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Drive, bear, drive!

Enviro-Bear 2010 is a game in which you play a bear driving a car who's trying to run over and then scarf up enough food to hibernate in the last 5 minutes before winter. Part game, part joke, part art piece--this game is one interesting iPhone app.

Enviro-Bear 2010 is part game, part joke, part art piece, and part game-design experiment, but it's also a bold and ridiculous app that's basically a Rorschach test for gamers. Unlike any other game, Enviro-Bear 2010 challenges you to play as a bear driving a car who's trying to run over and then scarf up enough food to hibernate in the last 5 minutes before winter.

Whether you love or hate Enviro-Bear 2010, a couple of things are certain: the interface is deliberately difficult (reflecting, one might suppose, the difficulty a real bear would experience driving a car) and the game is definitely meant to be funny. As you touch and drag to direct the bear's paw to steer, you'll also need to manage the gas and brake, shift between forward and reverse, and interact with anything that comes crashing in through your windshield--all with the same paw. Grab anything from fish and berries to rocks, badgers, leaves, bees, and more--most of which you'll eat to stock up before hibernating. The graphics and sounds are jarringly retro and demented, with lots of funny touches, like the bloodshot eyes when your frustrated bear avatar roars. The controls can get pretty frustrating at certain points, but it's clear that it was meant to be a part of the challenge.

There is some actual gameplay at the heart of Enviro-Bear 2010, with a surprising amount of interaction and some limited puzzle-solving in the otherwise absurd environment (populated, it should be noted, by other bears driving cars, which hopefully foreshadows a networked, online version of Enviro-Bear 2010), and the game's awkward controls can actually make the successful completion of each level even more satisfying. Overall, Enviro-Bear 2010 is clearly an inspired--or insane, depending on your perspective--app, and fans of the so-bad-it's-good sub-sub-genre will get a lot of enjoyment for the price.

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