With an industry so flooded with new IPs and games the video game market can be a difficult one to break into. It requires something a little different, something that you can’t quite get anywhere else or it has to be retro (but in a good way). Coming up with new and interesting ideas now seems a tall order, especially with the back catalogue of games at our disposal but this said we still see very interesting games coming out of the indie scene that still manage to do things just that bit different.
Diado Games is a relatively new game studio from the south of England who has just recently released their second game Electro Bobble. The game is a very interesting one which feels differently to your run of the mill bullet hell shooters.
In Electro Bobble you play as the character named Mr Bobble. Mr Bobble is made up of pure electricity and is minding his own business living in a thunder-cloud; this would not be a problem if the notion of rain didn’t exist. As the storm sets in Mr Bobble begins to face the constant threat of being flushed out of the cloud and no one wants that. If Mr Bobble’s life was already not difficult enough with the impeding threat of being flushed out of the cloud looming continually the cloud is also filled with vicious enemies called Electro Meanies who exist solely to eradicate the Bobbles.
The story is quite strange and quirky with some amusing nomenclature and to be honest actually plays little to no real bearing on the overall gameplay and is merely used as a vehicle to set up this rather strange and interesting game. That said the addition of a small back story is nice and in a game that is just a scrolling bullet hell platformer story is often something neglected completely.
The control system behind Electro Bobble feels rather solid as you are able to aim freely with the mouse and control Mr Bobble directly with the keyboard. It is lucky this setup works so flawlessly, as I did initially start with a gamepad but after switching to keyboard and mouse really started to see the game shine. I did find it a little peculiar due to games like this often feeling much better with a controller, here it was not the case and the low sensitivity of the thumb stick controls did not suit the quick and precise aiming needed to save Mr Bobble.
The gameplay itself is fast, fun and frustrating, oh boy was this game frustrating. Like any good bullet hell game you expect to die and die and maybe even die but here you can also fall and falling is something you will do a lot which most the time ends in death or a scurry to a suitable platform before you get killed, basically, this game has a lot of death. For this reason Diado Games have implemented some random generation of the levels and bosses meaning you don’t actually have to be the best platformer/ shooter player to see a fair bit of the content on offer.
The random generation does also mean you will not get bored by just playing the opening ten minutes over and over which in my books is a massive plus. Although Electro Bobble does get very frustrating you are forever frustrated at your own skill (or lack thereof) as the controls do work well. Electro Bobble combines platforming skill with the ability to shoot at continually moving targets and both elements are sufficiently varied enough to get a great deal of fun and replay value out of the game.
It is indeed a very interesting game that will test your metal as you come up against a whole selection of different Electro Meanies and then you have the bosses on top of that. The bosses are great they have all had a great deal of time put into them and they offer different (seemingly impossible) challenges for you to overcome any way you can.
Electro Bobble sports a whole variety of power-ups to help you through this hell and range from bombs that blow up all of the on-screen enemies to a platform at the bottom of the screen, reminiscent of the safety net power-up from break out style games. Needless to say you will need all the help you can get as you try to keep up with the scrolling whilst killing the bad guys.
The graphics are also great with the simplistic backdrop that highlights the neon nature of the game. Everything seems to glow and feels like it is oozing power in this fast and furious neon nightmare Mr Bobble is living. All the graphics and colour choices appear crisp, highlighting the elements and ensuring you will not get clipped by any unnoticed bullets, which is always a plus.
Overall Electro Bobble is a very fun game that combines the dexterity of platforming with the precision shooting of bullet hells. It offers a great deal of verity for your time and is by no means an easy game so expect to sink in serious time if you even want to come close to beating this game. Although very frustrating Electro Bobble offers new and exciting challenges to fans of platfomers and shooters alike whilst doing something just a little different.
Electro Bobble can be downloaded via Fireflower games for €5.99. If you would like to find out more about Diado Gaming be sure to visit their site and if you would like to give Electro Bobble a go before buying the game be sure to pick up the demo from the site too.[review pros="Very fun concept, Great visuals, Great sounds, Responsive controls, Challenging" cons="Frustrating, Limited power-ups, Hard to master" score=80]