If you've been through some of the latest releases on the Nintendo Switch eShop, you're probably lazy, at least for a moment, on Bulb Boy. From the cover illustration, Bulbware's game has an unmistakable air, unique within the wide indie landscape of the Nintendo console. And indeed style is certainly the most element of the whole project, which gives a specific identity to an adventure that otherwise could easily go unnoticed. Bulb Boy tells the strange story of a family of light-bulb men rather out of the ordinary, who suddenly find themselves in the house invaded by obscure presences: the protagonist boy, awakening one night from a somewhat agitated sleep, sank into another nightmare Open if possible even worse, when he discovers that his beloved grandfather has been hit hard and the house is invaded by mysterious and evil creatures.
Not that ordinary everyday life properly proceeded like that of a typical family of the countryside: the fact that members (boy, grandfather and dog, in this case) are able to detach their heads from the body and connect it to the chandeliers of House to light up in the rooms tells a long saying about the normality of this family, yet the sympathetic macabre touch that normally characterizes the home life adds a new level of horror, achieving almost disturbing results in the grotesque contrast between the cute and fanciful appearance of the protagonist And the situations between the splatter and the classic horror in which you can find yourself in the new adventure that comes before you. This particular contrast is played by all the fascination of Bulb Boy, which recalls a fairy tale and a dreamlike style but plays with this style by inserting continuous disgusting and disturbing elements, yet without ever losing sight of the black humor that frames it all.
It is a sort of speechless story story that appears on the screen, in which the goals to be accomplished are never very clear at first but are explained through comics and designs when they are not obviously deduced using a minimum of intuition. The structure comes directly from the tradition of graphic adventures, with a kind of dynamic interface that can undergo some variations depending on the situation. Basically, the protagonist is controlled directly with the analog stick, while the sensitive elements on the screen are highlighted with arrows when approaching to indicate possible interactions. In some cases even the good old cursor is ticked in sections where it is possible to have a closer look at the objects to be picked up or the sorts of mini-games with assorted puzzles. The interactions with objects and elements of the scenario are contextual and often unpredictable, but always very funny, following the horror-horror line that characterizes the whole production.
Being a boy with his head / light bulb, its characteristic is to be able to illuminate the environment, and this has some consequences on his path to inconsistent darkness. In general, it is usually to combine objects between them and those with elements of the scenery to get various effects and to move from room to room to the great family spell. Though exploration is always enjoyable thanks to its beautiful characterization, and the character's and character's interactions are often fun, building puzzles in most cases is no more than brilliant with the solution that results or Somewhat obvious, given the scarcity of variables to be considered, or a little fortuitous, to be found by mixing together the few elements available through some attempt. On the other hand, without being able to rely on any type of text or dialogue, the immediacy and simplicity of the puzzle constructions is inevitable and indeed desirable not to make it all too cryptic.
We have already said it, but we repeat it again: Bulb Boy´s aesthetics would be worth the price of the ticket alone, which is also quite cheap for 7.99 euros. It is clear that the whole design of Bulb Boy, from the interactions with objects and scenarios to the construction of the puzzles, comes first of all by a remarkable coherence in the basic artistic vision. The Polish team, composed by virtually two members, has managed to put together a small game (even as it lasts, as it ends in about two hours) with a truly strong identity and a great charm. Its consistency is also remarkable: the decision to completely eliminate any type of verbal communication is well supported by the extreme expressiveness of the characters, while the strong characterization of the setting is also valid as a drive to explore the spell and continue in Bulb Boy. As a technical solution, Bulb Boy features a 2D graphics that is highly stylized with some great touches, such as the particular lighting system that accompanies the protagonist's movements, being a sort of human bulb, and the strange chromatic choice Focusing on the nuances of green, red and black, yet capable of delivering a powerful impact power. The contrast between the cartoons characterization and the frustration of certain scenes is not new, and fans of various Cartoon Network series and surroundings (Ren & Stimpy, Lion the Fifon Dog, Adventure Time) are well attentive to this Can exercise, but the sense of mystery, anxiety and tenderness that this strange world created by Bulbware can unleash all together, even thanks to the total lack of traditional communication, is truly something special.
Like its small protagonist-bulb in the darker darkness, Bulb Boy shines through its audiovisual characterization in the midst of so many indie similar productions. As often happens, the reversal of the medal in such an intricate style design is a bit of simplicity on the gaming front, or any lesser depth on the face of game design than the artistic directional aesthetic. In fact the puzzles are not perhaps memorable and the two hours of gameplay required for the conclusion go inexorably quickly. However, the sensations that come from this strange journey are worth the purchase price and who is looking for something particularly strange about Nintendo Switch should not really let this small, disturbing and charming tale escape.
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