Bob & Dob
This week we will be looking into the latest #GBJAM, which coughed up a whopping 484 submissions (now down to, for various reasons, a “mere” 402). Our first featured entry is the charming Bob & Dob, a game that pits boy and seal against the elements, landing a respectable 5th place in the jam.
Even if you’re not into fishing in the slightest, fear not. Not since SEGA Bass Fishing has the gentleman’s sport been so strangely engaging, and also, full of seal-based action.
As mentioned in the intro, Bob & Dob pits boy and seal against the elements, hunting for delicious fish, which I assume much like fish in our oceans, turn instantly into coins upon capture. This bounty can be used to upgrade your gear, allowing for further exploration and more fishing/grinding action. The usual suspects of these mining/plundering style games are all here: upgrade your boat to cruise faster, acquire new rods to dive deeper, and purchase better fishing bags let you haul more loot per dive.
What distinguishes Bob & Dob apart from the multitude of Gameboy-likes out there is the charm. It’s packed full of the same kind of charm that made the Gameboy so popular in the day (despite effectively being a brick that displayed green dots on a tiny screen), it nails the presentation, both in sound and visuals, and the relaxed take-your-own-pace exploration of the deep blue brings back fond memories of some Gameboy classics like Super Mario World 2 and Kirby’s Dream Land, just with 100% more seals.
The control scheme is slightly unusual – ‘F’ launches your seal buddy into the watery blue abyss, who can then be directly controlled with the arrow keys. Pressing ‘F’ again while in seal mode gobbles up any nearby fish (to be regurgitated into sweet, sweet coins), while a tap of the ‘D’ key reels him back in again. Pressing ‘S’ while controlling the boat calls the shop screen up.
Being a gamejam entry, it’s still a bit rough around the edges though, and there were a few bugs. Our first attempt diving deeper into the sea caused the screen to whiteout, making progress impossible. Coming back a week later, the problem seems to have been fixed, but there are still occasionally odd bugs – at one point Bob’s boat levitated to the top of the screen then disappeared entirely, despite still being able to play as if the boat was there.
Bob & Dob is also an unavoidably short experience, like many gamejam entries. There’s enough here to demonstrate the concept and get you, er, hooked, but it will leave you wanting for more. Dob’ll be able to consume enough fish to net you a few upgrades, but all you really need is the first rod upgrade, which can take you all the way to the point where your seal pal will be pretty much able to hoover up all of the available sea life into his maw. The developers are keen to develop the concept a bit further, so with a bit of luck more Bob & Dob my yet await us.
Bob & Dob | Download