Well this was a nice surprise. Bulb Boy actually first released as a mobile game several years ago, and I almost bought it a long time ago on my phone, but just never got around to it for some reason. Fast forward to modern times where it got released on the Switch (back in 2017 apparently) and then a bit more to when I happened to see it on sale and here we are with me wishing I’d picked it up sooner.
Bulb Boy is a simple puzzle platformer/adventure with no dialogue and about as streamlined of an interface as you can possibly have, with just a single action button and a limited inventory that you can scroll through with L/R. It falls somewhere in between condensed adventures like Machinarium or Botanicula, and more actiony puzzle platformers like Limbo or Black: The Fall, having just a touch more platforming than the former and a touch less than the latter.
Naturally you play as Bulb Boy, a weird little kid with a light bulb for a head who has to search for his lantern-headed gramps when strange creatures invade their large, weird house. Somehow this all manages to play out in a way that’s simultaneously adorable and grotesque as you switch back and forth between cutesy flashbacks to happier times where you’re playing in the park with gramps and your dog-fly-thing and the present day where you have to sneak through the dark corridors of your home, solving puzzles and evading bizarre monstrosities from…wherever the hell these things come from.
You’ll have to make good use of your weird lightbulb head, which can independently travel to areas your body can’t reach, sometimes in a simple way like hopping across chandeliers to get over hazards on the ground, other times you’ll have so stick your head into the body of a fish or a spider and swim around underwater or climb on ceilings. It’s all very delightfully odd. It feels kind of like the secret bastard spawn of Tim Burton and John Kricfalusi.
It’s yet another very short Switch indie game, lasting only 2-3 hours tops, but it’s charming, disgusting, and just plain fun, and it’s definitely more than worth the meager few dollars it costs.