|System: PS3 (PSN)||Review Rating Legend|
|Dev: Namco Bandai||1.0 - 1.9 = Avoid||4.0 - 4.4 = Great|
|Pub: Namco Bandai||2.0 - 2.4 = Poor||4.5 - 4.9 = Must Buy|
|Release: Feb. 19, 2009||2.5 - 2.9 = Average||5.0 = The Best|
|Players: 1||3.0 - 3.4 = Fair|
|ESRB Rating: Everyone||3.5 - 3.9 = Good|
by Maria Montoro
One doesn't know what to expect from downloadable games these days. Thanks to services like WiiWare, PSN, and Xbox LIVE, all kinds of games have found a place in the home consoles, including artsy experiences like Flower or Linger in Shadows, typical arcade shooters like Geometry Wars or Super Stardust, old-school titles like Joust or the Ninja Turtles, and even weird and unexpected titles like Noby Noby Boy.
In fact, if you're looking for a weird yet interesting experience on the PS3, Noby Noby Boy is the way to go. You should know the mind behind this crazy game is no other than Keita Takahashi, the creator of the critically acclaimed Katamari Damaci.
With that in mind, you should expect a lot of the same elements found in the quirky ball-rolling game. Throughout the stages of Noby Noby Boy you'll see everything from the most original inventions like a banana car to sumo wrestlers, animals, fruit, balls, trees, houses, bicycles, and more. However, the gameplay in Noby Noby Boy is quite different, and it's also more of an experiment and an interesting experience than an actual game with a goal.
Upon starting the game, you are quizzed on the ins and outs of the title. Of course, we don't know anything about it yet, so we're left with a controller in hand and questions about how to control the main character, best known as Boy. This is an interesting way to present a tutorial, but it is kind of awkward to have to try and guess what to do with the buttons. Luckily, it's not extremely difficult, plus they give you a few hints, so you should be able to get the idea pretty quickly.
Basically, all you have to do is move the character around with the two control sticks (similar to rolling Katamari), and each of the sticks controls one end of the funky, worm-like figure. One of the shoulder buttons will open Boy's mouth so you can munch on anything that gets on your way. Other shoulder buttons help you control the camera from side to side through a simple tap, and if you hold the left trigger and tilt the SIXAXIS controller forwards or backwards, you'll be able to zoom in an out. You can also make Boy jump, stretch or shrink, etc.
The idea is simple. Boy is launched into a random map full of random objects spread throughout. By pulling from both sides you'll be able to stretch him, but only if he's eaten enough to grow. At first, I noticed he kept farting and re-launching everything out of his butt when I fed him (what a hoot - fart noise and everything!). In order to make him grow you'll have to wait for him to swallow, and then stretch him enough so he turns into colors and gets longer and thinner. At that point I thought the game was an odd intestine simulation, and I have to say it's not that far off! Luckily, Boy is bright and colorful, plus he has a cute, smiley face and spreads hearts around as he eats, so it was easy to detach from those original thoughts.
Granted, the more you eat, the bigger you can get, and literally, the sky is the limit! One time I made him so long that the map zoomed out incredibly far. Of course, it's not as much fun to play around when he's long, so you'll just have to find your balance and even shrink him when he's getting too long and difficult to manage. You can have Boy eat anything you want pretty much - it's not like Katamari where you have to start by rolling smaller things and grow until you can grab the bigger items. Of course, if you start by eating a car but haven't stretched too far yet, the car will fly right off his butt and cause a fart impulse that'll launch Boy in the air. Some characters also enjoy a ride on Boy's back. It's funny to see all these interactions, especially when you start getting big and dragging things around or climbing them, causing mayhem wherever you go.
Unlike most games, this game doesn't have an actual objective. Essentially, Noby Noby Boy is a fun experiment, and all you'll track is the length you've grown by playing and playing. Even if you shrink him, the original length you reached has already been accounted for, and if you make him grow again, this will count towards your numbers as well. The one thing you have to do once in a while is report your growth to "Girl." By uploading this information, Girl will grow and grow until she reaches the Moon and many other planets. The cool thing is everyone on PSN is contributing to Girl's growth, and she's currently past the Moon and growing towards Mars. Who knows where she might be at when you read this! You can even check her out and see the different players who have contributed to her growth.