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Them Bombs: A Digital Cooperative Boardgame Full of Puzzles

svgJul 23, 2019ReviewsJoelle

Them Bombs is a digital cooperative “boardgame” for 2-4 players. It’s just you, your friends, and a ticking bomb (gasp)! Work together and communicate efficiently to save lives! Them Bombs is created by Yellow Dot, an indie developer based in Poland, and is available now for PC (Steam), the Nintendo Switch, and mobile devices (iOS and Android). It also seems to be “coming soon” to PS4 and Xbox One. For the purpose of this review, I played on Steam here with one other person locally using the manual on their tablet. Also, this time we have no gameplay footage as we feel that would give too much away and spoil the game. Therefore, we won’t be going into detail about the puzzles.

Unlikely Hero or Expert Team

First you need to decide if you’ll be the only player on the PC physically doing the puzzles in order to defuse the bomb. You’ll need to hide the screen from the other players and try to explain and describe exactly what you see so they know which puzzles you are dealing with. The other 1 or 2 players can either print or grab a digital copy of the manual here to use on another PC, tablet, or mobile device. I highly recommend printing if the fact that the manual is several pages long doesn’t bother you, or to do it on another PC to be able to scroll faster and find everything a lot easier.

Know that the players reading the manual need to quickly go through all of the pages to find the proper security modules that are standing between you and the deactivation of the bomb. There are 12 different modules meaning there are 12 different types of puzzles that will appear at random. All puzzles will have a related decoder in the appendix section to help you solve them. Therefore, the Unlikely Hero needs to pay attention to their type of battery, type of explosive, and the cover of the bomb (amount of screws and color) which will change every playthrough!

Getting Started

“A crazy scientist called Dr. TiNT (still pronounced TNT) plants deadly bombs in various public spaces. Each time, minutes before the explosion, a random person within the blast radius receives a message from him. Only this person – the Unlikely Hero – can defuse the bomb… given they get the right help.” At the beginning of every session you’ll be told where Dr. TiNT planted his bomb such as the mall or a hospital and what that civilian toll would be.


As a first time player, you’ll automatically be thrown into the Tutorial puzzles to get you used to playing. Once you’ve completed your first try, you’ll then get to decide your difficulty: Beginner, Normal, Hard, and Custom. Afterward, choose who is playing what role as mentioned above, and go! Pay attention to your ticking timer as on Beginner you’ll have roughly 10 minutes to solve 3 random puzzles.

Gameplay and Puzzles

My first time playing was an absolute massive failure because the Tutorial puzzles don’t help you at all, at least not for the Unlikely Hero. The one reading through the manual however needs to go through a ton of text which isn’t all that easy to understand at first. Although to be fair, most boardgames start out this way in order to understand the rules and such and I find that always to be quite the chore. If I were to tell you anything important at all during this review, it would be to go through the manual before any attempt at actually playing. I’m not sure if that’s what you are supposed to do but I know this will keep your frustration to a minimum.

Make sure you understand each puzzle in a more stress-free environment instead of us fools that tried it while the timer was on. The puzzles can be fairly intricate but once you know what to look for, the game will be a lot more fun. I like that you’ll start to recognize the same puzzles and develop a way between you and your friends on how to explain which ones they are. Even if this happens, the answers will change quite often due to all of the variables in place. For example, this time your bomb cover is blue, you have 6 screws, your batteries are type 6LS05 with a voltage of 9.2 V and are zinc manganese dioxide in the form of one piece.

They Were the Best of Times and the Worst of Times

The main focus here is communication and cooperation so you can definitely become better the more often you play. It’s also a great exercise for your brain as the puzzles will have you dealing with Morse code, musical symbols, Greek letters, etc. I’m sure if you know your music notes, and your alpha and omega, you’ll be a lot better at this game than I was. My partner (a musician) had the greatest patience when I was trying to explain certain things like the ‘rest’ note being a “backwards squiggly 3 trying to take flight”.

Some puzzles relied on your memory skills and button-timing which I didn’t like as much as the others. I suppose this could take up a lot of your time if you fail so maybe that’s the point. I prefer just simply clicking and then choosing the right answers which is hard enough already. If you get an answer wrong, your timer will drop by quite a bit and those minutes are precious. The game will try to freak out the Unlikely Hero by occasionally making you “switch out your flashlight batteries” in order to get rid of your blackened screen or “breathe” in order to regain your composure all while the timer is still going.

Graphics and Content

The design of the overall game is where Them Bombs falls extremely short. I appreciate that the game is more about the puzzles and less and about the graphics but I feel like the developers were still very lazy in that department. Blank black and white screens with some stick figure icons is the absolute bare minimum one can put in either a videogame, boardgame, or this mixture of both. The title of this game could also have been a little more creative.

The most interesting element that they added is that of the funny newspaper clipping they give you when you succeed where you can add your name to the headline and body. Not only can you share this to social media and probably get some raised eyebrows from your friends, but the feature goes as far as a fully detailed article. There aren’t that many different pieces to read from what I’ve seen but it still sets the scene and makes the game more enjoyable.

Them Bombs is perfect for anyone that wants a quick party game when they have company over or something you can play as passengers in a vehicle while traveling. Each session is short but the game offers a lot of replayability. Once you get the hang of it, the puzzles are actually quite fun. Even if the graphics before and after are quite boring, the graphics for the actual puzzles do the job. The price of the game is fair so if you want to check it out for yourselves, you can go to the official website here.


I'm Canadian, a geek, and lover of: video games, sci-fi, anime, my two cats, and my partner Moe. My favorite game of all time is Banjo-Kazooie! I also really enjoy most RPGs, simulation games, dungeon-crawlers, local co-ops and action-adventures. Follow me on Twitter:


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  • Moe

    July 24, 2019 / at 9:47 am

    I have to say I really enjoyed playing it. The puzzles were confusing at first, but you get the hang of it. Not a whole lot look at and I can see it getting repetitive, but it was fun!

  • Joelle Lavoie

    July 25, 2019 / at 5:11 pm

    I might have been a bit harsh on the graphics but I did give the gameplay 8/10. So if you love puzzles then I definitely encourage people to try this one out. Just don’t go into with the mentality that it’s a fully fledged game that offers hours of play. It plays more like a boardgame where you can just do quick sessions with friends.

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    Them Bombs: A Digital Cooperative Boardgame Full of Puzzles