ibb and obb Review

August 4th, 2013 -

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During our trip to E3 in 2011, Chris and I stumbled across a very clever platformer. As we made our way through the Indiecade, we kept coming back to this cooperative puzzle platformer known as ibb and obb. After E3 we continued to follow the progress of this game, and we even got the distinct pleasure of interviewing Richard Boeser, the creator.

 

So, what is ibb and obb?

ibb and obb is a cooperative puzzle platformer developed by Sparpweed, coming to the PSN on Aug. 6 and later to the PC. The philosophy of this game is reminiscent of Portal 2‘s cooperative multiplayer. One player cannot progress until another player completes a specific action. The main gameplay mechanics consist of various portals in the level that reverse gravity and allow the player to run, jump, and attack enemies on the underside of the level. Players will have to split up – one on the top half of the level and one underneath, to solve platfroming puzzles in order to progress further.

Why should I care?

Games like this are rare. In most cases, multiplayer is used as a tool to increase re-playability. The exact opposite can be said for ibb and obb with the single player being added to increase re-playability. In this case, the game was originally designed for a multiplayer experience rather than single player. A design concept that is incredibly rare in the platformer genre.

ibb and obb - world 1-2

Pros:

Puzzle solving is very rewarding.

As you progress through the game, the puzzles get more and more complex, requiring more and more precision platforming skills. However, since a player can stand on top of another players head and effectively hitch a ride, the game offers a way for more advanced players to assist less experienced players. This allows the barrier for entry to be very low. An inexperienced platforming gamer can have just as much fun as a more experienced gamer, thanks to this feature.

Music:

Words cannot do it justice. Just listen.

Art Style:

The art style in this game is very simple, but in a very classy way. Sometimes over simplified visual styling can cheapen the value of a game. The visuals in ibb and obb do a great job of creating a relaxed environment, while hardly ever getting in the way of solving a puzzle or making a jump. The blend of pastel colors with subliminal visual aids like palm trees really give this game a relaxing vibe, which is great for keeping your cool when tackling a difficult puzzle.

ibb and obb - world 3-1

Cons:

Controls:

When platforming is one of your main game mechanics, its safe to assume that it will get compared to other platforming games. ibb and obb is not a multimillion dollar Nintendo powerhouse by any means. However, the controls at times felt a little loose. If you have ever played a platforming game and you missed the same jump that you attempted 5 different ways, you’ll know what I mean. The loose controls were never a game breaker, but it is worth noting.

Also, the inability to use the D pad had me initially concerned. I almost feel like the last paragraph could be negated by the ability to use the D pad instead of the analog stick. I understand that with single player you have little choice but to use the analog sticks to control both characters at the same time. When playing multiplayer though, this should be an option. Again, it never ruined the experience, but I felt that it could have been enhanced by having the option of controlling ibb or obb with the D pad.

Single Player:

This was originally slated to be a multiplayer only game. I can understand the concern for releasing a platformer without a single player mode, but it feels as if it was stapled on to a great idea. The single player mode is also incredibly difficult, which can be seen as a positive or a negative. Difficult platformers are great, and they definitely have a cult following. However, because the difficultly of the single player mode in ibb and obb comes from it being an afterthought rather than an enhanced version of the game… The single player mode ends up being more frustrating than challenging. In short, if this game only had single player mode, it wouldn’t be a blip on our radar.

Conclusion:

Despite its short comings, ibb and obb is a stellar platforming game worth much more than the mere $10 asking price. If you enjoy platforming games and/or co-op, you owe it to yourself to seize this rare opportunity to play a game that is specifically tailored for cooperative play. Definitely pick up ibb and obb on the PSN, and don’t forget to bring a friend.

Score:

4/5

Final Word:

It’s Worth Owning

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