Posts tagged noby noby boy
Nothing’s been appealing to me on the iPhone over the last few days. Partly because I’m ill, I’m sure, but also because there haven’t been any interesting new releases lately.
So, while watching The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas and the big baseball documentary series by Ken Burns all I did was idly mess about with Noby Noby Boy.
And then, on the toilet at six in the morning, all I did was mess about with it some more.
I just sat there wishing I had a new game to play. I don’t know why. I’ve got dozens of games I love and adore on my iPhone, but I just felt like I needed something new to fire me up again.
Oh my. This was so peaceful and so lovely when I played it on Saturday night. Half an hour melted away like delicious chocolate ice cream.
Such a wonderful toy set.
I love it so, so much.
(I took a video, but it failed to upload to YouTube. Sorry.)
A break from the usual list of the ten iPhone games I judge to be the best, here’s a list of ten games to play during this month. All will be great games, but they’ll be selected based on a mix of quality, novelty and relevance to the month’s events.
Angry Birds is one of the very best games you’ll find on the App Store. You pull back a catapult to launch birds at structures set up the evil, egg-stealing green pigs, aiming to knock them and destroy the pigs inside. The levels are wonderfully designed, for the most part, with luck playing a much smaller part in proceedings than you might think when you first play. It’ll take a few days to get through all the levels – there are about a hundred of them now – and there’s tons of replay value in trying to get all three stars for every level and get good scores on the global leaderboards. A huge, well-deserved success.
The devloper’s next iPhone game, Gravity Hook, is coming out soon, so what better time to revisit Canabalt? Not that you need any excuse. Canabalt is a masterpiece of one-touch gameplay and atmosphere. Perfectly playable without sound, the soundtrack nevertheless heightens the tension and makes the simple act of running and jumping feel like humanity’s last hope for survival.
New to the App Store, this is a fantastic solitaire game, based around fighting with fantasy-themed cards. There are monsters, zombies and dragons stacked up against your band of heros. Though the luck of the draw is important, as in all solitaire games, a wide variety of cards and tactical options make this much more interesting than your standard solitaire game. Very highly recommended.
Also new to the App Store, but a long, long way from being a new game, here comes the game that started it all. Updated graphics and toned-down difficulty make for a much friendlier game than the NES original and the lack of story and cut scenes means you’ll be able to spend a lot of your time actually playing the game. It may be simple compared to later games in the series, but that doesn’t hurt a bit on a mobile platform.
Grand Theft Auto: Chinatown Wars
A giant of a game, this towers over the other games available on the iPhone, puts its hands on its hips and roars with laughter. An absolutely huge game, with great controls, this brings the humour, the carnage and the city you love to the iPhone. Alongside the story, there are all sorts of side missions, along with a hugely addictive drugs economy that you can use to earn money. It’s pretty much perfect and, for my money, is the best game on the App Store by a country mile.
Noby Noby Boy
Not, perhaps, the best game you’ll ever play on your iPhone. In fact, it’s not really game at all, simply a suite of little toys and mini apps. Think of it as a toy, though, and it’s brilliant. You can mess around stretching, flicking and breaking BOY, check the time, import photos, even browse the web. It’s all very silly and lightweight, but has a huge amount of charm. If you’re anything like me, you’ll keep coming back every now and again, just for the joy of it.
Everybody loves Orbital. Well, okay, not quite everybody. It’s a harsh mistress, where a single mistake spells death, so some lily-livered types find it off-putting, but most people play a couple of games and fall in love. It’s all about angles and sensible shooting, wrapped up in neon explosions in the emptiness of space. It’s horribly addictive – especially if your Facebook friends are also playing it – and all three modes offer something different. It’s not got the humour and scope of Grand Theft Auto or the cartoon charm of Angry Birds, but it’s got claws of cold steel that grab you and won’t let go.
It’s March, which means baseball is back. There’s a whole host of baseball games on the App Store and most of them have something going for them, but at the moment I’m playing Konami’s Power Pros. It’s easy to pick up, well-presented and cute. It may not have real players, but it feels right. Go Panthers!
If you’re playing Canabalt, you might as well play this, too. It’s the flip side of that game, where instead of being an escaping human, you’re a giant robot bent on destruction. Why you’ve been programmed to be unable to move past a city block unless its been completely destroyed I don’t know, but that’s the situation you find yourself in. You stomp through the city, destroying everything in your path. Buildings, trees… and the army. Soldiers are fried and squished, tanks explode, helicopters fall in flames. Eventually the armed forces will bring you down, that’s inevitable, but it’s great fun to see how far you can get before you fall.
