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Gomi Bako Review

by GaryTun

Gomi Bako - PSN


Think Tetris, but with garbage!

That’s Gomibako, the PlayStation Network puzzle game. The goal of the game is to pile as much garbage as you can into the junkyard crate without making it overflow. Mattresses, teddy bears, bicycles, huge plastic slides, fire extinguishers, statues, and flaming swords drop from a garbage carrier overhead, and must be placed to maximise your trash.

Players: 1-2
Released: 2009

Reviewed March 2009 by Keith Murray.

Waste management was once the cornerstone of Mafia families, using it as a front for their more nefarious business practices. Quite what Tony Soprano would’ve made of the method of Gomi Bako on the Japanese PlayStation Network is open for debate.

A literal translation of term “Garbage Can”, Gomi Bako is a puzzle game that requires the player to arrange various items of detritus into a large blue bucket, reminiscent of gaming classic Tetris. Initially appearing to be nothing more than a gimmick, Gomi Bako’s master-stroke is using the Havok physics engine, imbuing each item with its own characteristics. While wooden items like bats will shatter with contact from an electrical appliance, trying to compact down a large metal safe is problematic at best.

Now and again lit cigarettes, flaming oil tankers and even unexploded bombs can be used to clear a near fatal level of  accumulating rubbish. These can be used to burn or melt any of the objects within the bucket. To literally stoke the fire, the lid must be placed over the top to intensify the blaze, instigating a fire combo. In order to stop players exploiting this there’s an oxygen counter and temperature gauge placed to the left hand side of the screen. When the oxygen counter reaches zero, the fire will go out (as, just like the real world, it needs it to continue to burn) so the exact point at which to close the lid and when to let the next item in has to be judged with some strategy.

Midway through each of the five stages a `boss` refuse item will be introduced. Amusingly these items take the form of piggy banks, golf buggies and other equally bizarre items. If these boss items aren’t smashed within a 10 second time limit, a torrent of rubbish will be dropped from on high, seriously damaging the players prospects of making it through to the end of the level.

The character within Gomi Bako is reminiscent of the Katamari series of games in so much as each stage starts with relatively small household items, right up to stage five, which starts to throw baseball grounds, mountains and even rainbows  into the mix. Once the five main stages are complete, any of them can be played again on their own or in an endless mode, which does exactly what it says on the tin. While regrettably there is no online portion, the local multiplayer and online leaderboards will keep players entertained for a good while, swapping high scores with friends.

An interesting take on disposing of our rubbish Gomi Bako is playful and interesting enough to warrant a purchase when it (hopefully) makes its way to the European and US stores.