Noby Noby Boy

Cats are made from Rice Crispies and Tekken am green why forever picnic pants. Which all makes considerably more sense than Noby Noby Boy. This entirely bizarre game, from the crazy talents behind Katamari, is a bit like watching the Teletubbies on rewind, after a heavy night of drinking. You've no idea what's going on, nor what is supposed to happen, but everything looks bright, colourful and comforting, so you keep watching. Noby Noby Boy is a game that puts aside gaming, embraces randomness and paints it in bold, bright swathes of colour. There's nothing like it anywhere, but is that for a good reason?

Noby Noby Boy

Firstly, it'd be odd to criticize the game in the traditional manner, since the objectives the game has are clearly different to those seen in any other game. For example, it'd be unfair to point out that the objectives aren't at all challenging since, well, there aren't really any. You're not tasked with some grand adventure to embark on, or presented somebody to save. You simply control a strange little creature that can wander about a bizarre little world. Your character is, basically, a dog-like critter called Boy, and the controls allow you to manoeuvre each end of the creature independently. The most obvious thing to try first is to get each part to walk in opposite directions, and interestingly this is something the game is clearly hoping you'll do. By moving your character in two directions independently, the dog-like pest stretches, with multi-coloured ring segments appearing as the seperation of body parts increases. This appears to be virtually the full extent of the character movement though, allowing only basic exploration of the surrounding scenery.

Interaction isn't completely trivial though. The world you inhabit is a large plane, a flat square suspended in nothingness. On top of this are a selection of houses, trees, playgrounds and other objects, as well as living creatures such as people and dogs. Amusingly, you can actually start swallowing smaller objects around the level, "comedically" farting them out of the critter's rear once they pass through, unscathed and only slightly bewildered on the other end. It's not entirely clear why you would do anything like that, but the game doesn't care, it just lets you do it for fun. That's not the only bizarre thing you can do either. By experimenting with different moves and eating habits, some surprising things can happen. It'd be daft to say what though, since the experimentation is the entire point of the game. Probably the only clear objective in the game is to report the length your character, Boy, achieves, to a strange space creature called Girl, so that Girl will continue to grow, allowing you access to other planets.

Noby Noby Boy

There are trophies in the game, which would actually help to make the game seem clearer, but these are mostly hidden, which serves to emphasize that the point here is experimentation, and not simply meeting blatant objectives. The experimentation is made quite enjoyable though, thanks to interesting toy physics in the game, daft characters and bright colours. There's nothing in the way of texture or clever lighting, but each world seems somehow tranquil. The mild sound effects, featuring mostly bubble-like noises, as opposed to the clattering of guns in a modern FPS, match the visuals well in presenting a soothing, though unambitious experience. Again, it'd be very easy to criticize the game visually, but as with many Playstation Store titles, there is little evidence that graphics were ever a primary objective. A simple idea is placed in front of the player, with a variety of things to explore in an environment that does the job well enough, valuing simplicity and interest over complexity and cheap thrills.

For gamers looking for the next graphical showcase for PS3, or a story that will keep them engaged for months, Noby Noby Boy is absolutely the wrong place to look. However, anyone looking for something different might be pleasantly surprised by the fresh experience that is Noby Noby Boy. Though it's almost impossible to explain, there's enjoyment to be found in this odd little game, and it'd be worth spending a little time trying out different things - just don't expect fancy cutscenes or a terrific story to open up.

Game details

Game logo

Publisher:

Namco Bandai

Developer:

Namco Bandai

Players:

1

Online:

Rankings

Release:

2009-02-19

Trophies:

12

Review summary

Gameplay:

Bizarre, unusual, strange, weird, odd, daft!

Graphics:

Bizarre, unusual, strange, weird, odd, daft!

Sound:

Bizarre, unusual, strange, weird, odd, daft!

Lastability:

Erm, average.

7.0

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