If you sum up Ludosity Interactive’s mission statement, their goal is to create fun, long-lasting titles that give players creative control. Well, mission accomplished. Bob Came in Pieces is a clever 2D physics-based puzzle/adventure mixed with a bit of Lunar Lander (yeah, that’s right, an Atari reference) that does everything in its power to live up to that goal.
Players assume the role of Bob as he crash lands on an Earth-like planet. Bypassing the initial emotions of terror or isolation that one would feel on an unknown planet, Bob immediately begins his quest to retrieve his ship parts, the hyperdrive 2000, and getting back to work. One must never be late. It’s a cute little game that focuses almost all of its attention on smart, simple gameplay.
Players navigate Bob by customizing his ship with parts found throughout the 14 chapters. These levels follow the standard jungle, ice, cavern themes, but BCP‘s developer, Ludosity, manages to make them feel unique, with charming visuals and hypnotic music that accentuates the 2D gameplay.
There are over fifty parts, spread across over 16 different types, hidden across 14 unique chapters, and the variety is enough to create whatever ship is necessary to solve the task at hand. The standard curves and booster are on display here, but also push and pull beams as well. Players will be arranging their rockets to battle strong icy winds, using their pull beam to lift huge cubes, and traversing ant farm-like caverns to search for the hyperdrive 2000.
Bob can’t die, and rightfully so. The goal is to challenge the player to design the right ship to solve each puzzle as fast as possible. It’s an art form balancing an efficient ship against the physics systems. Side heavy ships will keel over, and maneuvering the ship is part of each puzzle. In addition, the ship can be customized in the middle of any level at a checkpoint, and favorite designs can be saved for later use. Mid-level customization gives the player – and developer – the opportunity to switch it up, and it goes a long way to keep things from becoming repetitive.
And it’s apparent in the level design. There are few puzzles that are used multiple times throughout the game. Each chapter is a unique experience with several paths. The player has the freedom of exploring for ship parts, or determining the quickest way to the warp portal at the end. The 14 chapters don’t last long, but the final five will test everything the game has taught you so far. Once each level is completed, players can go back and find the rest of the parts, or earn medals through time trials.
Mastering the simple physics engine will take effort, and the players who want to go for gold are Michael Phelps-worthy. However, the drive to play, create, and conquer the challenges will keep players interested until they get all of the achievements.
While the physics engine is extremely effective, it has one minor hangup. It’s possible to get the ship stuck with a bad design, but there are also times when it will hang up on little rocks, get stuck in a small crevice, or embed itself firmly into the wall for no apparent reason. The ship will look as if it could easily thrust out of the situation. It’s a minor setback if you use the checkpoints, but can be aggravating in the middle of a long puzzle. If you do get stuck, it’s as easy pressing enter to return to the most recent checkpoint you visited.
A minor note: the lack of a level editor in most games would go unnoticed, however, BCP is a game that would benefit greatly from one. Not every player will want to dedicate the long hours required to gather all of the achievements, and the game’s true allure will be lost on them. The ability to share levels and create your own would give BCP the edge it needed to captivate gamers of all genres, and if the game included it, it would be a near perfect title.
Bob Came in Pieces is an intelligent puzzle/adventure that challenges players to be creative to be successful, and, in doing so, is wonderfully entertaining. Not everyone will find the game’s true depth, but dedicated players will find countless hours of fun. The enchanting visuals and music are the icing on a cleverly designed cake, and it’s well worth the ten dollars.
Gamer Limit gives Bob Came in Pieces a 8.5/10.
You can buy Bob Came in Pieces here:
Ludosity Interactive (demo available as well)