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Eskimo Bob Starring Alfonzo impressions


Before yesterday I knew nothing about Eskimo Bob. I actually supported the Kickstarter for this mostly because it was a new NES game, though I did get the Steam version instead of the cartridge (which seems like it will be out later this year, and you can find a link to pre-order it on the Eskimo Bob website). It was a nice KS since it was only back in May and I already have my game on Steam, really fast turnaround.

So I played a good amount of the game, and decided last night to check out what Eskimo Bob was all about… it was… even less than I was expecting (I watched 22 episodes). Cheaply animated, mostly unfunny flash cartoons that either had no point or were so short that I just wondered what happened. I wouldn’t call it enjoyable, but I’m sure it has some fans, as it is one of the longest running web cartoons, getting 53 episodes (usually around a minute long, counting the intro “song”) from 2001 to 2013 (and one of the stretch goals for the kickstarter was a new episode, which was reached but I don’t think it happened?). Not a fan of the show overall.

Eskimo Bob might not be cool, but maybe his game is. So let’s check it out! This is an impressions post because I’m not quite done with it, and forgot to write down my password when I last played so I’d have a bit to replay through and I don’t feel like doing that right now.

Presentation

It’s an NES game so it’s not complex by modern standards, but it does look really good if you ask me. It’s a perfect representation of the Eskimo Bob world. The blue background with non-descript spiky glaciers in the background, the characters look the same, the intro music is there (not sure if the in-game music is from the show)… plus they filled it to the brim with characters and references from the show. Maurice is there pooping on stuff, the Walrus is there to help out mostly, the yeti and Sams are enemies, the fish in a flying saucer is around, the leprechaun is there, and you grab fish to finish levels. Everything in the game looks like it’s out of the show, and the sprites look really awesome, quite detailed. Plus Bob burps at the end of each level which is nice. As far as cartoon adaptations go this is one of the most accurate ever, which makes sense since it’s made by the makers of the show themselves. If you like Eskimo Bob the game will be a blast for you but if not…

Gameplay

Well the game is still fun regardless of what you know about Eskimo Bob. It’s pretty simplistic game design but it really does work.

It’s a level-based side-scrolling platformer, with 64 levels. The goal of every level is to get all the fish, which makes sense. There’s several obstacles standing in the way, may it be enemies, destructible blocks, holes, spikes. The levels are side-scrolling, but they’re fairly small and loop around if you keep going in one direction.

So you play as Bob, but if you find an igloo you can go in and switch to Alfonzo. They do actually play differently. Bob jumps higher but can’t attack normally. Instead he can punch down if he’s crouching (which is consistent with the show, he does punch down a lot to get fish from ice), which the only use for is to break blocks that are below you. Alfonzo pokes things directly in front of him with a stick, which defeats enemies (some are just knocked back) and breaks blocks in front of him (but not down, Bob does that). Both can also break blocks with their heads Mario-style, and walk/jump while crouching.

So level layouts, enemy positioning and even igloo positioning leads to a really varied gameplay experience. The idea is figuring out when to switch, when to what blocks to break so you can advance with a different characters, beat enemies to make things easier for Bob, and other such shenanigans. There’s a few gimmicks as well like the fish in a UFO which can carry you around.

Plus it seems like there’s a boss battle every 16 levels, those I fought were okay, nothing really amazing but interesting enough (and the only time Bob’s downward punch did anything to an enemy).

Overall

It’s a pretty fun game. It’s not amazing, but it’s a cool 10$ distraction. If you’re a fan of Eskimo Bob you definitely want to grab it. If you’re not it’s still a really solid game.

I do find the level design really clever, and it’s fun to figure out the best way to beat a level. The controls are really smooth to so it feels great to play. Overall a quick little game I recommend.

Write down your passwords.

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