Review for Billy the Painter
Billy the Painter – style over substance
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.
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.