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Friday, February 20, 2009

Game Play: Noby Noby Boy (PSN)

I'm not even sure where to start on this one.

I'm making an assumption that I'm not the only person who downloaded Noby Noby Boy, the latest from Keita Takahashi, creator of one my all time favorites, Katamari Damarcy and thought what the hell?.

But I need to specific here. Because I thought what the hell when I first saw a video for Katamari too, and a bit when I played it the first time. The difference there is that I giggled a bit when I did it. Noby Noby Boy is just a mess of ideas with no giggle factor at all.

OK, when you fart out a sheep, you might giggle. But it won't sustain you because you don't really know why you're farting sheep, or eating sheep or doing much of anything. After going through what might be possibly the worst designed tutorial mode in the history of gaming, one so bad that the game might as well just dump you into the game sans instructions, you're left in a small playing field with objects and animals. Near as I can tell, you're supposed to stretch your "Boy" to be long enough to eat certain objects. This is so you can. Um. Eat more objects? Stretch some more?

The fairy who insisted you guess through half the controls in the first place says the game is about experimenting and exploring. Except, there isn't much to explore or experiment with. The game area is incredibly small, there's a limited number of things to interact with and none of it seems to do anything significant.

I go back to the difference between Flower and Linger In Shadows. The former is a smooth, almost soothing experience that doesn't need to call out the game mechanics at work here. The latter is a confusing mess of controls as a poor substitute for real interactivity.

Noby seems to fall somewhere in between, but with none of the artistic flair of either. It's not really a game, it's someone's demo project. It's Keita's experiment, and the only reason Sony sold it is because bloggers could put Katamari into a sentence with PSN for a change. The only reason I can see anyone playing it is for idle curiosity, and I can't imagine that would be for long.

I can understand and even respect someone not wanting to produce the same game over and over - but just give us the version of Katamari the PlayStation 3 deserves, and not this crap.

Add on top of all this the fact the controls are pretty lousy. To zoom in and out, for instance, you hold down the shoulder button and tilt the controller. Which might work OK, except it seems impossible to control accurately and you end up without any fine grain view to the game.

You will zoom any time you want to view the in game menu, which is produced in a series of clouds from the chimney on your house that is shaped like a head that spouts bubbles out of its nose.

I kid you not.

Even at the $5 asking price, I can't recommend this one.

1 comment:

jvm said...

No-buy No-Buy Noby Noby Boy.

I want my $5 back for Killzone 2 or something.