Bob Came In Pieces

By: Jay Kim

Published: April 16, 2010 Posted in: Review

Bob Came in Pieces is the latest physics puzzler by Swedish indie developer Ludosity Interactive. You control an extensible spaceship that can conveniently attach and detach parts almost on the fly. Bob just crashed on a planet on the way to work and, shock, all your parts are now scattered everywhere. How will Bob get back to work?!

Bob came in pieces - Winter Wonderland! Wait...whose footprints are those? And where's everyone else?

Winter Wonderland! Wait…whose footprints are those? And where’s everyone else?

The levels that Bob progress through are beautifully lush, reminiscent of a surreal cartoon – almost real, but blocky and vibrant. Things look pretty polished, both animation wise and environment wise though at times effects aren’t the most convincing but still giving a nice enough reflection of actions, be it burning vines, smashing up ice or rocks dispersing as you attempt to shove Bob’s little ship through. Sound effects can be a bit odd with collisions, but that’s a minor niggle in the grand scheme of things. And an honorable mention must go to Bob’s ship its self: it’s beautifully animated even if controlling it is a bit too sensitive.

One of the things core to BCiP is the ship building – a feature that’s a pleasure to work with. As Bob progresses through this world, he picks up an assortment of parts in all kinds of shapes (Y, T, J, etc.) and several mechanisms to help him manipulate the environments; namely, pull beams, push beams and boosters. Then you can dock into build platforms to fit stuff to your ship, customizing it for the puzzle at hand. The potential awesomeness of ship puzzles was a bit marred by the overwhelming number of pull puzzles, a few requiring quite a lot of precision that’s overly difficult with the inaccurate nature of the ships controls. And it’s possible that there were more elegant solutions to these problems, but I couldn’t see them.

Bob came in pieces - That nature! Always in the way of my goals!

That nature! Always in the way of my goals!

The other thing core here are the physics. While controlling the ship was a bit iffy, the feel of the ship on screen was undoubtedly well executed. Acceleration? Yes! Momentum! BIFF! POW! BLAMO! Gravity? What a downer (*sigh* – pun ed). The physics here really work, making everything feel right and allowing for logical, physics based solutions to the problems each level presents.

And in terms of the levels they are all fairly linear overall but with some freedom. Far from an open world, but just enough to be interesting. Puzzles take the form of moving weights or boxes around, exploration, momentum and/or creative pipe design. The offerings were relatively solid throughout, but it’s apparent from some of the level design that Ludosity wanted to go much further with this concept, even to Rube Goldberg machine standards.

All in all, Ludosity pretty much nailed was the feel of BCiP. It’s lovely. Nothing is rushed, and all is calm. It’s just Bob’s ship and the world. Even the music reflects this wonderfully, being a mix of light synthpop and similar genres. It’s very bubbly, and, again, it’s lovely as you meander Bob through this journey back to work. And Ultimately, Bob Came in Pieces is just that; a nice little journey. Don’t come in expecting too much excitement, and you’ll have an enjoyable and calm time.

75%

Jay Kim