I have always enjoyed puzzle games. Portal was what made me fall in love with them. The first few levels seemingly simple to lure you into a false sense of security. Then the puzzles start to get increasingly harder and then they throw in an easy one just to put you off. But, the ultimate pleasure you get from finally figuring it out, that’s what makes puzzle games so enticing. Ram Boe, is definitely falls into this category. This adorable little game was created by a small developer called PointFive Team, their second game after Jetpack Johnny. It is available on both Steam and Android so of course I had to try them both out to see what the differences were.
If it wasn’t obvious, we follow the story of a Ram named Boe. Of course, he wasn’t always a ram, he used to be a man. A mountaineer who was called Beauregard Pete. He was a brave and strong soul. Unfortunately, his soul was capture and placed inside a rune stone by a Jotun, Thrym. But, Boe was a strong soul and managed to escape his prison. Unable to find his own body, he possessed a ram and vowed to save all the other trapped souls and defeat Thrym. As a ram. Because how else would you defeat a giant frost monster? It is quite a nice little story which fits perfectly for this type of puzzle game. And, quite honestly, I think its rather unique having the main protagonist as a ram. Just saying.
This is a block pushing game. You can only move Boe in a grid like pattern. Essentially, you have to push rune blocks into a portal to complete the level. Some levels are more advanced than others, requiring you to combine blocks with the same rune before you can put them into the portal. The style of gameplay suits tablets and phones superbly. As the levels progress, the puzzles do get harder. Occasionally, they do throw in a relatively easy puzzle, usually after a “boss” level.
The boss levels are frustrating. The same principle applies as with the other levels; you push all the blocks into the portal before time runs out. However, Thrym is making you life more difficult by adding more blocks to the board. The frustration occurs when he summons a block in front of the one you are trying to move and you can no longer move that block. It is a little game breaking. The you have to restart from the beginning. I think the reason it doesn’t really work for me, is because you are rushing because you are being timed and then you mess up. Then you have to restart. Some of this comes down to the controls which I will discuss later. Overall though, the gameplay is not bad. I do believe that it works better for mobile than on PC simply because of the style of game it is.
Graphics & Sound
The graphics are adorable. From the design of the levels to the little red bandanna on Boe’s horn, I love it all. The art style is so fitting as well. I even like the still images they use for the cut scenes. The sound is equally as adorable. Sometimes, the trap these types of games fall into is that the music is never quite up to scratch. Often with mobile games, I tend to turn the sound and music off because after a while it gets irritating. But, the music for this game is lovely and has a Zelda-esque feel to it. Graphics and sound are definitely my favourite things about Ram Boe.
Unfortunately, this is where the game falls down for me. For a game that mostly suits mobiles, I could not get along with the controls. Perhaps I am inept at using the controls for this game but it was mightily frustrating. On the mobile version, you have four arrows in the bottom left of the screen that you use to move around. This is not a complicated system. However, sometimes the time it takes to move Boe around can be frustrating. There have been a couple of times that I thought I’d moved him far enough, and then I’ve ended up moving a block the wrong way or falling off an edge. It is also frustrating that you can quite easily press the wrong direction arrow on the screen. These issues are not a problem on the PC version. The only real issue is the time it takes to move. The controls are a big disappointment in an otherwise good game.
As you would expect, the difficulty depends on the level. It also entirely depends on how good you are at puzzle games. I am not good at puzzle games. Kudos to all of you out there who have the patience for them. For all my fellow comrades who are in the same boat as me, this one is not a game for you. I hope you appreciate what I went through in order to inform you of this.
I’m not sure there is much in the way of replayability with Ram Boe. Perhaps if you ever get that itch to play a puzzle game you will come back to it. I do enjoy puzzle games but usually once I’ve completed it, I tend not to come back to it. The first time I finish the game is enough accomplishment for me. Perhaps for some of you hardcore puzzle gamers out there you will come back to this one to see how quickly you can complete some of the levels. Other than that, I can’t see myself coming back to this one any time soon.
You can find the link to the Steam version here – Ram Boe