Bob The Robber Game Review

Bob The Robber

Developed by Meow Beast, Bob the Robber is a browser-based game that’s part stealth, part platformer and part puzzle. A relatively short experience, that has some clever mechanics and decent level design, it does suffer from a couple of small issues as well as only having five levels.

Gamers in the late 20s and early 30s will likely compare every robbery game to Thief – with good reason. We see its influence even in 2D productions like Bob the Robber – difficulty, having to be sneaky to avoid being caught and requiring that your thinking cap is firmly in place.

Here Comes Bob

You’ll be playing the role of Bob in Bob the Robber – bet you didn’t see that coming – who perhaps sees himself as a modern day Robin Hood, as he sets out to burglarise the home of a mob boss. Wearing an uncreative and traditional black and white hooped outfit, you’ll be trying to get him past security cameras, laser alarm systems and low-tech but ever-reliable, good old-fashioned locked doors. In each mission is a target item that you’ll need to reach and escape with – preferably without setting off any alarms.

Bob the Robber doesn’t look to do anything too fancy with its control scheme. You can use the cursors or ASD to move around, while the up cursor or W allow you to interact with doors, security consoles and other objects. A simple control scheme that allows you to get straight into the meat of the game.

Bob The Robber: Game Play

Perhaps in a nod to another great franchise that has its best moments in stealth gameplay, Deus Ex, you can also use discovered security codes to disable the consoles. Doing so will save you time and also eliminate the risk of messing up and setting off an alarm.

Aside from security systems, you also have to worry about guards and, for some reason, Mafia-serving robots. Should man or machine spot you, alarm bells will ring and things will become a lot more difficult for poor Bob, as the rest of the enemies on the level go into a high-alert state for a short time.

As you make your way through the levels, Bob will hide himself in any shadows that you walk into, which is key to getting past patrolling enemies. You can fail each level by setting off one too many alarms. In my experience, expecting to get through any level except the first without setting off at least one alarm is an unreasonable expectation – but then I might just be bad at the game.

Bob’s Problems

Bob the Robber is on the short side. Truth be told, to me it feels like more of a proof of concept than a full game (and Meow Beast did in fact go on to release a longer sequel). If that is the case, it was clearly a success, however it still has a few niggles.

First and foremost, Bob is a little cumbersome to move around the levels. Having such a simple control system, it should be relatively easy to get his movement down and super-responsive – sadly that’s just not the case. Bob seems to have particular trouble interacting with objects in a timely manner. This becomes intensely frustrating when you need to interact with something before a guard turns around and comes towards you.

Then there’s the interface, which, for some reason, has a habit of overlapping parts of the game screen and obscuring your view. More than once I’ve bumbled right into a security camera’s point of view as it lay hidden behind the alarm icons.

Bob The Robber: Alarm Trip

Then there are the elevators. In real life, elevators, as far as I’ve experienced, move up and down. In Bob the Robber, some of them appear to move diagonally. The elevator doors themselves aren’t always immediately distinguishable from their surroundings, so what sometimes happens is that Bob steps into an elevator – and then you hear the doors open. The problem is, you don’t know quite where they opened.

Now granted, once you’ve done a level a couple of times you’ll (hopefully) remember where the doors open – but that doesn’t stop it from being a little frustrating the first time it happens. The levels are hard enough without having your run foiled by some sort of conceptual elevator design.

Finally, a word on the difficulty. I enjoy being challenged, and in general I have no issue with the level of difficulty in the first four levels of Bob the Robber. The last level, however, is several order of magnitudes harder than the four that come before it. This also speaks to the issue of only having five levels. It feels like there should or could be two, three or even four levels in between that and the last one where difficulty continues to gradually increase.

In the end it just comes across as being a little rushed, or like Meow Beast became fed up with creating levels and just wanted to get the game out there.

Final Thoughts

While it’s not the most unique game, Bob the Robber is certainly a fun and challenging little experience that has held up surprisingly well both audibly and visually since its release five years ago. It is also free – and for that price, it’s an experience that’s worth trying if you have a few spare minutes. Perhaps for the next game, Bob could steal those missing levels back from Meow Beast’s offices.

Play Bob The Robber

Review written by Ian Wakefield from integritas.link.

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