If Bulb Boy were a Silver Age comic book hero, he’d be called Light Lad and would have a father figure/mentor called The Illuminated Man. They’d be crap, obviously, their giant glowing bonces intruding onto the periphery of Justice League International photoshoots. Bulb-headed folk (Bulb Face?!) simply aren’t meant to be superheroes. Too fragile. Too limited in their capabilities. Perfect for a point and click horror game though, in which a portable light source is a handy resource, particularly when it’s in the form of a detachable head, eyes and all. Bulb Boy is currently Kickstarting, has a short demo (download or play in a browser) and is an unusually stylish creation.
Bulb Boy certainly stands out from the crowdfunding crowd. Visually, the closest point of reference I can think of in recent times is Knock-Knock, but the game itself is more traditional than Ice Pick Lodge’s nightmare engine. That’s not to say Bulb Boy is lacking in imagination though – the demo takes place in a single room but its three brief puzzles show variety. In simple form, sure, but it’s a promising start. And the conclusion is far more unnerving and grotesque than the preamble had led me to expect.
It’s a cute game, right? Bulb Boy is a cute little fella and the scares are going to be in the form of bogeymen in the closet and under the bed. Maybe an occasional cartoon spider.
That seems to be the case and it all risks turning out a little bit Tim Burton-lite (a territory that Tim Burton himself has occupied for at least a decade now). And then Bulb Boy’s solution to his dilemma makes more of a mess than expected – than I expected at least; he seems quite pleased – and a layer of reality peels back to show horrors just beyond the veil.
I’m intrigued. There are 25 days left to raise just over $35,000. Reading through the page leaves me with the impression that the game will be quite short, mainly because it all takes place in the house, a chapter per floor. Nothing wrong with a short game but the possibility is duly noted.