Genre:        Adventure (with platform actions)          

Developer & Publisher:   Bulbware             

Released:        October 2015        

Requirements (minimum):

  • OS: Windows 7, 8, 8.1, 10
  • Processor: Intel i3
  • Memory: 2 GB RAM
  • Graphics: Intel HD 4000



By flotsam


Bulb Boy


You get to play as many things when you play adventure games, some more interesting than others. Being Bulb Boy is certainly more of the former. Having a glass detachable head, with a body that faithfully scuttles along behind as you roll on, makes for some interesting conundrum solves. That is before mentioning being swallowed, dragged down the toilet, or carried around by your flying doglike pet.

A head is a very useful thing, especially one that unscrews. Screw it onto a knights body and voila – instant warrior. One that lights up is better again – fling it into a dark space and see exactly what you are doing. Immunity to electrocution can be helpful as well, especially when looking to rid yourself of a pack of ravenous wormlike critters or repair some frayed wiring.

Bulb Boy lives in a bulb-house, with an elderly bulbish father type figure and said flying dog thing. He wakes one night to find the house overrun with hideous monstrous things, and it’s up to him to put things straight. This involves finding a few things, and swinging, dodging, rolling, avoiding and blowing things up (mechanically and by other means).

You can die in interesting ways, and you then get to try again. The game starts more gently than it ends. My first encounter simply resulted in me being grabbed by the head and flung back across the room. The last involved being swallowed over and over by a fire belching beast and navigating the increasingly difficult innards that tried to crush/smash/chew/dissolve/me.

I am not sure what that last beast was called, but along the way I got Steam achievements for defeating the headless chicken, the snotty bunny and the drunken earthworm. There were others without achievements, including a somewhat grotty poop monster. I missed out on the achievement “Nice to poo you” and can only imagine what that might have involved.

I also got to play some of Bulb Boys more pleasant memories, of days before the creatures came. Playing in a park and fishing in a river, with the doggy and daddy things. You get to play each of them on occasion as well, and need to co-operate with the dog more than once in order to survive in monster land.

I have to confess I had a lot of fun.

The quirky and interestingly coloured look was enough to get me interested, then the sing song gibberish and picture bubbles pulled me further in. The rather disgusting monsters sealed the deal.

Bulb Boy himself was also rather endearing, especially the first time he unscrewed his head. When he inhabited a spider and scuttled around upside down, dodging the spitting giant head in the middle of the web in order to save his dog, he had me hooked.

While there are inventory items and conundrums to solve (mainly how to vanquish the next beast), it should be clear by now this is not a pure adventure. The beasts are like the “bosses” in action style games, getting more and more hideous and difficult to defeat. It’s not like an action game though, where you wield a big stick/sword/gun and have it. Instead, you might manipulate the environment, or get involved in a series of little platform type actions involving timing, dodging and running/swimming/rolling/flying away. I died a lot, but never stopped having a good time doing so.

Bulb Boy is all point and click, and the mouse button will get a good work out. The game autosaves periodically, and is generous in doing so. This is particularly evident during some of the more complicated sequences – getting through one part will usually result in a save so the next death won’t result in you starting all over again. Moving the mouse to the top of the screen will result in a ribbon containing the inventory, a hint button and the menu. Using the hint button will result in a little dream bubble with an image suggesting what to do next. They were rather nifty and helpful more than once.

Vanquishing the last beast has gotten me to what I think is the end. Order is restored, dinner is on the table, and everyone seems contented. However I can access a scrap book, where each image takes me back to a scene I have already played. Finishing that scene will return me to the dining room and I can choose to do another. I have done a couple, mainly to make sure I wasn’t missing anything, and unlocked a few more achievements (not the poo one). I don’t know if I unlock them all whether something else will happen, but will let you know if I do so.

Bulb Boy was an engaging and grotty hoot. It took me about two and a half hours over the course of a single day. The fact that I kept coming back to it says something about how I was feeling about it.

Grade: B plus

I played on:

OS: Windows 7

Processor: Intel i7-3820 4GHz

RAM: 12GB Ripjaw DDR3 2133 Mhz

Video card: AMD Radeon HD 7800 2048MB



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