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Monday, March 2, 2009

Sort of a Review: Noby Noby Boy

Describing the concept of Noby Noby Boy for the Playstation 3 is similar to describing what it is like to watch Unicorns making love with Leprechauns video taping. It just isn’t possible until you see it first hand. While I will try my hardest to explain what the hell is going on (at least from my point of view), you will want to plunk the five bucks down and actually play the title in the long run.

Created by Keita Takahashi, creator of the sleeper hit turned big time sellout hit Katamari Damacy, you find yourself in a world with a similar flat polygon style. You take the role of BOY, a four legged creature that seems to be made up of two pink balls. With the front half being controlled with the left analog stick and the rear legs controlled with the right analog stick, you are able to move each half independently to stretch out as far as possible. (picture the old snake cell phone game, but you get bigger just by walking in opposite directions).

Now here is the game: you stretch out as far as possible on the map. Go wild, wrap around objects (be careful not to snap) climb through buildings, weave your way through windows. Your goal is to stretch out, submit your length stretched to SUN who then delivers it GIRL who is stretching in space with the length scores submitted to everyone playing the game on PSN. As girl stretches, she reaches new planets (as of this moment, the MOON was reached in 4 days) which unlock new randomly generated levels to be created with new objects to interact with. Oh and you can also eat the people, plants, random objects you come in contact with and fart them out with the R2 button.

Now keep in mind this is all I have figured out so far. I am still not sure if that is the concept of the game.

What really is going to pull you in or push you as far away from the game is the style. As someone who is sick and tired of photorealistic textures, mutli-arcing storylines, extravagant controls and learning curves, Noby Noby Boy comes as a welcome relief (yet I still play those other games). Simple non textured, colored polygons: check. A lot of crazy stuff going on at once: double check. Twisted soundtrack and effects: triple check. The ability to eat things and then fart them out: we have a winner here. Fans of Katamari’s simple shaded/colored polygons and character designs (me) will feel right at home here. The style is so similar that you may even see some crossovers from the game appear in BOY’s world.

Controls are primarily your two analog sticks for movement and the L2 and R2 buttons for eating, farting, jumping. You can also lift objects but I haven’t figured out how to do it yet. Some pretty slick physics and gameplay techniques are used to allow BOY to interact with just about anything on the screen. The camera is controlled primarily with the L1 and R1 buttons and SIXAXIS controller movements to turn or zoom (and these controls aren’t super sensitive like in other games).

A nice compliment to Noby Noby Boy are all of the PS3 specific features that the game takes advantage of. You already have the aforementioned SIXAXIS controls, but you also have the ability to take in game screenshots (I know for 90% of you that means absolutely nothing to you). Another cool feature is the ability to record in game videos of you doing stuff and save it to your PS3 or upload it directly to YouTube. The videos I have in this review are all taken using the in game recorder. It may not mean much now, but start thinking of the possibilities with this feature in other titles. The sooner it starts getting supported, the better. There are also 12 trophies that are completely unknown for you to unlock. Having the whole game be a collaborative project over PSN is a nice touch as well.

On the Playstation Network, thankfully there is a semi decent range of independent titles to buy. While sometimes it seems that it may not have the quantity of Xbox Live or even Wii Shop (Virtual Console titles are games too), it is nice to see unique, original titles like Noby Noby Boy become exclusives for the network. While it isn’t going to sell systems, it is definitely a nice bonus and at five bucks the game makes a great cheap diversion to Killzone 2 and Street Fighter 4.

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