When Bonbon first launched, our Adam found that the quiet little story of domestic horror in ’80s Britain spoke to him, in a creepy nightmares-whispered-in-your-ear kinda way. Before we put him back in The Box, he described it as “a house of horrors that hit far closer to home than most”. That alone should be enough to get your attention.
Assuming it didn’t, maybe this will: Bonbon is making an encore today with it’s Steam debut (and re-launch on itch.io), along with a slew of tweaks and polish to help you sink into an uncomfortable dream of a British childhood that looks just close enough to mine to be unsettling.
It’s about being a young child in a world you don’t comprehend yet. A series of interactive vignettes about toys and their place in your tiny, narrow world. While its memetic hooks won’t catch everyone, the sights and sounds are disturbingly familiar to me. The colours and the shapes fit just closely enough to my faded memories to leave me uneasy.
It’s probably the mark of a good horror story if the trailer and screenshots alone can leave me feeling psychologically vulnerable. Perhaps not my personal idea of a good time (I’m fond of having a little more agency – more rope to hang myself with, to labour the point with a spooky metaphor), but I’m fairly sure that having a good time isn’t really the point of an experience like this.
The re-release doesn’t sound like a massive change from the version that enthralled Adam so completely. While the Steam version has gained achievements, the main focus of the update seems to be in revising the controls somewhat. You can now turn carried objects around in your hands, as well as move (to some degree) while carrying items, giving it a slightly more tactile sensibility.
Bonbon relaunches later today on both Steam and Itch.io, and will cost you around the $3 mark. Once you’re done with it, be sure to check out the Development Log section on the official site – it’s a fascinating and well-written look at the development of the game.