Among the weirdo indies out there that simply have their own style and approach, The Binding of Isaac is practically an icon. With its distinctive look, decidedly gross theming, and very odd characters it simply demands your attention. That made a new game set in that “universe” have some immediate appeal, so I was excited to see what would happen with the very different direction Bum-bo would take. I’ll give the people behind this credit, a roguelike strategy puzzler wasn’t on my Bingo card of expectations… the question is whether it has managed to really make use of that distinctive style to great effect. While I can appreciate the challenge it puts up, and from character to character you’ll really have to take into account their attributes and spells to find an effective plan of attack, I’d say it’s somewhere in the middle. Working a bit like a Match-3 at its core you’ll need to carefully alter the board to try to set up matches, the bigger the better, and then hope to pepper in some combos when possible as well. Clearing parts of the board will then award you with mana associated with the pieces you removed, and that will then power a pretty wide potential variety of spells you can use to try to attack your enemies, protect yourself, or alter the board in the hopes of setting yourself up for success and plain survival. After each stage you’ll then get a chance to pick out a new random spell, and these tend to vary pretty wildly, moving until you reach a stage boss, with an opportunity to use coins you’ve grabbed along the way for different perks and power-ups if you’re able to defeat them. As you clear higher stages you’ll have new characters to try to find success with, and their stats and spells will often require a radical shift from your previous strategies, something that’s absolutely a plus. All that said, among its roguelike strategy peers outside of its general sense of style I can’t say it necessarily knocks it out of the originality and addictiveness park, but if you’re a genre fan who loves a pretty good challenge it’s absolutely worth a look.
Justin Nation, Score: