Have you ever wanted to throw an old school, vertical scrolling shooter into a blender with a 90’s platform game? Have you ever imagined having an epic battle with a thunder cloud? If you answered yes to any of the above then Electro Bobble may well be the game of your dreams… and if not; you might just find yourself having a damn good time anyway.
Electro Bobble is an indie title from game devs Diado Gaming; it sees you playing as a cute little blob of watery, gooey, adorable, squishy-ness that you must guide through level after level of tricky platforming action. The screen never stops moving up and your hands will never stop shuffling those W,A,S,D keys; all in a frantic attempt to not only avoid the endless oblivion of the bottom of your monitor, but also the swarms of bullets fired at you from an infinite stream of foes.
Let me begin by saying you will probably die, a lot; upon my first foray into Electro Bobble I found myself falling pitifully to my death not once but thrice times in a row. It was like trying to watch a jellyfish grab hold of an ice cube in the Sahara Desert. This is due to some rather exaggerated jumping controls that, at first, may make you think you will never get the hang of things.
But believe me, you will, and once you do, and you finally get into the swing of climbing up and up and up, you will just want to reach further and further into the neon heights of Electro Bobble’s crisp and colourful world.
Graphically, things are very clear and it does not take too long to figure out what each enemy does and how you can avoid it. The blocks that you jump on, for example, are all coloured differently depending on what traits they have (red ones vanish, orange ones don’t etc) and it is this graphical simplicity that allows for a great sense of easy accessibility and surprising depth. Judging when, and where you should jump to next is all about being able to recognise quickly what lies ahead; this is something Diado Gaming have done rather beautifully with the games sharp and bright visuals.
In fact, I found the platforming to be such fun I often didn’t shoot a single projectile and if you notice I have not mentioned it yet in this review. This is simply because I think the game is strong enough without it; the addictive quality this game has comes from its slick and speedy run, jump and dodge action, not from its point and click shooting galleries.
Having said that, the boss battles here are absolutely bonkers and lets the shooting shine through that little bit more; trying to fire bullets at a thunder cloud whilst jumping like a lunatic sounds like something to get put away in a mental asylum for. Whilst these are not the majority of the experience, it is great fun and a great challenge; the difficulty here is supreme and quite unforgiving. Do not be shocked if you become bosom buddies with the game over screen; it is the start of that legendary gaming catchphrase “just one more go”.
Throughout my time with Electro Bobble I kept thinking “this would of stolen many a coin back in the arcades” and that is the beauty of it. This is one of those little games that can kill your boredom as quick as lightning can strike and will keep you coming back time after time. This is a 1995, 16 bit, hyped up sugar rush and I hope that this little, adorable blob doesn’t come back down from the clouds anytime soon.
+ Quick, addictive platforming
+ Clever, original boss battles
– Superfluous shooting mechanic
– Unforgiving difficulty
+ Crisp, clear visuals
+ Adorable hero
+ Interesting boss design
+ Sharp sound design
+ No loss of clarity amidst the action
– No real, memorable OST