Review: Bulb Boy

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In a gaming year filled with shooting, fultoning, ink-squirting, soccer karting, wasteland exploration, countless deaths, and tomb raiding (among other things, of course), it’s soothing to just sit back and enjoy a quieter experience. Enter: Bulb Boy.

Developed by Bulbware and available on PC, Bulb Boy is a pretty creepy point-and-click adventure that has players confronted with clever puzzles and terrifying monstrosities. You see that creature in the featured image above? Yes, that’s exactly what you think it is. And it’s just the tip of the beautifully disturbing ice berg the game hits you with, making you sink into its immersive world.

The story revolves around the titular Bulb Boy who finds his nightmare spilling out into the world around him when his home is invaded by monsters. His family is also missing. It’s the cute little hero’s job to find them and rid whatever has caused this mess. The story is simple and told nicely through its main plot thread interspersed with flashback scenes. Everything feels seamless, and you’re constantly compelled to keep pushing forward until the very end.

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The controls are also simple. It’s a point-and-click adventure with some really clever puzzles that have you doing a variety of things — like detaching your bulb head and attaching it to appropriate objects overhead — that help make this game feel fresh among so many others in the genre. There’s never a dull moment. The puzzles present a satisfying challenge that never flirts with either extreme of the easy/hard scale. It’s just right.

The one downside is that the experience is over too quickly. I would’ve loved to have some more puzzles thrown in, more stealth sequences, or maybe a couple of more boss fights. Speaking of boss fights – they’re excellent. Some of them are even multi-tiered affairs and really involve some layered thinking. But, again, the challenge is just right and doesn’t travel to Souls territory. Two of my biggest noteworthy challenges in the game came towards the end. Both were boss encounters: one required careful examination of the area around you, while the other required precise timing. That can give you a pretty good idea of what to expect from the big baddies in this game.

Bulb Boy is just what I needed during a jam-packed gaming year. Sure, I love all those triple A titles I alluded to in the beginning of this review, but Bulb Boy just allowed me to sit back and relax with a puzzler that’s right up my horror-splattered alley. Now I’m left wanting a plush of Bulb Boy

9 Stars (9 / 10)

   
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