Words With Friends
You always need Words With Friends. It’s a bit unstable at times and not as balanced as Scrabble, but it makes up for it with a huge userbase and ease of use. If you’ve got any interest in word games, you need this. There’s no single player, but that doesn’t matter given how easy it is to start an online game. I’m always up for new challengers and I’m easily beatable, so if you want a game, I’m ThatRevChap. So good it’s got a permanent space on my dock.
Spend some Noby Noby Boy time on both versions over the weekend. The iPhone version had the most play overall, because I’ve always got it in the palm of my hand, but I had a great time with the PS3 version, too. Considering how simple both versions are, it’s amazing how long I can spend just playing with them. No goals, just simple toys.
In the old days I might have messed around with a Rubik’s Cube, moving it around with no intention of solving it, or played around posing an action figure. Now I’ve got Noby Noby Boy. It certainly makes much more sense to think of both versions that way than to think of them as games.
Given the limitations of the app, I spent an awfully long time messing around with Noby Noby Boy last night. Just flicking BOY around and twisting him around objects, making him wander around photos and using the real-time view through the iPhone’s camera to have him crawl around my house.
I also gave the PS3 version a quick go. I visited Jupiter for the first time and had fun in a rainbow tube. Then I just reported my length to GIRL – I wish there was a way to link iPhone and PS3 accounts – and went to bed.
Not a conversion of the PS3 game. Not even a game, actually. Noby Noby Boy on iPhone is a collection of weird mini apps featuring BOY and GIRL.
You can play around with BOY with tilt and touch, stretching him, splitting him, having him grab random objects and listening to a bouncy soundtrack. It may not look like much in screenshots, but something about the animation and the tactile interface makes it come alive as you play. (And that’s “play” as in toy, not game.)
Of course, if the included music gets too much, you can summon a robot to play songs from your iPod. Obviously.
You can write on BOY and then email pictures to people from within the app. They suggest using it to tell your Boss you’re late for work, though I’m not sure that’s wise.
You can choose a photo from your library and see what the game makes of it. In this case, it put my face on a BOY. Nice.
You can use Noby Noby Boy as a clock. There seem to be a ton of different analogue clocks included, I’ve no idea how many.
You can use your GPS to find your location and then watch as BOY stretches as you drive to work.
You can report your length to GIRL and then, using Facebook connectivity, see who else has been uploading length on the world map.
There’s even a built-in web browser.
And that’s not everything, oh no. (Though it’s most of it, to be fair.) I’ll let you discover the rest… or just blog about it later. It’s all very bizarre, but has an air of madness – and even desperation – about it that I find very appealing. They just seem to have made a little Noby Noby Boy app and then realised it wasn’t nearly enough and so threw every iPhone function they could think of into the mix.
Will I use the web browser instead of Safari? I doubt it very much. Will I use the clock as my bedside clock? Probably not. Will I start Noby Noby Boy instead of the iPod app when I want to listen to music? Well, I’d be surprised if I did.
But will I use those functions when I’m playing about with BOY? Yes, I rather think I will.
Normal blogging will be resumed shortly, but to mark the new year, here are the best ten games of 2009… that I played. (So no Modern Warfare 2 or Uncharted 2, for example.) It was hard to whittle it down to a top ten, but I think I got there. Unfortunately, it means that 33rd Division, Scribblenauts, Angry Birds, Ridge Racer Accelerated, Doom Classic, Borderlands and even the mighty Demon’s Souls, Minigore and Orbital got left out.
Assassin’s Creed 2 (360)
I loved the first Assassin’s Creed game, but the sequel is on a completely different level. It’s tuned to perfection, with the developers having learnt the lessons of the first game and it’s absolutely packed with things to do. You can’t move more than three feet in town without encountering a side mission, treasure chest, shop, random chase, glyph or feather. Everything’s interesting, everything’s fun, there’s a decent script that’s not afraid to be funny now and again (“It’s me, Mario!”) and it’s absolutely beautiful. Best of all, I’m nowhere near done with it, so it’ll last me well into 2010.
Batman: Arkham Asylum (PS3)
If I had to choose one single Game of the Year, there’s no doubt that it would be Batman: Arkham Asylum. Influenced by the best comics and cartoons, it’s the first game that really, truly lets you be Batman. Batman’s not going to get hurt in a fight with a thug, but make him fight six at a time and he needs to be careful. And if those thugs have got guns, well, he’ll have to take them out without being seen. All the gameplay elements mesh together perfectly – with the exception of a few of the boss fights – and I’ll remember the setting and Mark Hamill’s Joker for a long, long time to come, even if I’ve already forgotten some of the details of the actual story. Brilliant.
