Dr. Robotnik’s Mean Bean Machine

Sega Master System
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Dr. Robotnik's Mean Bean Machine, also known as Mean Bean "Machin," is the result of Sega's localization efforts to bring Puyo Puyo, a classic Japanese puzzler, to the US and EU markets.

In this game, Dr. Robotnik harnesses the power of cheerful beans to fuel his new robots and employs a colossal machine to “roboticize” them. Your role, while never explicitly defined (though many assume it’s Sonic), is to liberate these beans from their captivity and thwart Dr. Robotnik’s diabolical scheme.

This review explores the game’s gameplay, graphics, sound, controls, and replayability, comparing it to the more renowned Mega Drive version.

Gameplay: The Bean-Matching Challenge

In Dr. Robotnik’s Mean Bean Machine, gameplay revolves around manipulating differently colored beans as they descend, akin to the mechanics of Tetris. Your task is to control their placement and rotation strategically.

Once four or more beans of the same color align, they vanish, earning you points.

Should the beans reach the top of the screen, the game ends. An interesting twist is the ability to set up combos by positioning beans strategically, a feature that caters to both casual and experienced players.

Combos and Modes

Combos add depth to the game. For instance, stacking three yellow beans with three red beans on top and eliminating the red ones causes the yellow beans to fall and clear those below. This mechanic allows skilled players to achieve high scores by setting up intricate combos.

Game Modes:
Dr. Robotnik’s Mean Bean Machine offers four game modes: Scenario Mode, 1P vs. 2P Mode, Exercise Mode, and Puzzle Mode, each with its unique challenges and appeal.

  • Scenario Mode: The main mode pits you against Dr. Robotnik’s minions. Initially slow-paced, it gradually intensifies, becoming a test of your skills as beans rain down relentlessly. Passwords are provided after each level, though they are somewhat cumbersome, requiring you to describe beans instead of a simple code.
  • 1P vs. 2P Mode: This mode mirrors Scenario Mode but adds a competitive twist by allowing a friend to control Dr. Robotnik’s minions.
  • Exercise Mode: My personal favorite, this solo mode challenges you to achieve the highest score possible before filling the board. The speed increases gradually, offering more challenge over time.
  • Puzzle Mode: Exclusive to the Master System version, Puzzle Mode presents 30 missions with pre-set beans on the field, tasking you with unique objectives like clearing specific colored beans or achieving multi-bean clears.

Graphics: A Mix of Simplicity and Detail

The game’s graphics present a blend of strengths and weaknesses. While elements like the Game Over screen and background textures impress for an 8-bit console, the beans themselves appear as basic colored circles with minimal detail.

In-game depictions of robots fare better, but Dr. Robotnik’s in-game appearance can be comically exaggerated.

Sound & Music: A Mixed Bag

Sound and music contribute to the game’s atmosphere but with mixed results. The music, while initially decent, becomes repetitive in Scenario Mode’s second half and is reused in Exercise Mode. However, Dr. Robotnik’s theme and the music in Puzzle Mode stand out as enjoyable compositions.

Controls: Simple Yet Challenging

Controls in Mean Bean Machine are intuitive, akin to Tetris. The beans respond well to your inputs, though as the game’s pace intensifies in later levels, maintaining precise control becomes increasingly challenging.

This adds to the game’s overall difficulty, but it’s more a matter of skill progression than flawed controls.

Replayability: Hours of Bean-Clearing Fun

Dr. Robotnik’s Mean Bean Machine offers ample replay value. While Scenario Mode loses some replayability without difficulty options, it remains challenging.

Puzzle Mode offers unique brain-teasers, Exercise Mode allows continuous self-improvement, and 1P vs. 2P Mode offers competitive enjoyment.


Dr. Robotnik’s Mean Bean Machine for the Master System delivers an engaging and addictive puzzle experience. While its graphics and music have their ups and downs, the gameplay, modes, and accessible controls make it a valuable addition to any gaming collection.

Match beans, clear combos, and outsmart Dr. Robotnik in a bean-filled adventure!

Play Dr. Robotnik’s Mean Bean Machine Online

Whether you’re at home or on the move, you can enjoy the thrill of Dr. Robotnik’s Mean Bean Machine online on our website, as well as on your mobile and tablet devices. Enjoy the world of beans and robots wherever you go!

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Is Dr. Robotnik's Mean Bean Machine available on other platforms?

Yes, Dr. Robotnik’s Mean Bean Machine is available on various platforms, including the Sega Mega Drive, Sega Genesis, and Sega Game Gear.

Can I play Dr. Robotnik's Mean Bean Machine with friends?

Certainly! The game features a 1P vs. 2P mode, allowing you to challenge a friend and see who can outsmart Dr. Robotnik’s minions.

How do I obtain passwords in Scenario Mode?

After completing each level in Scenario Mode, you will receive a password. These passwords allow you to continue your progress from where you left off.

Is Puzzle Mode available in all versions of the game?

No, Puzzle Mode is exclusive to the Master System version of Dr. Robotnik’s Mean Bean Machine.

Can I adjust the difficulty in Exercise Mode?

Yes, Exercise Mode offers a difficulty setting, allowing you to tailor the game’s speed to your preferences and skill level.