Developer: Namco
Price: $1.99
Version Reviewed: 1.0

Graphics / Sound Rating: ★★★☆☆
Gameplay Rating: ★★★½☆
iPhone Integration Rating: ★★★★☆
User Interface Rating: ★★★★☆
Re-use / Replay Value Rating: ★★☆☆☆

Overall Rating: ★★★☆☆

I’ll never forget the first time that I saw 2001: A Space Odyssey. I love the movie all the way through, but as a small kid, the ending sequence probably screwed me up for a number of years. Nothing about it was overly scary, but the sequence was so absurdly abstract that I had nightmares for weeks. If you are drawing a blank on the scene, it’s the one where Dave turns into the monolith. After a bizarre Star Trek warp speed-like sequence, (my memory gets a bit fuzzy here.. it’s been awhile) Dave rapidly gets older and older in an extremely strange, almost haunting 5-10 min sequence until he dies. The the monolith appears by him and he becomes what the book describes as ‘Star-Child’. I hadn’t read the book at the time, and without the text that gives everything meaning, the end of the movie was all sorts of confusing.

IMG_0805Noby Noby Boy provides the same level of confusion, albeit with less of a scare… although not much less of one. I don’t know what genre to categorize the app, nor do I really know how to review it, but here it goes. Created by the guy that made Katamari, Noby Noby Boy takes the same light hearted, possibly drug induced humor, strips out all the game elements, and provides what I can best describe as not an app, but an experience.

The majority of the app is a blank black canvas that has the Noby Noby Boy bouncing around. The Noby Noby Boy is an alien looking worm thing that can stretch, contract, and grab onto things. I guess the idea here is to give the Boy something to play with, and this is where things get real weird. Using various buttons in the bottom, you can add creatures that are weird shapes, creatures that are made from pictures in your photo gallery, creatures that play your iTunes music and embody album covers, and even a creature that tells the time. You don’t really do anything with these creatures other than have them bounce off of each other, but I guess there is something intoxicating about the whole experience.

Once that experience gets weird, you can start playing with “Girl”. Girl makes very little sense to me, as the goal of Girl is to eat hearts and stretch out. There’s a chance that I’m describing this badly, but I’m not, you really just have to experience it. After you are done playing with Girl, you can move onto the GPS mode where you can “leave your mark in history” (when you give the girl a heart, you leave a marker on the map) or stretch out Noby Noby Boy by moving around with your GPS on. Once that’s done, you can try to use the built in we browser. Why would an app like this have a web browser? Who knows. The whole browsing experience is pretty awful within the app, so I wouldn’t recommend it unless you are a very patient individual. It is slow and the bookmark system is so mind boggling that it is almost a game in itself.

I have to say that I’m not a huge fan of Noby Noby Boy. It is definitely worth seeing, but after playing for a few minutes I was ready to move onto something that was a bit more sane. Don’t get me wrong, I love weird Japanese stuff as much or more than the next guy (I still play Tomena Sanner!) but this is just a little too much for me. I’d like to say that this is just one of those things that I just “don’t get”, but I think the problem is that this app really just isn’t meant for humanity.

If you are still on the fence, please watch the promo video… it’ll explain everything.

Posted in: iPhone Apps and Games, Productivity, Reviews

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