Monday, February 23, 2009

Noby Noby Boy "review"

Name: Noby Noby Boy
System/s: PS3
Developer: Namco Bandai
Publisher: Namco Bandai
Release Date: 2/19/09

I love Katamari, I found the series when looking at the demos on a demo disk I had gotten. After my first play of Katamari, I was weirded out, and stopped playing. Later I showed some other people the demo, and we all actually got into it. From then on, I rented, then got the game for myself, later I got the other games in the series too.

The Katamari games are so bizzare, that when playing I often have to remind myself, that you just can't question Katamari, it's just in it's own world, where things make no sense. The more you play them, the more it's apparent. Yet they had such charm, and were really unique as games go.

When I heard the Katamari creator was making a new game, I was excited, and have been waiting for it since. The first videos of the game were shown, and no one could understand it, it seemed to make less sense then his first games. More videos were shown, and things still didn't make sense. Finally the game is out, and there were very few, to no official reviews, so I just had to wonder if it was any good.

I have to say, this game is weird, weirder then Katamari, or any other game I've played. There's no objectives, no enemies, no time limit, no way to lose, and no way to win. It's hard to even classify this as a game, more like a toy, or interactive art piece, because although it's not really super pretty or anything, it definitely has it's own art style.

The gameplay consists of the player controlling the 'Boy' (a worm like creature with a face on one side, who looks like a worm with 2 pairs of legs) who is controlled by both analog sticks (One controlling each pair of legs), and eating things, similarly Katamari, you can only eat things that are around the same size, or smaller then you. Eating things takes up space in your body, and you will poop it out if you don't have the room to fit it. To solve this problem, you stretch the 'Boy' longer, so he can fit more inside him. The more you eat, the bigger you get, meaning you can eat bigger things. Depending on what you eat in the game, when you poop it out, it can rip your butt off, which you will have to eat to fix, otherwise things come out the hole left in you.

There are trophies in the game to get, which are the only real objectives while playing around. Otherwise it's up to you, to do what you want to do. Like I said before, this is more of a toy then a game; something you can play with in whatever way you want, but there is no 'right' way of playing with it. Overall there is the communitive effort: For every meter you stretch, you can upload it online, which adds to a global length (Which is represented by the 'Girl'). Once the global length hits a large enough size, the 'Girl' stretches to the moon, and new levels will be unlocked for all players of the game.

There's a large amount of content in the game, with randomly generated levels that are better then any I've ever seen. I went through probably thirty levels, and they looked like they had been made specific, rather then random, which says something. I don't know how they got such a good randomizer, it it helps the game a huge amount.

The graphics look like they could be pulled out of Katamari almost, they are colorful, and things are done in the same style. The people aren't square anymore, and it's much higher resolution, but otherwise, could pass for Katamari graphics. This isn't a bad thing by any means, just a comparison.

Katamari was noted for having really good, quirky music, so it's a shame this game has only one song, and it's just a guitar playing. The song is really not that great, just kind of ambient. Luckily the game allows for custom soundtracks, which can allow for great pair-ups. In addition, a hidden mini-game has a song which is catchy as all heck.

There are a lot of little details about the game that are amazing, so many little things, like, pressure sensitive buttons allowing for the amount the Boy's mouth opens, to being able to eat the manual and credits. There are so many little details that will make you laugh and smile.

It's nice the game has a fun tutorial, but it really doesn't tell you everything, which had us playing for four or so hours trying to figure out some simple things that went unexplained.

What I Liked:

Simple, yet catchy:
The game is very simple, yet someone who enjoys more complex games will find some fun in this catchy game, it's just catchy, you play it once, and you want to play it more.

Again, a game like nothing else, really, it's hard to compare it to anything else, it's just so off the walls weird.

You can tell the person that made this has his own art style, sure it may be simple, but that's where the charm comes from.

Weirder then anything:
You are guarantied to be weired out the first time you play this, and you will be able to weird out any of your friends with it. But in a good way.

Creates great quotes:
The quotes this game produces are so amazingly wonderful, I can't even begin to tell you.. "Where my butt go?!" "I need to grow longer" "Eat your butt quick!"

Something that will last a long time:
This is a game you will come back and play every once in a while, for years to come, it's just one of those games.

Community effort is awesome:
I love the idea of the community working together towards something, and I would love to see it used in more games.

Price is right:
No one can argue with a $5 price tag, it's low enough, that even if you don't like it, it's not a huge risk.

Lots of content:
For the price you pay, you get a LOT of content, it's amazing just how much is in the game.

In they current days of the grey and black shooters, it's nice to see a colorful game grace our industry, this game has more color then a a few games put together.

There are a ton of small things to notice, find and laugh at, be it secret mini games, or being able to spin a roof with motion sensing.

What I didn't like:

Perhaps TOO simple:
Unlike Katamari, there's no objectives, which makes this a 'you never win' game, which can turn people off. I'm not surprised, yet I feel that way with games and enjoyed this, so you might too.

Music wasn't good:
The background song is really 'meh' and grades on you after a while, it's a shame it didn't have a great soundtrack like Katamari.

Tutorial doesn't explain everything:
It took hours of playing to find out some things not explained by the tutorial. Also to find out some things, I had to go online. Not good design.

Camera sucks:
Ugg, the camera control is really difficult, and even once you've gotten used to it, it's still clunky and clumsy.

Controls could be better overall:
Doubling up buttons, and overall control scheme could be a lot better.

Overall Scores:

Presentation - 8/10: Though almost everything works, there's a few problems, overall.
Graphics - 8/10: They are simple, but done exactly how they are supposed to look, which is very silly.

Sound - 6/10: The music sucks, and there's not a lot of sounds, though they are fine in general.

Gameplay - 8/10: The core gameplay is great, though the control issues bring it down.

Lasting Appeal - 9/10: You'll be playing this for quite some time, perhaps even years.

Overall Fun - 9/10: Even with the problems, I had a lot of fun with this, and can't wait play it more. Bravo!

Noby Noby Boy is available from the Playstation Store for $5, go get it now!

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