The Final Bead is a gross but cute, side-scrolling exploration game originally built for a Philly Dev Night game jam in 2015.
In The Final Bead, you play as a lost bead making your way through some unfortunate soul’s large intestine. As we aren’t provided the backstory behind the bead’s smelly circumstances, it is unclear if the bead was swallowed or, to avoid being overly crude, introduced by other means. You’ll travel through the winding colonic maze collecting food stuffs to replenish your health and discovering other beads, each with their own unique power-up.
With its seemingly random maps and selection of collectable power-ups, it’s hard not to draw a comparison between The Final Bead and indie darling The Binding of Isaac. The Final Bead even shares its much of its color palette and cartoony, grotesque 2D art style with it. Unfortunately for The Final Bead, The Binding of Isaac is a very, VERY tough act to follow.
Where The Final Bead stumbles is in its lack of clarity. It’s unclear what you are supposed to be doing, where you are supposed to be going, or what your beads’ various power-ups even do. Rotating through beads is clunky, resisting our best efforts to select any bead beyond the first two in the chain. Also, there is a strange “stickiness” to the walls that effectively eliminates your ability to fluidly move through the level, making evading enemies a bit of a chore.
Being a game jam game, this lack of polish can be dismissed, but if the developers elect to continue working on the title, implementing juicier, more satisfying interactions would do wonders to smooth out some of the game’s more awkward moments. Bring on the exploding cysts, stomach-churning squishy sounds, and sickly green ooze!
Controls: A/D – Movement, W – Jump, Shift + A/D – Change Bead, S – Use Power-up, P – Pause
Available On: Windows & Mac