Billy the Painter – style over substance

Jul 13, 2012
Games

You’ve had a long hard day. You come home, sit back, prop up your feet, relax for a minute and then break out the paint. Not the kind that goes on a canvas, mind, you’re all about painting the house. If that’s your idea of a good time, Billy the Painter is just the diversion […]

You’ve had a long hard day. You come home, sit back, prop up your feet, relax for a minute and then break out the paint. Not the kind that goes on a canvas, mind, you’re all about painting the house. If that’s your idea of a good time, Billy the Painter is just the diversion you’ve been looking for. With a look straight out of Merry Melodies circa 1931, Billy the Painter is one of the simplest games in the App Store. It’s a stylish little puzzler with a surprisingly enjoyable and genuinely unique premise, but bundled, as it is, with almost no features, the game makes for an enjoyable diversion, but not a sustainable one.

Billy has a simple job. He has to paint floors – as many as he can. But it seems he’s lost his brush because all he can do is drop paint from the can and watch it spread outward to fill in roundish patches that have gone bare. Just tap where the drop should fall and it will spread outward from that point until the paint hits an edge and everything stops. The more floor Billy covers with his paint spills, the better your score on that level.

The key to success is all in the timing. The floors generally come with one large asymmetric hole and a few smaller adjacent ones. It’s all about placing the paint drops at the perfect moment in the best spots so they cover the most naked floor. Each level has a minimum threshold; at first it’s no biggie if Billy makes a mess and covers only half the hole, but soon accuracy counts, and the patterns become increasingly irregular. It takes a lot of trial and error once you need 80 percent, and it’s three tries then out.

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That’s really all there is. There are no achievements, leaderboards, unlockables, power-ups, additional game modes or even Game Center integration.

The graphics are charming, black-and white with just enough washed-out primary hues to give it life and the soundtrack evokes a silent film era piano accompanist. But, it’s a case of style over substance. While Billy the Painter is novel and a pleasant way to waste a few minutes, there is no real replay value or incentive to improve, and the core gameplay isn’t sustainable on its own as more than a brief, albeit pleasant, distraction. I hope they add more action in an update because the idea is compelling, but for now this game is best suited for younger players who prefer no complications, have short attention spans, and can benefit from honing the spatial skills needed for success.

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Lisa Caplan

Lisa Caplan writes app lists and guides as well as reviewing iOS apps and games on various tech sites, most recently on her fledgling iPhone and iPad giveaway blog, AppTudes. She is thrilled to be joining the stellar reviewing team at Appolicious.

Located in a balmy Montreal suburb, Lisa has an advanced degree in Creative Writing, and has had an Apple computer by her side since 1979! She is a talentless art nut, bibliophile and accessory junkie. Lisa looks forward to sharing her gaming addiction and love for all tech that promotes culture, communication, social awareness and education at every level.

You can follow Lisa on Twitter @AppTudes for iOS news or @LisaTheAppChick for random nonsense.

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