If you want “coin”… You got it!
Since its announcement back on March of 2016, The Legend of Bum-bo has kept us expectant; one of our beloved companions from The Binding of Isaac was going to get a stand-alone game.
The trailer introduces us to the story of Bum-bo, the main character. The latest game from Edmund Mcmillen, developer of Super Meat Boy, The Binding of Isaac and a huge etcetera, has stated that The Legend of Bum-bo acts like a sort of prequel to the Isaac’s story, thus confirming that both are set in the same in-game universe.
The first thing that caught my attention is the artwork; everything appears to be made of cardboard, giving the game a peculiar and original aesthetic. They made the right choice by giving the game this bizarre style, as it feels like it respects the context it presents; cardboard is trash, and bums gives different uses to it. Some recycle it to made a profit with it, or they use it as a mattress to isolate their bodies from the cold streets. It feels right that a game that has a Bum-bo as protagonist use cardboard to illustrate the world and its inhabitants.
Right after the story segment of the trailer ends, it begins what we were waiting for: gameplay. The game forces you to go from room to room; sometimes you’ll find enemies, others you may find items or even an empty room, until you find the boss from the level, beat him and continue with your adventure.
The combat core mechanic here are the puzzles: there will be 6 main puzzle pieces, after matching at least 4 of those specific pieces Bum-bo will do an action in consequence of the pieces you match. Let’s say you matched 4 bones then Bum-bo will attack or if you matched 4 hearts Bum-bo will heal itself. Also, you start to accumulate mana, which will be used to do puzzle spells. Each one grows in power the more pieces you connect. It is confirmed that spells will synergize with items and trinkets, contributing to replayability.
The rooms will be divided in 3 lanes, and you will have to decide which lane to attack. This gets a little tricky since the most buff monsters will appear first in lane to tank your attacks. Also, flying enemies can occupy the same space as the walking monsters. If there is a flying enemy above a walking one, the attack will hit the former, for example.
Monsters are defined in 4 classes: melee, ranged, spell casters and modifiers, the last two mentioned modify the game in ways that we don’t know yet.
Treasure rooms are present in the game, but unlike The Binding of Isaac, they will come with a change. There’ll be two items per room, but we’re just going to be able to take one. The choice is up to us, the players, to choose the item that appeals more to our current build or the one that screw us the less.
In addition to treasure rooms, there’ll be a casino zone at the end of each chapter, where the player can use their well-earned trash to buy new spells or modify the old ones. If you don’t want to buy anything, you can always give a try to the wheel of fortune, which will result in a random permanent stat modifier.
Legend of Bum-bo combines aspects from different genres of games, including dungeon crawling, turn based combat, puzzles and of course randomly generated elements to guarantee that every playthrough will be different from the rest.
Along with mixing certain genres defining mechanics, it does borrows some aspects from the Binding of Isaac. For example, the fact that we will have different representations of the main character with unique abilities, starting stats and items, the aforementioned treasure rooms, the randomly generated playthroughs, and even some enemies that are recycled from it.
All things considered, it looks like Legend of Bum-bo will be a success and feels really fresh as good old Mcmillen have us used to, except for the Super Meat Boy 2.0 also known as The End Is Nigh (sorry Edmund, shots fired). And, luckily, the development team keeps us regularly updated on the game official page (it even got updated as I am typing this).
The game was due to release at the end of 2017, but then it got delayed to the first half of the current year. We are in May already, so my hopes of seeing the game being released this month or the next are quickly vanishing, but I believe it will be worth the wait.