Thursday, July 6, 2017

Review: Bulb Boy


Since many indie games on the Switch thus far have had an action focus of some kind, people in search of something a little more relaxing may have have been feeling a bit left out. If you don’t mind some potty humor, very unusual enemies, and a quirky sense of humor (or, better yet, are searching them out) Bulb Boy should lift your spirits, at least for a little while.


First and foremost among the game’s charms is the art style. Often looking, to me, like something out of a John Kricfalusi (of Ren and Stimpy fame) sketch book the game is visually a lot of fun. In contrast to the ever-cheery Bulb Boy himself the settings he often finds himself in are typically dingy and somewhat nightmarish. Even better, there are some enemy creature designs in the game that left me alternatingly shocked and amused by in quick succession. It’s the “what the hell am I going to run into next?” question that drives you to overcome each set of challenges put before you and, in general, the game rewards you for your persistence.





As there is no dialogue in the game the story is pretty basic, and due to the short length I’ll not cover it any further for fear of ruining what there is. Suffice it to say that Bulb Boy has run into some adversity and will need to muster up courage to overcome the frightening creatures he encounters along the way. The music that accompanies his journey is appropriately themed and helps reinforce what’s on the screen nicely.


The bulk of the gameplay is point-and-click (though not on the touchscreen) adventure style, something traditional console players may not be as familiar with but is easy to pick up. As these sorts of games go the environmental puzzles are handled very well, neither being mind-numbingly simple or hopelessly obtuse. Some trial and error solutions to problems are involved, followed often by death, but you never lose too much progress since the autosave occurs quite often. There was one puzzle in the game that stumped me for the wrong reason, namely that I didn’t understand I could use the right analog stick to control a second character in parallel, but the problem may be mine and a quick look around gave me the information I needed to continue on.

It doesn't remain this cheery
If you’re looking for a unique game experience on the Switch that isn’t terribly expensive and will provide you with a few hours of varying challenges and laughs Bulb Boy delivers quite handsomely. Especially since, for the moment, it has nothing comparable to go up against on the console it is a breath of fresh air as well. As long as you keep your expectations for its length in check there’s little holding me back from recommending it to people in search of a little adventuring.


Score: 8



Pros:
  • Distinctive art style
  • Clever puzzles that generally make sense
  • An often devilish, though sometimes childish, sense of humor


Cons:

  • There’s no escaping that it’s over too soon
  • Point-and-click adventure isn’t for everyone
  • In one case a control option wasn’t clear to me

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