Are you a completionist? Do you have an affinity for collecting stars? Does the idea of replaying a level over and over until you have utterly mastered it send you into fits of ecstasy?
If you answered yes to any of those questions, then Bob Help Them might just be the game for you. Published by No Gravity Games, this 2D pixelated adventure will thrust players into an oxymoron of frantic relaxation.
Set within lush green farmland, Bob must run throughout the area helping the local tradespeople with their tasks. Cook ingredients for the chef, harvest things for the farmer, or chop wood for the lumberjack. There are six different NPCs, and all of them need Bob’s help.
See a dog? Pet a dog! Every action is done with a simple press of the A button. Holding A will make Bob continuously do the chosen task until you let go. Pressing B will drop the held item, and Bob can only hold one thing at a time.
That’s the relaxation element; the frantic part of this game comes in the shape of an omnipresent time limit. A timer at the top of the screen is constantly reminding you that these folk need your help NOW. Complete all the tasks within the limit: you beat the level. However, do it quickly, and you will be rewarded with up to three stars depending on your efficiency.
At the start of every level the camera will focus on each villager who needs help, and show you what they specifically need. However, it will not stay on one person for very long before zipping quickly to the next, and the next, until suddenly time is running out.
Gamers with photographic memories rejoice; you will be at a distinct advantage in Bob Help Them. If excellent visual memory is not your forte, you can always run near each NPC to be reminded of what they need. If you ever forget how to make something, a handy press of the – button will bring up your list of recipes: for example, egg plus firepit equals fried egg.
The difficulty curve is perfectly pitched, with levels starting out simple and gradually getting more and more difficult. The various NPCs get further and further from their chosen resources and will have Bob running back and forth across the map. Levels must be carefully planned out in order to beat them, let alone achieve a three star rating.
Graphically, it is a simple pixelated palette of bold primary and secondary colours. There are no intricate pixel-shading techniques here. Unless engaged in an activity, Bob is always running with his hands above his head; this gives our hero a comical charm akin to a wacky-waving-inflatable-arm-flailing-tube-man.
The music is cheerful, and even though you might feel panic as the timer is about to hit zero, the tunes will continue to march merrily on.
Enjoy speedrunning? Bob Help Them is a speeder’s dream. Each time you play a level, you’ll get better at knowing where the resources are, and who needs what. On top of all that, Bob seems to run just a smidge faster when on the cobblestone-tile. Can you deduce the perfect route for Bob?
The game does seem to stutter every now and again; usually when you’ve got Bob running and there’s too much happening on screen. It is nothing game-breaking, and rather only a mild annoyance, but it still impedes the visuals of the action ever so slightly.
Bob Help Them is one heck of a juxtaposition: relaxing atmosphere under time pressure. It’s not a standard farming-sim game, so look elsewhere if that is what you’re searching for. However, if you want a quaint little strategy game that has you helping (lazy) villagers within a strict time limit, then this is the game for you.
Bob Help Them Review £6.99
Bob Help Them is an easy to pick up and put down little strategy game that marries the relaxation of a farming-sim with the frantic pace of a countdown timer. 35 levels, 6 NPCs, and 105 stars, this game is perfect for bus rides.