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Bobby Bearing

Rushin' through the bearing straights.

Dark blue icons of video game controllers on a light blue background
Image credit: Eurogamer

Perhaps more than any other, the 8-bit era was notorious for silly plots being tacked onto a clever game. It could be a huge disservice to suggest Bobby Bearing is a prime culprit, but the evidence is rather compelling. Bobby is ... some kind of robotic sphere thing. He lives in the isometric land of Technofear with his fellow robotic sphere things. Alas, an impish cousin has led his brothers astray, beyond the family home, and onto the dangerous plains. Our Bob must rescue them before it's too late.

Entertaining balls, in more ways than one.

Luckily, the game's main achievement doesn't depend upon a convincing storyline. Essentially a physics playground to roll a cute-looking sphere around in, Bobby Bearing brings tricky matters such as inertia, friction and gravity to a 3D maze-like realm. Mr. Bearing himself has a surprising amount of character and handles like a convincing sphere, with enough "weight" to roll him up short slopes if a prerequisite speed is reached. Obstacles in his path are often inert, but the occasional evil, fanged sphere will attempt to bump our hero off-course given half a chance. Otherwise, danger tends to stem from malicious moving blocks, which are keen to flatten poor Bob.

Geometric capers worthy of the Tate Modern.

Death in the game is actually impossible - the only way to lose is running out of time (which ticks away more rapidly with every setback). However, it's sometimes possible to get Bobby irretrievably stuck, which demands an instant, heavy-handed restart. Another annoyance comes from the hidden switches that crucially trigger moving blocks, but can't actually be seen. Such flaws aren't serious enough to destroy the multi-dimensional fun, but do detract from what is otherwise one of the finer 8-bit cubist outings.

7 / 10

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