Let’s take a look at … – Bob Was Hungry

[EDIT: In the review we stated that the game has only 19 levels. This is incorrect. The following is a message from the developer ragarding this:

“You mentioned that there are only 19 levels, but there are actually 5 different zones, with a total of 86 levels. Each of these levels has a hard version that is totally redesigned, so that adds up to 172 levels. It takes around 10 hours to complete the normal version of the game, and could easily take another 20 hours to complete the hard levels.”

Apologies!]

I used to hate platformer games. Didn’t have the patience for them when I first started gaming. Slowly over time, I’ve gained both some skill and patience and actually prefer such games. I picked Shorebound Studios’ new release, Bob Was Hungry, for what looked to be a fun, cute 3D platforming experience. I was in for a shock.

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The opening cinematics were simple, a little cheesy, and almost misleading. I thought this game would be easy, at least to start, slowly hand-holding me into harder levels as I learned a couple moves. My little alien (who looks more like a meatball with eyes than anything) simply has to be guided to his dinner. Your time is only recorded if you also get the bottle of condiments before you finish the run and win your covered dish. Simple concept, but almost immediately, I was forced to rethink my expectations of this game. This precision platformer is absolutely no joke.

I can’t play more than a few attempts before I have to stop because my hands get too sweaty and I start getting that I-am-going-to-throw-my-controller-through-my-monitor feeling welling up from an evil place deep within my soul. Finally completing a level creates a rush of relief and congratulatory gloating to myself. Failing yet again usually leads to anything from a slight huff of annoyance to a long string of profanities. But, as a gamer, you know it’s kind of fun torturing yourself.

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The controls are not like “real life.” Newton’s laws don’t quite apply here. You can move Bob around in the air, not following any Earthly-type physics rules. You can make him shoot farther, bounce up walls, and go backwards some, but he certainly is a victim to gravity. Don’t let him fall off a cliff or onto spikes or you’ll have to start over.

Wondering if maybe I just wasn’t cut out for this, being a newer gamer than my husband, I had him try it. It wasn’t long before he was grunting in frustration… and then cussing, which made me feel better about myself. There’s a lot of laughing in this game too- little Bob explodes in a fluffy mess of alien bits when you mess up.

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The game offers a co-op option for 2-8 players. I have mixed feelings about it. The maps are the same.  If one person gets the condiment, it applies to the group. If one person dies, they respawn where the other player is (although I’m not sure how it works for more than 2 players). It’s fun to play together, but the respawn point makes it almost too easy for you to pass together. For how hard the game is, I was surprised at this. Connecting locally was quick and straightforward.

If you love torturing yourself with learning precision moves to get through a map, this game is definitely for you.  So far, it only has 19 levels*, but there are normal and hard difficulties to give you some replay value.  The graphics are simple and colorful and Bob is a cute little alien, but there’s nothing adorable about the frustration you’re going to feel playing this!

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 Tl;dr – Bob Was Hungry is a difficult 3D platformer with a simple concept- get your Bob some food without dying. With unique physics “rules”, and lots of challenging moves to make, this game is perfect for the precision gamer. The £10.99/$14.99 price tag on Steam is a little steep for it being a small game, but it’s currently on sale for £7.33/$9.99.

 Rating – 7/10

 Purchase – Steam £10.99$14.99

 Trailer –

Let’s take a look at … – Lost Orbit

Hello, my lovely indie gamers! Have you ever been lost in space? Hey, neither have I … and thank God for that! However, you’ll get your turn soon enough as this hopeless space mechanic from Lost Orbit, an outer-space obstacle course game from the PixelNAUTS studio! Currently available only as a playable demo, the game is in the process of joining other action or arcade games on Steam for PC!

As said once already, in Lost Orbit, you play as a guy lost in space. Other than on the game’s ABOUT page, there is no story you’ll find within the demo, especially not that his name is Harrison. The goal is to lead Harrison home, via a drag-style obstacle course, in which you must avoid gliding asteroids and machinery. Along the path are obtainium that you can collect to purchase upgrades (not available in the demo, however).

As you travel, you will encounter these obstacles that you must avoid flying into, along with the wall-like barriers the asteroids form. If you find yourself on the wrong edge of the course (even when trying to avoid other obstacles), you can fly towards the edge and you’ll end up on the opposite side via the game’s screen-wrap.

Getting into the game, you are accompanied by ambient electronic music and the cell-shaded graphic environment (if you don’t know what cell-shading is, refer to Borderlands’ graphics). At ‘Amazing!’ graphics, well, the setting says it all. The environment looks just that! Even at ‘Ok’ graphics, all you get is a slight blur on areas of surroundings and less anti-aliasing (better rounded edges), and still looks great! As for the music, it suits the mood. After all, I wouldn’t think Harrison’s in too much of a hurry, especially when the later he gets home, the fewer pieces he’ll be in! And, as said before, within the demo itself you will not find any story, and in the case of the demo, it’s not very relevant to the gameplay offered.

Acknowledging that Lost Orbit is not yet available, other than as a playable demo, there are a lot of things I personally could not comment on. The visuals and audio are fit for this kind of game. The controls are also fluid. My only real complaint is that turning gets a tiny bit touchy sometimes, even on my controller, but that may just be user error. I do await the full version, as the demo doesn’t offer everything, but as far as I am concerned with the demo, it’s got it’s gears (in a good way)!

Originally, I felt obligated to check out and review this game for something to do, then I wondered if I’d really get into it much. When I found how difficult the levels and their checkpoints progress to be, it annoyed me a bit, but I channeled that feeling into determination to retry the part again, whether I’d take a new or the same approach, or just avoid it. Really, the desire to come back for more really got me into it. The gradual difficulty of levels 1 and 2 inspired me to check out the last level just to see how far more difficult it’d be! On top of the amazing visuals and relaxing music, it’s rewarding to try over and over.

In all ado, the demo of Lost Orbit gives what the full version plans to bring, including focus on RPG elements, quite the curious potential, and so I’d deem it worth the play! With amazing visuals and its outer space setting, with a background of relaxing music, the gradual difficulty and reward will pull you back into its orbit for more!

PixelNAUTS’ outer-space obstacle course gets 9 splats out of 10!