Back to Bed iOS Review
It’s difficult to say what exactly art is. It’s so subjective and different in every other person’s eyes, and what might be art to someone might just look like an everyday object to someone else. You probably wouldn’t call Microsoft Word art but you may say that some special effects in big blockbuster movies are. They are both just software at the end of the day, just like video games and whether you would call video games ‘art’ is completely up to you, but I personally think that the graphics in ‘Back to Bed’, are a work of art.
You control Bob, or should I say Subob, Bob’s subconscious. Bob is a narcoleptic and often can’t help but fall to sleep in the most unlikely of places. To make things worse, Bob sleepwalks and climbs out of windows too. Luckily Subob is there to guide him safely across the rooftops, past many life threatening obstacles and back to his nice warm bed. How nice.
Back to Bed is a grid based perspective-puzzle game. If you are familiar with the works of M.C. Escher then you will know exactly what I mean by perspective-puzzler. Think ‘never-ending staircase’. Things aren’t what they may seem and though a pathway cannot be possible in the real world, it is if it appears so from the game camera perspective. And that’s the whole point of Back to Bed; tricking your brain into seeing what makes sense in a grid based mathematical sense, not a realistic perspective one.
After a few seconds of starting up a puzzle, Bob will begin to walk in a straight line. If he falls off of the floating platform, he will drop from the sky into the spot where he originally started and begin his stroll anew. If he walks straight into an object or wall of any kind, he will turn 90 degrees to his right and will never turn left. In order to get Bob safely back to his bed you will need to find and pickup various objects and place them in the correct position in order to manipulate Bob into walking the safely desired path. Despite simply falling from the sky when Bob wonders off of the platform, Bob can die (or get woken up at least). If he walks onto a train track, a whale-on-wheels will run him down. If a running alarm clock or vicious dog hits bob he will also wake up and the puzzle will have been failed.
The most common objects found throughout these lucid dreams are giant apples and surfboard-like fish. The large fruit acts as a barrier occupying one grid space. It can be used to block Bob or other characters, and as a platform to walk across when placed in the correct place. The fish will make a common appearance in the later puzzles and functions as a bridge over hazards and gaps between platforms. Now you might be thinking apples and fish are a weird choice of gameplay assets, but I assure you that these are far from the weirdest thing in Bob’s head; the place is full of melting clocks, stalking eyeballs and the odd floating finger…
Everything about Back to Bed is right, apart from the puzzles. Every now and then you get a little stuck and may even have an epiphany away from the game as I once did, but not too often as the first play through is pretty easy. Some of the puzzles are cleverly put together in a way that helps you feel good about solving them, but the few most interesting puzzle solutions are never used again; not even as a small part of another complex level. Instead, most of the puzzles just involve slapping a fish on the floor and carrying an apple around for 20 seconds with little to no planning. It’s a real shame that only a handful of the levels have a particularly clever way of reaching your destination, being another necessary object or safe passage for Bob.
There is no denying that Back to Bed looks and feels great. The ability to switch between point-and-hold movement and a virtual stick is a nice feature and I’m sure many people prefer both control methods. The audio is great, from the peaceful ambient music to the deep narrator voice which I will remember for weeks to come (although the constant snoring and falling screams Bob makes can get a little annoying). As a huge puzzle game fan I can’t help but feel a bit disappointed with the overall experience and hope that DLC or even a sequel can expand on what is in every other way a great game. Back to bed is a nice looking game and probably worth playing for the art-style alone, but for £2.49, I probably wouldn’t waste my pocket money.