Bulb Boy Review
If there ever was an eerie title, Bulb Boy is it. Developed by Bulbware, a small team from Poland, they’ve clearly been inspired by two things: Games of yesteryear and horror. Although at first glance, it may not seem like a horror. After all, it is a point and click adventure, but is it puzzling?
Bulb Boy, the titular character wakes up from a nightmare to discover a mysterious darkness has overshadowed his house, eliminating light in its path. He hears a cry for help from his presumably father, in which he decides to go investigate and thus your journey as Bulb Boy begins. Bulb Boy is cleverly developed in such a way where there is no narrative whatsoever. No text prompts, no item descriptions when highlighting interactables, yet at the same time, it provides you with enough information so you’re not feeling completely bewildered but you still know you have a specific goal to reach with each puzzle you come across.
For example, in the opening levels, you know you have to leave the room, so you attempt to leave, but a nasty spider thwarts your progress and displays a bunch of images depicting some bugs. This tells you that you’re going to have to feed this spider these bugs before it will let you past, but now it’s up to you to work out how to gather these bugs. Use your head (quite literally) to peek in closets, under beds and other places to solve puzzles and acquire items for your inventory to help you solve other puzzles. The majority of items you discover and pickup are recognisable everyday items so you shouldn’t have much trouble trying to decipher exactly what that item is you just picked up.
The art style is unique, with the whole game played in a mostly green hue with chilling music throughout and plenty of jump scares but not just for the sake of a cheap scare as they really get the timing right. And you know when real evil is lurking – when the screen goes red. This added with the art style makes for a unique title with an unusual and creepy way of storytelling. Amplified by the fact that the titular character is just as creepy looking, you’re going to feel uncomfortable playing throughout.
There were plenty of times huge rushes of nostalgia cropped up when playing. Specifically and weirdly enough, my first thoughts were Fantastic Dizzy from the Amiga days. Although Dizzy proved to be more confusing at times, you can tell that the developer had inspiration from games like these. There were a few times that the head was scratched during puzzles, but it never felt like it was trying to beat my intelligence. This is Bulb Boy’s first foray into creating games, and what a fantastic job they have done. If their aim was to bring back themes of the eighties, they’ve certainly done the trick. They’ve made a title accessible to gamers old and new, and potentially made a new mascot. I could see myself lighting up the room with a Bulb Boy lamp. Give me one. Now.
Bulb Boy is available to download from the Xbox Store, lighting up at a price of £7.19.
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About: Stephen Loftus
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