Enter the fantastically absurd and ethereal world that is inside Bob’s head. Playing as his deranged looking sidekick questionably named Subob, your mission is to make sure he doesn’t wake up and in doing so, you must use your wits and cunning to make sure Bob doesn’t commit dream suicide in his lolloping slumber – we’re off to never-never land.
I’m not entirely sure what Subob is. Subob looks like the type of friend that tries to outmatch your other friends at a halloween party by ordering the most ludicrous looking outfit, and claims it’s from a cult classic cartoon from the 80s that you’ve ‘probably never heard of’. We’re swift to push Subob’s existential queries aside however when the aesthetic of the world follows suit, and then begs the question of what’s really going on inside Bob’s head. This being said, I went with it and enjoyed this topsy-turvy, yet sometimes creepily disturbing world.
It can only be speculated where the inspiration for this game came from, but if I was to hazard a guess, I could imagine the designers visited an art gallery and stared at a portrait from M.C Escher and pondered how cool it would be to modernise an image and turn it into a video game. Moreover, on the way out of that same art gallery, they caught a glimpse of a Salvador Dali classic and started frantically ringing their buddies up screaming that they had a crazy idea.
From a game’s mechanic perspective, this is not a hard game to pick up and play, rather, the game becomes trickier as the levels progress with more obstacles and hazards that twist your brain for answers, just as a pair of hands twist at a sponge for water. As Subob, your job is to guide Bob back to bed using apples as obstructive instruments, directing him on the appropriate path. According to the game’s lore, sleepwalkers always turn clockwise, so you must use this to the best of your knowledge when trying to guide him on his way to further slumber.
What would have been the game’s crux here but luckily isn’t, is the freedom to keep trying again and again with no lives lost as Bob either plummets into dream infinity, or gets rudely awakened by a walking clock. This game is played at your own pace and I believe this to be important for all players. Conversely, this game is short.
As much as I really liked the game’s atmosphere, I believe the developers could have included much more, both into the background and foreground. Yes, there are sneaky appearances from flying hats and the like, but I personally wanted more than just rooftops and railways for the game’s short lifespan. This being said, however, this game could prove to be quite long, depending on how good you are at puzzle games.
As a side note suggestion: this game is best played with a headset, sitting alone in a dark room. Yes, I’m aware that most players do this anyway on a regular basis (including myself), but there’s something special with this game; its ambient music and backwards-speech tonality from the narrator, really pushes the game to try its best to immerse you in Bob’s dreams. As a second suggestion, if this doesn’t work out for you, you could always make a Spotify playlist constructed around pop classics including lyrics based on dreams or dreaming. Supertramp’s “Dreamer” is a superb suggestion, Aerosmith’s “Dream on” may or may not have been on my list and “Together in electric dreams” from The Human league is indeed the perfect choice.
All facetiousness aside, whether you’re into platform puzzlers or not, this game is a portrait in motion and acts as a defence towards the debate whether video games are an form of art or not. For sleep’s sake, instead of staring at an optical illusion, you’re playing it and that should be commended in its own right. True, this game could indeed be longer but I had fun either way and that’s what games are about, right?