Buboids Review

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Publisher: Blue Dojo Studios
Developer: Blue Dojo Studios

Platform: PC
Reviewed on PC
Windows System Requirements: Windows 98 or more recent operating system and support for 1024x768 resolution

Solve puzzles by helping odd, small creatures reach comfortable places on rotating wire constructs.

Rating:     (Rating based on lowered price)
Kyle Ackerman

Buboids is a clever puzzle game with a simple premise. The Buboids, fur balls with arms and legs, have a unique ecological niche. They form rings with their arms and dangle loosely from wire constructs that hang suspended in space. They seem to prefer blue segments of wire over bronze-colored sections, and rely on no known substance for sustenance. We don't know if they are named after the symptoms of the bubonic plague, but you need to keep them happy by rotating their habitats until they come to rest on the blue wire segments.

Buboids has both two-dimensional and three-dimensional puzzles, and completing one puzzle unlocks the next, so that the game is a pleasant series of brain-teasers that require a little dexterity to solve. The Buboids act like rings, pulled by the force of gravity, sliding around the wire puzzle frames. The challenge of any given puzzle is usually not just getting a single Buboid to the goal, but getting all of them to their blue wire segments simultaneously.

To increase the challenge, the wires are littered with obstacles, teleporters, objects to make your Buboids slide faster and even things that invert gravity, causing the Buboids to hang upwards. As puzzles increase in difficulty, with more complex creations of branching wires, these objects create sequences of movements you must follow to send your Buboids through the puzzle. The real challenge is ultimately mental, but a modicum of dexterity is required to solve the puzzles, as you will need to move the mouse precisely, in order to control the tilt or rotation of the wire frame puzzle.

The ability to adjust the strength of gravity is the main way the game seems to deal with difficulty. Again, the main challenge is mental, as puzzles never change, regardless of gravity, but settings for gravity range from "Low" to "Impossible." While "Low Gravity" usually affords more control and makes coordination less important to solving the puzzles, sometimes "Impossible" (very strong gravity) affords more control, especially when there are a lot of nodes that speed your Buboids' rate of travel.

Buboids has a great deal in common with those plastic mazes with tiny ball-bearings you give to kids in the back seat of a car to keep them happy. The main difference is that Buboids has fifty puzzles in place of one or two, and requires a computer. This game is clever in concept, but very simple, and has neither the depth nor the replayability to justify the current price of $20. There is a demo that will allow you to try five levels if you are curious, and while FI is very much in favor of small games from independent developers, at this price, Buboids is punching above its weight.

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This page contains a single entry by Editor published on January 2, 2003 6:12 PM.

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