Bob Came in Pieces
From: Ludosity Interactive
For: Windows PC
Genre: Adventure, Puzzle
ESRB Rating: N/R (Not Rated)
Bob Came in Pieces
Bob Came in Pieces is one of those deceptively simple, side-scrolling, scavenger hunt puzzle adventures that ends up packing more cerebral wallop than you'll know what to do with. On that note, the game also offers infinite mulligans and resets should you get stuck or terminally perplexed. Best of all, it's only 10 bucks.
The premise is simple enough: Stuffie-looking tentacled alien that goes by the unlikely but lovable name of "Bob" crash lands on some planet, a process that blows his Mechano(TM)-inspired space ship all seriously asunder, with bits and pieces scattered hither an yon, dislocated and far flung but no worse for wear if you can only find them and pop them back into place.
What remains of Bob's ship is serviceable, and that's what you end up controlling, the ship, not Bob. Bob's inside, you see. Controlling the ship is a wildly unique experience in itself; maneuvering it is not unlike trying to drive a plumb-bob - not to be confused with Bob, who is plump, but not a plum or any other fruit for that matter. Think plumb-bob the bricklayer's and surveyor's tool and that's what you're driving. Er, flying. Piloting. Operating. Controlling. Whatever.
The orb shaped ship bears a striking resemblance to the Apollo LEM (Lunar Excursion Module), with thrusters underneath and on the sides to affect two axis of movement, up and down, side to side - and as a 2-dimensional game, that's all you need and all you get.
Interestingly, as alluded to a whole paragraph ago, the LEMish thing prefers to hover plumb, so no matter how poorly you operate it, it will naturally try to right itself to a vertical position as it skitters and careens and hobbles around the landscape - and under the landscape, in tunnels. At first, you're just trying to find a way past whatever environmental pickle has presented itself, a misanthropic tumble of rocks, log jams, obstinate crates, and other curiously cantilevered blockages, all ready for a strategic bonk d'Bob (ha ha) resulting in a tumble or cascading tumble of those aforementioned blockages, and off you go... like, three yards, then bam! New puzzle. So be it.
But that's just the first bit of the game. In no time, you start finding the discombobulated pieces of Bob's plumbish LEM. These range from simple pipes, pipefitter joints and elbows, to additional thrusters and other Bobbish gadgetalia, like tractor beams.
At checkpoints/garages sitting conveniently before each major puzzle, you fit one, some, or all of these pieces onto handy little couplers affixed to the outside of the LEMBob. Sometime you'll just need a length of pipe protruding out one side to thread through a crack and tip something out of the way. Other times you'll add an extra thruster for a more adamant shove on and obstinate crate. If that doesn't work, try the tractor beam on the end of a pipe, and so on. There are usually several ways to tackle any given problem and you're left to your own devices to get the job done. Great brain bending right there, that.
However, adding a second layer of complexity to these puzzles, affixing pipes and parts poses a problem for the plumb LEM. Any given attachment will immediately throw the ship off level, making it list something fierce, fly wonky or not at all, or worse, fly left but not right or vice versa. So you look to balance your functional accessories with a bunch of ballast or counter-gadgets - providing you have them in your toolbox. If you don't, you might very well get stuck and it's back to the drawing board.
Fortunately, Bob Came in Pieces features unlimited do-overs just a key stroke away. Better still, the nearest checkpoint is rarely more than three yards away, as mentioned.
So: great brain bending without all the consternating backtracking or plowing through half the level just to get stuck again. What an adventure puzzle game ought to be, and Bob and his pipe-fitted plumb LEM deliver in spades.