Bulb Boy (Nintendo Switch) Review

By Adam Riley 15.07.2017 2

Review for Bulb Boy on Nintendo Switch

When is a point-and-click adventure not a point-and-click adventure? When it comes from its PC roots to a touch-screen enabled device without any touch, instead mapping things to a controller, making it more of a platform adventure with a few timing puzzles mixed in. Bulbware has taken its Kickstarter-funded creepy title, Bulb Boy and helped it make the leap from home computer to console. Does not implementing the intuitive controls that the Nintendo Switch offers actually hinder the experience, though?

To a certain degree, yes, it does, unfortunately. Bulb Boy starts off with scenes that seem perfect for touch in handheld mode, or on-screen pointer controls on the big screen, both of which Switch has. However, instead players are forced to get used to a new control system that is more awkward to use and totally removes this from the point-and-click genre, meaning it is currently being incorrectly advertised and fans of said genre will no doubt be disappointed.

That aside, though, the game itself does begin in quite an intriguing manner, introducing its bulb-headed protagonist, showing how he can wander around, interacting with objects around the initial living room setting, before completing a few tasks and then moving onto the next room, this time to take part in some timing-based gameplay. Point-and-click adventures tend to focus on the collection of items, manipulation of them, and then correct usage in different scenarios. What happens in Bulb Boy, however, is that the deeper you delve, the more it becomes apparent that this is not what most would deem a point-and-click adventure at all. Instead, it is more of a puzzle-platformer, exploring areas to find out what timed-trigger is required next, and even taking part in various boss battles (expect to die and then get caught waiting for the scene to play out slowly before the screen finally decides to reload).

Screenshot for Bulb Boy on Nintendo Switch

Okay, so forget the genre labelling for now. How does it shape up in its own right? Well, sadly the element of actually solving puzzles is watered down, relying on simple running back and forth to avoid an enemy or trap, hitting certain triggers before dashing back and forth again until complete. Yes, it feels as laborious as it sounds, and is even more tiresome thanks to the slow movement of using the analogue stick. More often than not it will be wrenched to one side in the hope of squeezing a tiny amount of extra speed from the bulb-headed lead. It is especially frustrating when comparing videos of how stress-free certain sections were in the PC version to how irksome they can be using a combination of analogue stick and face buttons - one specific inhaling-related boss battle springs to mind, along with the navigation of some gnashing teeth.

It does have its redeeming moments, and there are some fresh ideas included, like being able to launch Bulb Boy's head onto overhanging lights, squeezing into the carcass of different animals when body-less, using his head to light up dark areas, and so on, but the ideas are never fully fleshed out. There are clever ideas in here, but they really needed to be expanded upon, and the control system definitely needs a re-think, perhaps patching in touch for handheld mode and pointer controls for docked mode. With this being a multi-platform console release, though, the chances of a Switch-specific patch might not be high on the agenda.

Screenshot for Bulb Boy on Nintendo Switch

Cubed3 Rating

5/10
Rated 5 out of 10

Average

Bulb Boy certainly has an intriguing visual concept, but lays it on a bit thick with the weird and wacky side of things later on without really explaining why, or even bothering to draw everything together into a cohesive package. Rather than being an extremely smart point-and-click adventure with mind-bending puzzles and a clever-but-creepy storyline, it instead strings together a handful of simple scenarios that do not hold the attention for long, and barely offer any challenge - unless awkward controls and long re-loads count. To top it off, there is barely any story to tickle gamers' imaginations, and then it finishes in about an hour, which for its price makes it hard to recommend.

Developer

Bulbware

Publisher

Bulbware

C3 Score

Rated $score out of 10  5/10

Reader Score

Rated $score out of 10  0 (0 Votes)

European release date Out now   North America release date Out now   Japan release date Out now   Australian release date Out now   

Comments

thegamerforever (guest) 18.07.2017#1

I have finished the game in over 2 hours. Is it possible to beat it in an hour? It would be hard... For me it's AWESOME little game Smilie

There were points that I enjoyed, but it was very simple and the ideas weren't developed enough. I'd love to see the team expand it further with a sequel as it has a lot of promise.

The Switch controls are a big issue for me, though - it just doesn't feel as natural as the PC version's mouse controls. I really hope there's a patch.

As for the length, it took me just over an hour and that was because the controls during the final boss battle drove me nuts. I died repeatedly just because of the slow movement using the analogue stick. The actual puzzles during the game were very simple - but maybe that's because the point and click genre is my favourite and I've played so many that the possible stumbling blocks weren't as tricky for me. Not sure Smilie

Adam Riley [ Operations Director :: Senior Editor :: Cubed3 Limited ]
Word of Adam | Voice123 Profile | AdamC3 on Twitter

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