ibb and obb Review
Great fun with a friend; Cool minimalist style
Gameplay eventually moves away from pure puzzle solving; Singleplayer is nearly unplayable
Bring a Friend
Co-op puzzle games have a special place in gaming: They rarely exist, are rarely done well, and yet are beloved when it’s pulled off without a hitch. Â ibb & obb manages to do a lot of things right, but misses the mark on aÂ trueÂ puzzle solving experience. Â However, it still makes for an entertaining cooperative experience in its own right.
ibb & obb is a cooperative game through and through. Â With a friend – whether locally or online via PlayStation Network – you head through each of the varying levels, using teamwork to conquer every obstacle you cross. Â There’s no rhyme or reason to ibb & obb’s actions, and any story would’ve felt forced and tacked on. Â The entire game is focused on cooperating with your teammate. Â While the multiplayer portion is great in execution, it leaves the singleplayer to be completely broken; The left and right sticks on the same controllerÂ controls ibb & obb individually, making for a mindbendingly difficult attempt at going through any single level.
If you don’t have a friend to play with, or don’t care to play with a stranger over the internet, ibb & obb isn’t your type of game. Â It revolves multiplayer, with the gameplay based around the concept of gravity; The floor is the ceiling of the opposite plane, and if you enter a white doorway that flips your gravity, you’ll be delighted by the disorienting but unique feel of flopping upside down.
ibb & obb, the titular characters, have a few other tricks up their sleeve as well. Â Jumping on the head of the other character will give you a slight boost to reach higher areas. Â Special doorways only allow certain characters to pass through. Â Rubber platforms transfer kinetic energy, giving you the ability to pull of super jumps. Â These aren’t incredibly complex to understand, and are all used in creative ways throughout every level.
Communication plays a major role in the game, and you won’t get far without it. Â ibb & obb’s lives are tied to each other, so if one character dies at any point,Â bothÂ will be sent back to the checkpoint. Â Timing and puzzle solving are also on full display, to the point where a slight miscalculation can lead to your death, or where you might spend ten minutes trying to figure out a solution. Â These are the kind of mechanics that destroy friendships, but they also make for a hell of a co-op game.
Graphics & Sound
ibb & obb goes for a minimalist feel throughout. Â The characters, levels, backgrounds, puzzles – they all have a simplistic art style, and it adds to the nonchalant and relaxing feel of the game. Â Even with small emphasis placed on the look, though, the game is still gorgeous in its own right. Â The same could be said for the sound. Â It’s not ever-present and it won’t win any awards, but when it does decide to show, it’s more than welcome.
Though solid in concept, the gameplay does take a head-scratching turn after a while, and not for the way you might think. Â Though the entirety of the game is based on solving puzzles, the latter levels have an enormous focus on precision and perfectly timed jumps. Â This leads to an large amount of frustration when cooperatively playing with a friend, because the slightest screw up (which will inevitably happen, even if by accident) will usually end in death for both of you. Â The focus shifts away from finding a solution and veers off into pure platforming–which isn’t where ibb and obb is at its strongest.
Every level contains coins for you and a friend to collect, adding in a bit of replayability if you want to master every level.
ibb and obb has its flaws. Â Even though it’s designed as a gravity-based puzzle solver, the climax ends on a much more skill-based note, rather than one that requires your brain. Â But it also does exactly what it sets out to do–create an engaging cooperative experience that’s perfect for a pair of friends.