and the view is always entertaining. Moving between locations during story mode lets you admire the artwork and arriving at new locations gives you new drinkers to keep happy. Presentation throughout is always exceptional.

Music and spot effects in game are okay but grate after a few plays. I was expecting sound effects to match the characters that frequent the bars but was greeted only with the kerchings and splutters of cash collecting and glass filling. You sadly don't get any special sound effects when characters want a drink or get drunk so you have to rely on visual cues during play.

I'm not going to say that Betty's Beer Bar is a bad game. It does what it set out to do fairly well, but as a full PC game it feels shallow. The game stays above average thanks to the story and artwork but extra gameplay elements would have taken the score to the next level.

Graphics 80%
Sound 65%
Playability 70%
Longevity 40%
Overall Score 60%
Bronze Star

Published on 08 Apr 2005
Reviewed by Hayden Yale

Keywords: betty's beer bar review, mystery studio reviews, mystery studio games, betty's beer bar scores, pc game reviews, indie game reviews, independent gaming.