Robbery Bob: Man of Steal, a stealth action game developed by Level Eight and published by Chillingo, is now available from the app store. A colorful top-down affair featuring fun gameplay tactics, easy controls, and a quirky story, Robbery Bob offers a decent challenge that manages to delight along the way.
Robbery Bob: Man of Steal Pros:
- Colorful, top-down presentation and fun animations
- Whimsical soundtrack and funny sound effects
- Simple controls and context-specific action button
- Badge-collection goals add replay value
- GameCenter & Crystal integration for leaderboards and achievements
Robbery Bob: Man of Steal Cons:
- Top-down presentation creates challenges in distinguishing the nature of certain items
- No pan option
The game starts with Bob being bailed out of prison by a mysterious raincoat-clad stranger. Indebted for his generosity, Bob is made to sneak into suburban homes, swiping valuables and specific “treasures” without being seen. The final job of the first chapter sees Bob infiltrate the home of the raincoat-clad gentleman and take back what’s unrightfully his. The next chapter pairs Bob with a thug whose ice cream he inadvertently spoiled. To make amends, he goes on a spree through downtown with this undesirable brute. A pattern emerges. There are 50 levels in all to work through, taking you also through a science lab before concluding. Each job should last no more than a couple of minutes. You’ll earn badges for going undetected, completing your job within the time limit, and swiping all available loot.
All movements are carried out in tiptoe fashion, with an option to use a rechargeable run button, as necessary. Running creates louder footfalls and causes you to burst through closed doors, which can alert unsuspecting dwellers to your presence. Opened doors similarly raise flags when happened upon by patrolling guards or homeowners, leading them to investigate further. Specific locations allow you to use a “ninja” move to hide in plants, toilets, and other innocuous objects to avoid detection, even when authorities are in close proximity. As you progress, you acquire new abilities like disguising yourself as a guard to fool security cameras and activating noises to draw the attention of individuals away from your location. Dotted lines indicate the fixed pathways of patrolmen, similar to those seen in Spy Mouse. Dots become large and red as the patrolman approaches, offering a nice visual indicator for when they are off-screen.
Graphically, Robbery Bob uses a somewhat challenging top-down perspective that limits your field of vision to your immediate surroundings. A pinch-zoom option will give you a full overview of the level, but you can only move when zoomed in. There is no pan option, sadly. The visuals utilize a myriad of colors, but the perspective makes it difficult to distinguish between items that prevent movement and items that can be walked over. Distinguishing doors from windows based on a thin line is also tough at times. The lack of significant detail and the design simplicity give the game an old-school feel that was a bit disappointing given the graphical prowess of other games on the same platform. The soundtrack is light and whimsical, and sound effects are used for swiping items, opening/closing/slamming doors, intruder detection, and more. All dialogue takes place as text-based, pop-up exposition, with no voiceover work that could have made it more palatable. A virtual pad controls sneaky movements and a context-specific action button handles all other functions. A loot bag in the upper right corner fills as you approach the maximum amount of valuables that can be stolen in each level, a nice clue to whether you can expect that third badge when you burst through the exterior doors.
Replay value is good, as additional playthroughs will be required to earn missed badges. Also, faster times will result in better scores, allowing you to climb the GameCenter/Crystal leaderboards and pick up achievements, too. Patrolling behaviors are not always the same, so the experience differs a bit each time. A universal app for $0.99, Robbery Bob is a fun 4.5-Dimple offering that stole our hearts.
Robbery Bob: Man of Steal Review,