Robbery Bob is a hardened criminal, and that is his entire identity.
Stuck in jail for a hit gone bad he is wasting away when he gets help from outside. But help is never free, and especially not when someone helps you escape prison. Robbery Bob is now bitch to a mysterious man in a brown trench coat. Bob might have been better off doing the time, but it is too late now. He has to work off a debt to his freer, and make sure to stay out of the eyes of the law. Not that easy to do since all he knows is crime, and he gets new jobs from his strange benefactor.
Robbery Bob is a sneaky game of stealth, and timing. You get an objective for a break-in, and have to make sure to escape with the coveted object. Your success is judged in three stars iOS style: one for speed, one for stealth and one for getting all the valuables. This should probably bring me to replay levels, but I never felt an urge to replay levels when I could progress to the next hit instead.
Controlling Bob is done by using a virtual joystick, which is slightly weird in my opinion. There have been quite a lot of stealthy games that use line drawing mechanics for control. Spy Mouse and 33rd Division come to mind as successful games using line drawing. Having direct control of Bob eliminates some of the strategic elements, and turns it into an arcade escape game. Beside the movements controls you have a rush button with limited use before you have to rest. This is good for a quick escape, but it also means that your steps can be heard.
Walking into a house is always exciting in Robbery Bob, and finding out who moves where is key to not get caught. The cops can be lured away by leaving a door open for example. At other times you can hide in baskets, or even toilets to wait out the person moving about. Personally I would never hide in toilet waiting for someone to come into the bathroom…you never know what might happen.
You pass by a lot of valuables, and quick decisions have to be made. Should I pick it up now, or later? Do I have time? Where did that guard go? The first time is always fun on any given level, but replaying soon turns into too much memorization. I would have preferred to tackle levels a bit more on my toes than learning routes by heart.
When you have played a couple of levels the game starts to feel repetitive. It is still exciting, but there is a sense of boredom starting to nag on me. I would have liked to be able to select some kind of gear to solve problems. Making diversions, or even using some kind of stealth ability at a cost would enhance the gameplay.
Bright, colourful and quite forgettable is a good description of the presentation. It reminds me a bit too much of time management games when it comes to the happy music, and map progression. Bob, and other characters have limited animations and viewed directly from the top there isn’t much to see. Still the graphics are functional, and don’t distract from the task at hand.
Robbery Bob is a casual take on crime where some design decisions leave me confused. This would really have benefitted from line drawing controls, and some cool gadgets or other rewards to keep you interested. Repetitive gameplay, and memorization of routes limits the appeal. At a buck it is still worth getting if you are into stealth games, and don’t mind that the story is a bit weird.
Robbery Bob $0.99 Universal for iPad/iPhone/iPod
Seller: Chillingo Ltd.