A Binge Gamer Review: Noby Noby Boy
For those who don’t already know, I’m a pretty big fan of the Katamari series. No, wait. That’s all wrong. Let me try again:
On more than one occasion I’ve even gone as far as to describe it as “pure happiness in a can.”
So where does gushing over a quirky hit game franchise fit into a review about the latest PSN budget title, Noby Noby Boy? Well, to be fair, I want everyone to understand that I’m coming at this as an established fan of creative mind, Keita Takahashi—the guy who came up with the idea for the Katamari series.
When I first caught wind of Noby Noby Boy, my ears perked with delight. A new game by the creator of Katamari? And it’s only five bucks? Sign me up!
Yet, even though it brings about a feeling similar to the ecstasy the Katamari games evoke, there’s something different about Noby Noby Boy. Sure, I smiled and I laughed, but my expression often was one of bewilderment and confusion.
For starters, Noby Noby Boy is not a game. Instead, it is a playground for the inner child. It is an electronic sandbox for the stoned to sit in and sift through. It is a platform in which you can completely lose yourself and laugh at an obscurity that is as warm and welcoming as a hot bubble bath filled with dozens of tiny rubber ducks.
Only instead of a person in a tub, you’re Boy, a weird, pink caterpillar thing that eats everything he sees, stretches to absurd lengths, and shits everything back out—typically in that order.
The stages are a randomly generated smorgasbord for Boy to waddle about as he devours everything in his path. Of course, anything that is flung from the map eventually falls back on to the playing field from the sky.
It’s a fun time, all in all. But it might take a certain breed to fully appreciate the experience. It’s the kind of thing you play after a night spent studying or writing a paper or drinking or killing a hooker or whatever you do at night. It requires little or no thought to play Noby Noby Boy, but is perhaps that’s why it’s so great.
What’s most interesting about Noby Noby Boy is the one and only objective. Noby Noby Boy keeps track of every inch you help Boy grow and then—assuming you have a working internet connection—adds up the score of the all the players in the world and keeps a daily record of the total. The combined length is added to Girl, a gargantuan—uhh—thing floating in out in space, decorated with pink hearts.
While Girl is kind of creepy (there’s a way to zoom out into space and see her and all her phallic glory), I like the aspect of community she develops. Over time, players will be linked to other planets, unlocking new levels of play, meaning the more often more people play the game, the more stuff there will be to do. I can’t help but wonder how far Namco/Bandai plans to extend this concept. To the furthest reaches of the galaxy, perhaps? I can only dream.
The graphics are reminiscent of the Katamari games, which is no surprise. They’re smooth, crisp, and look a lot like a cartoon for toddlers found on Nick Jr. It’s pleasant and polite, but what else were you expecting?
The music is fantastic and relaxing, but the stretching sound made when stretching Boy is obnoxious and persistent. It never stops, because the whole point of the game is to stretch. There’s just no escaping it unless you can mentally block it out (fortunately, I was able to).
Sometimes you’ll get split in half. I wasn’t really sure how to handle this until Penny Arcade came to my rescue. Sure enough, you can eat your own ass.
I do recommend hitting the SELECT button at some point during the game and reading the game manual (which is fully edible). It’s incredibly useful, but lengthy. However, it did help me get the hang of the overly complicated camera system—sort of. The camera system itself has a mind of its own, and consists of a lot of button holding and SIXAXIS movement. Quite frankly, it sucks. At times, I found myself fighting with it, sometimes using my face to press buttons in order to get it to focus on Boy’s head while it insisted that all the entertainment was at his ass or midsection. Perhaps the camera was right, but it should still do what I want it to do.
I’ve also ended up at menus and screens in which I’ve had no clue what they do. Once again, read that tasty manual.
There is also feature to record and upload gameplay to Youtube and send messages to your fellow players which further delves into the aspect of community. I see the messaging features as nothing special, though the recording function did allow for the gameplay video I’ve posted at the end of this review (though I’m sure the picture would be fuller had I uploaded it directly from my PS3 rather than my computer).
Though I’m unsure of whether Noby Noby Boy will bask in the same popularity and longevity of the Katamari series, it’s still a good time at a great price. And really, other than some stylistic elements, the two can’t really be compared with one another.
I definitely feel I got my money’s worth, anyway. Those who are into obscure, mindless entertainment and are sick of cable television and pornography should definitely check out Noby Noby Boy. Die-hard fans of the Katamari games will probably love the title too, even though it blows past Katamari in strangeness (a feat I never expected to witness).
And if you don’t like it? Well, it’s only five bucks.