Bob Help Them is a game I went into with vaguely low expectations. Yet, I managed to come out with them slightly raised.
I opened the game from the Nintendo Switch menu and was met with a pixel art style I had not experienced since my early GameBoy Color days, in the best of ways. I was ready to help Bob, help others….
Unfortunately, as I hit the play button, I was immediately thrust into an unskippable cutscene explaining every single game mechanic. The cutscene took the better part of two minutes to scroll through the basics of “This is Bob. He helps. Help Bob help.” I suddenly felt like I was in the worst kind of children’s book. The controls were easy to pick up and it was initially immersed yourself in the world – once this first tedious hurdle was crossed, of course.
Press A to help Bob pick up items, press B to drop said items, and use the D-pad to navigate. I was a little disappointed that it does not take the joysticks into consideration. But at least it was fun. Though I still felt like two minutes of explaining was a bit unnecessary, it still fit into the NES/GameBoy Color vibe that the graphics inspire.
The game is described as an idle type play through with timed levels, and I was skeptical of how it works. How do you idle if there’s a timer? Isn’t that the exact opposite of idle?
The explanation, as best I can give it, is that the game is not completely idle so much as it implements idle-type mechanics. You have to wait for items to spawn, button mash to perform various actions, and if you accidentally release a button too soon, you’ll lose all progress if it is a long press. Which I found out the hard way during a fishing portion.
Worse than all that though, you can not run to make up for the time used furiously pressing A. There is also no map to help you find the people you’re supposed to help. I spent a good portion of my extended play session angrily muttering to myself “I can’t find this last guy, I wish there was at least a hint,” while searching as fast as the game would let me.
Bob Help Them feels like it is not made for the time limits given. Everything about the mechanics screams “idle, take your time,” as my timer drained steadily. Now, it could probably be argued that I am terrible at time management. However, when it takes an extended series of seconds for an item to be collected, can you really reasonably do six deliveries in a 2-minute time frame? And the answer for the level I got stuck on was no. Between not being able to find characters and having to button mash for supplies, I eventually just stopped having fun.
I managed to speed through then struggle through about 20 of the 35 levels before finally giving up for my own sanity. However, I will definitely recommend the game to a few friends who stream rage quit inducing games, but I can not see myself picking it back up. The best I can say is, yes you can indeed pet a puppy and it is wonderful, but it feels like it takes 30 seconds for one pet.
Bob Help Them is a game priced at $6 USD on the Nintendo Switch eShop but, ultimately, it plays more like a mobile game that comes prepackaged on your grandparent’s phone. Honestly, though, that isn’t a bad thing. I personally feel like if the price was a little lower, it would be a fun go-to for more folks. For all its issues, if you find it on sale, maybe give this one a try.
A copy of this game was provided by the publisher for review.