Game: Side B
Genre: Puzzle Adventure
Developer|Publisher: Bold Pixel
Age Rating: EU 3+ | US Everyone
Price: UK £4.49 | US $ 5.99 | EU € 4,49
Release Date: June 16th, 2021
Review code provided with many thanks to Bold Pixel
Side B, created by Polish company Bold Pixel, is originally called Back to 1998 Side B. This makes sense as with a title called Side B, I was immediately reminded of the days when we still had cassette tapes and vinyl singles. You know, the ones that had the big hit on side A, and an added song by the same group on side B. So you could hear they could do other amazing stuff aside from the song you already knew. There is a side A to this game as well, a game called Back to 1998, out on Steam only.
Get the ‘90s Vibe
The way the title of this game made me think about old times when I had a Walkman with my favourite music in it (which also had to reverse the tape to hear side B) isn’t a coincidence. Bold Pixel deliberately went back to the ‘90s era for their inspiration. On their website they state that to them, 1998 is the perfect year to catch the 90’s mindset: “Cool, careless and bold. It was a year of change. Google has just started, Microsoft made Windows 98. We all ran back to our homes to see a new episode on TV. “
To stay true to that era they chose a pixelated art style for their point and click adventure. And though I didn’t play the first game, I gather that time travel is involved, and the main character Johnny goes back to 1998 as a young teenager. He is trying to solve the mystery of how to go back into the present times and to his adult years. Made me think of the hit movie Big (made in 1988) where Tom Hanks accidentally found himself turning into a teenager again by a fortune-telling machine called Madame Zoltar.
All of this gives Side B a nostalgic feeling, added to by the scenery. Like big ferns on top of gambling machines and the use of lots of brown colours. Another reference that is very clear is that Bold Pixel is a Polish company. Some quirky details about polish life are shown in, for example, a book you find about Polish birdlife.
Try to Solve with Logic
The gameplay is a point and click. Gather items along the way, Combine items, pay attention to what the characters you meet are saying to find a way to solve the puzzles. Click on everything and anything to see if you find clues, and if you are stuck, there’s a hint system in place.
I must admit that the logic to solve the puzzles didn’t always agree with me. For instance, finding my way out of the market to the next part of town was a real challenge. I kept going the wrong way and found myself running in circles for the longest time.
It might just be that I’m not good at this kind of game. Or can it be that the puzzles are too difficult?
Graphically Side B has the retro feeling down well. There’s no soundtrack to speak off but the background noises, like crowing birds or a train passing by, are all in place.
The game isn’t text-heavy, but the English leaves a bit to be desired.
It may have been just me, but the puzzles were very challenging. Often in point and click games, it’s a matter of following the reasoning behind the puzzles, and I found that to be hard. Which made me lose my patience and influence the fun I had playing in a negative way.
It might be a good idea to play the first game before this one to get more of a feel for the story. And if you like your point and click adventures, and are good at them, you might step into the ‘90s and give it a try!
Final Verdict: I’m Not Sure