Ibb and Obb review by Aaron Rout (Here-Comes-Bod)
Available now for PS3 and PC.
In the ever growing video games market with games becoming bigger and consoles becoming more powerful, how do you make your game stand out from the rest? Without the budget to compete with the big companies, indie developers need to rely on great design and innovation to get noticed. Ibb and Obb is a game built on the concept of co-operative play in it’s truest sense. Trust me when I say this is not a multi-player game. Co-operation and communication are the key to success. This concept is Ibb and Obb’s best asset but also it’s biggest drawback.
There are no instructions in Ibb and Obb. There is no text and no dialogue. It is left to the players to work out how to proceed through the world. The simple design of the world and control system make it easy to get to grips with the concept of working together to reach new areas.
The world itself is split into two and both characters can cross to the other side via the use of portals. When the characters cross over gravity becomes reversed, up is down, down is up but left and right remain the same. Once you get used to this concept the game introduces new elements, obstacles and enemies to further complicate things.
Enemies can appear on either side of the world, one side they are black, spiked and deadly but on the opposite side they can be destroyed. When enemies are dispatched they drop crystals which can be collected and this gives you a score at the end of each level. The crystals disappear quickly so co-operation and timing become important to grab all the crystals without being killed. Enemies reappear if you are killed but the crystals do not so you only get one chance to get them.
The design of Ibb and Obb is simple but effective throughout. The characters themselves are silent but watching their eyes reacting to movement around them gives them a surprising personality. The backgrounds are bright and colourful with the abstract scenery adding to the experience. The background music is tranquil and relaxing which offsets the frustration which will set in at certain points in the game.
The game can be played with a friend locally or online or if you are feeling brave you could chance playing with a random stranger. If you choose to play online I would suggest that a headset is a necessity. The right analogue stick can be used to draw lines on the screen to illustrate to your partner what you need them to do but sometimes it just isn’t enough.
For the “Billy No Mates” out there, a single player option is included. This involves using each analogue stick to control Ibb and Obb simultaneously. This is a reasonable idea for the first few levels but later levels require such timing and precision that this would be overwhelmingly difficult for all but the hardiest of gamers.
Ibb and Obb is at it’s best playing with a friend locally or online. Part of the fun comes from bouncing ideas and strategies off each other and without that the game loses some of its appeal. The amusement of failing at simple jumps soon turns to frustration at your inability to find a solution to a seemingly simple puzzle, which in turn leads to elation at finally conquering the fiendishly tricky moments. I consider myself quite intelligent but some of the puzzles are so devilish that my partner and I had trouble coming up with a solution for some time. There were moments when we just sat in silence, neither of us able to come up with any ideas on how to move on. Possibly a reflection of our own shortcomings but one that does work against the flow of the game.
At times frustrating but ultimately rewarding co-operative game that should be played with a friend to get the most from the simple but clever concept.