If I were doing hardware awards, the iPhone would be running away with them. My scepticism of the device as a games machine disappeared within days of getting one. I even like virtual sticks and buttons now. But the first iPhone game to make this alphabetical list doesn’t need any of those. Instead, you just tap on the screen everytime you want to jump. It’s simple, yes, but only dimwits would see that as a bad thing. You run, you jump and you inevitably die. And then you come back for another go. The randomly-generated levels keep things tense and it looks and sounds incredible.
Breathtaking. Flower sees you become a god or spirit and takes you on a incredible journey. It’s something of a miracle that the big brick of technology that is the Playstation 3 can make you feel such a part of nature. To describe the story would be an injustice – and I expect everyone has their own interpretation. The gentle glides, the swoops, the windmills and pylons and cities and grass and flowers… it’ll all stay with me a long, long time.
The game I’ve always wanted in my head now exists in real life. It’s a huge, sprawling mess of America, where driving for hours with no goal in mind is a simple joy. It’s a game you remember. Riding bikes down impossibly huge cliffs, picking your way round the shallows of a lake at night, watching the sun break over a burned forest… like most of the games in this list, this is an exceptional game not just for the pure rush of the gaming moment, but in the way the sights, sounds and feelings remain long after you’ve stopped playing. And, you know, it didn’t hurt that many of the races were brilliantly-designed, requiring knowledge of the environment and vehicles to succeed. A towering single-player achievement, it’s just a shame that the online didn’t quite live up to expectations.
Gran Turismo (PSP)
I only got this a few days before the end of the year, but after many hours of playing on the sofa and in bed, I knew it had to make this list. The driving model is exciting (though you’d be forgiven for thinking otherwise before playing with the settings) and there are a huge number of cars and tracks. What really makes it for me, though, is the structure. Instead of a career mode you’re just given some basic modes and can choose any of the tracks to race on. By racing you earn more money to buy new cars. There’s nothing forced on you, you can just buy the cars you think look interesting and take them round your favourite tracks. What to see how a 1954 2CV handles Laguna Seca? Well, off you go – and you’ll even get some money for it. Absolutely exceptional.
Killzone 2 (PS3)
You like shooting people in the face? Of course you do! Killzone 2 understands this. It gives you great guns and great enemies and makes amazing set pieces out of them. It takes a while to get into, but once you’ve wormed your way inside, you won’t want to get out. Perfectly paced and just as long as it needs to be, Killzone 2 is an absolute triumph of the simple joy of putting bullets into bad guys.
Noby Noby Boy (PS3)
Initially, it seems like it’ll probably be fun for ten minutes, but no more. There aren’t any real goals (beyond hunting for trophies, if you feel like it) there’s just a random level and the stretching, twisting, ever-hungry Boy. You move around, eat things, knock things over and just play for the simple joy of play. And it doesn’t seem to get old. You always expect it to, but every time you go back, it still grabs you and a quick five minutes turns into an hour and a half without you noticing – or caring. Criminally overlooked and incredibly cheap, Noby Noby Boy deserved much, much better.
Prinny: Can I Really Be The Hero? (PSP)
Hard as nails – you might well lose all your 1,000 lives before completing the game – but never malicious, Prinny is an odd game. It’s an old school platformer spin-off from a series of strategy games and shouldn’t really work. If you believe the reviewers who skated the surface without finding their way inside, it was a failure. But those reviewers are wrong. It’s a huge game, packed with humour and secrets and, crucially, death is always your own fault. Quite frankly, if you like running, jumping and pounding things with your bottom, there wasn’t a better game released this year.
Words With Friends (iPhone)
The online multiplayer hit of the year, I’ve played this every day for months now. Heavily based on Scrabble, Words With Friends doesn’t bother with any fluff, but just lets you play the game against other people with a minimum of fuss. Portable game of the year, without a shadow of a doubt.
We’ve reached Mars! I got another couple of trophies today!
I really, really love this game. I didn’t think I’d play it as much as I have. I really thought it would be a short-lived novelty, but I keep coming back. I played it last night, I played it more today. It’s just wonderful escapism.
Played about for a bit between watching Mamma Mia and Hellboy 2 on Blu-Ray. Mamma Mia wasn’t… um… well, I’m not really the target audience. I’d probably enjoy the stage show more, I reckon. Hellboy 2 was really rather good, though I kept dozing off, because I’m very, very old. Noby Noby Boy was, as always, fun.
I’d heard there was an update, so thought I better download it. Once I had, I thought I’d have a quick go. Forty-five minutes later I managed to stop playing. I do wish this had sold more, partly because it’s so lovely, partly because I want to reach Mars one day.