Platform: Nintendo Switch (eShop)
Category: Adventure & Puzzles
Release Date: 6th of July, 2017 (NA) & 13th of July, 2017 (EU)
* * * * *
Fresh off binge watching the Castlevania series and feel like playing a game that compliments the fine main course served to us by Netflix, well you could play any Castlevania game of your choosing, but if you’re looking for a game you can play right now on Switch, look no further than Bulb Boy!
Being s a point and click game that falls in the horror adventure, genre Bulb Boy is far more than just the usual point and click games us gamers find ourselves playing more often then we’d like to admit. But what it is that makes Bulb Boy stand out is while the Switch does have a touch-screen of its own that could have been utilised, instead you are prompted to walk around the various levels, scouring for items that when used and some being used in combination, can help you move on to the next stage of the horrific night mare the titular Bulb Boy must journey through. While the whole lack of touch-screen features can be viewed as a fault with the game, at least it ensures an equal experience in whatever mode you choose to play it in.
As for the actual exploration of the game’s story, well it is something you will want to pay attention to, not because it’s hard to follow, but if you’re in the room with someone playing the game on the TV and you leave, you might not like what you see when you come back five minutes later, since in that five minutes, whoever is playing could have solved how you beat the Chicken monster, have Bulb Boy devour the whole thing and run off to the toilet, only to then have a huge excrement monster trying to escape the toilet bowl Bulb Boy dropped it into and while they’re figuring out what to do, all you can do is think “holy…” you get the idea.
Now with regards to the story, or the whole point of the game, Bulb Boy revolves around a boy who has a bulb for a head. A bulb that allows him to give off light, allows him to survive electric shocks, unscrew and screw onto things like suits of armour, jump from chandelier to chandelier whilst his body runs around him, following his head and even hide in things like a severed pig’s head. A boy who one night goes to bed after watching TV with his Grandpa-raffin and beloved pet Mothdog (a dog/moth hybrid). Only when he awakes from a nightmare, he finds himself having to live out an actual nightmare as evil has taken over his house and kidnapped his family.
From that point on, the rescue mission begins and Bulb Boy must advance through his own home, whilst doing battle with demonic beasts of every form and solving the puzzles present in every room, but there’s more to it than just that. There’s toilet humour, genuine fear that makes you think Bulb Boy is about to literally pee himself when facing certain horrors and there is an evil laugh. For a little lovable bulb that is genuinely afraid some of the things he sees, he can be a right little evil blighter every time he finds a way to kill them, only to rejoice with a little laugh that actually makes the player want to join in with. A laugh he will even do when he finds a knife in the kitchen, but if you’re worried the game solely consists of trying to survive a nightmare of monsters, who can kill you and cause you to restart at the last autosave save point, you worry in vain!
As well as horrors that awaits you, happier times can also be played as Bulb Boy’s memories can be relieved and when such a thing occurs, other members of his family can be played, so while Bulb Boy is playable for the first one, Mothdog is the playable character for the second one and Grandpa-raffin is playable for the third one, only being old, he is very slow and has a tendency to fall asleep, so prepare to do some button mashing as some rather sweet music plays in the background, which is a nice break from the macabre/demented stuff encountered throughout the rest of the game.
Biggest downside to what is a multi-award winning game though, is the fact that it can be played in a single playthrough as it can easily be completed well under three hours, but just because there isn’t that much content, at least it is a game that most puzzle loves and speedrunners can enjoy, plus by making it to the end, you can now access a photo journal that allows you to replay any level of your desire, but as far as this weird, hellish and oh so very green title goes, it is quite the charmer indeed!
* * * * *
Without a doubt, Bulb Boy is a living nightmare, in the sense that everything that goes on, is something you’d expect to see in a nightmare and not the game is horribly designed and not worth getting. It also has a charm and an appeal that no most point and click games, but as enjoyable as it is and good to swallow after watching Castlevania, it is not a game that will necessarily stay with you for all your days as it will never find a place in your Top 10 games’ list, but it is a bizarre little game that will exist in your memory for far longer than most. So for all the reasons above, I’m scoring Bulb Boy a 7/10. I’m not sold on the idea of seeing this game get a sequel, but I am sold on seeing what else Bulbware can bring to the Switch because they’re ideas are out there and it’s my kind of thinking!
THE VERDICT: 7/10
*Review Key Provided by Bulbware