Cool-Ops is a segment of GameGulp where we take a co-op/multiplayer game, play it, and give our opinions the way these games were meant to be reviewed: together.
In this first-ever Cool-Ops piece we will be taking a look at ibb and obb: an indie co-op platformer released back in May 2014 on the PlayStation 3 and PC by Sparpweed Games.
The game revolves around two creatures, ibb and obb, as they work together to solve puzzles and make their way to the far right of the screen (as most 2D games do) in hopes that they may find some deeper meaning to life and maybe arms as well.
No story, no deep character development, just
good, clean (well, mostly clean), cooperative gameplay. So bear with us as we
veer back and forth between what ibbed and obbed us during our time with the
Carlos Zotomayor: So, what did you think about the game after we made it through hell together? Haha!
Stef Atega: I liked it! It's a simple game really. Well, it started out simple at least... Ultimately, I think ibb and obb is a true test of friendship.
Zoto: Ditto on the simple at the start part. The game may LOOK simple and cutesy but as more and more stuff gets added, like portals and stuff, the game can really task a friendship.
Stef: Uhuh! The higher the level, the more complicated it gets. This isn't a game where one does all the work while the other just sits back and relaxes like a lazy freeloader; you both have to work together to get to the next platform or level. I mean, there are puzzles specific for ibb and challenges meant only for obb.
Zoto: Though there are
moments where one character seems to have more stuff to do, he (Or is it she? I
dunno) usually has to rely on the other person to do something as well. I like
how the developers managed to strike a balance between giving both ibb and obb
the proper amount of tasks so it does feel like a true cooperative experience rather
than just a "drag-my-friend-to-get-the-achievements" game.
Stef:Â True! And those tasks aren't easy at all. Like you said, more and more stuff gets added so it becomes increasingly frustrating as you move forward. First, you'll come across just little black creatures that serve as the enemies in the game. Then, you'll encounter moving platforms, bubbles that will take you across and more black creatures that fly and bounce. So yeah, don't let the cute and colorful graphics fool you.
Zoto: They chase after you too eventually, those little black buggers! I think I cried inside whenever a new mechanic got introduced over the fifteen different levels (not counting the secret levels) because then it would just add another layer for me to think on. And it stank when we both found out that the solutions to puzzles were a lot simpler than we thought!
Stef: Yeah, overthinking
won't work in this game because it will just make you feel dumb when you
discover the solution. It's not your typical platformer too. There are two
"worlds", should you say? We have the surface world and the upside-down world,
which really only adds to the complexity of the puzzles.
Zoto: I think we bashed
our heads against the wall trying to figure out the solutions to the easiest
puzzles in a game based on duality. But what really captured me though was the
experience of just playing the game! The soundtrack, graphics, and overall
aesthetic of the game all feel really light!
Stef: Yep, the game was well illustrated with not too many complex designs. They just used basic shapes, gradients and geometric characters, all of which were light on the eyes and contribute to the bubbly feel of the game. Every level features a different design and color palette, too. There's even one level where it's just darkness, with "light" only emanating from the two players (that was a hard one, by the way!).
Oh hey Zoto, since you mentioned the soundtrack, and you're obsessed with game soundtracks in general, what did you like about the sounds in this one?
Zoto: I loved it! Okay,
maybe I have a soft spot for indie game soundtracks but ibb and obb's music was a lot like its art style: very minimalist
with simple strings, beats, and wind instruments that contribute to the overall
experience rather than drown you out with the sound. This is a game that
requires you to think after all, and going all-out is just not the way to go
when making something like this.
Stef:Â I agree,Â it's a truly unique experience when you play it the first time. It will either strengthen or weaken the bond you have with the other player, HAHA! But I wouldn't want to play the game again unless I'm playing with another friend, discovering the secret levels, or getting all of the achievements.
Yeah, we forgot
to mention you have to collect crystals in this game and there a total number
of crystals you can get in each level. Sooooo, completionist gamers would
probably replay it just for this reason alone. Would you though?
Zoto: Not for at least a month haha! I would recommend playing ibb and obb with a friend, no doubt, but for a maximum of one hour at most. Our play experience was a lot like the game progression, really: light-hearted at first but then by our second hour we started getting annoyed with how the platforming worked and how dumb this game made us feel haha It can be tough and taxing, but with a good friend and a lot of patience, I think we could say that ibb and obb is a good way to spend time with someone else, eh Stef?
Stef: It is! ....or we could just find another co-op game that wouldn't make us feel dumb. (Hello FPS!) But I agree, ibb and obb was an interesting experience. I'll probably use it to find out who my true friends are.
Zoto: Thanks for being a true friend then, ibb.
Stef: Right back at 'ya, obb.