Grab a buddy and put on your thinking caps!
It was Portal 2 that first introduced me to the wonderful world of Co-Op puzzle gaming, and I wondered why there weren’t many more like it at the time.
Not to say that I looked very hard for others of the same genre, but it felt like such a good idea that was underrepresented in the industry.
So when I booted up ibb and obb for the first time with our resident “Last of Us Fanatic”, Drew, I was pleasantly surprised by how clever and expertly crafted it was.
MSRP: $11.99 for one copy, $13.99 for two
Platforms: PC, PS3
Multiplayer: Online Co-Op, leaderboard tracking.
Demo Availability: N/A
Length: Wildly depending on completion rate.
ibb and obb are two walking blobs that look like they’re straight out of Pac-Man. With a straightforward color palette and strong color saturation the little characters and the levels they inhabit all looked quite pleasant.
The jumping and moving about felt tight, as every death from a mistimed jump was due to my own mistake- or perhaps my partner pushing me in the wrong direction and I couldn’t bring myself to blame the game for them.
And die you and your partner will, as a single touch from an enemy will send both players back to the nearest checkpoint. Luckily, the checkpoints are very generous and I never felt like I had lost too much progress after having to restart.
Given that there is only a jump button to speak of, one would imagine the puzzle elements would lack depth, but they would be mistaken, as it’s incredibly deep and cleverly designed.
As there are always the normal and inverse plane in play, the players must take advantage of switching from one plane to another to solve its devious puzzles.
Many of the challenges revolved around the concept of momentum, as it must be transferred to one player to the next with expert precision.
Think of the portal puzzles in Co-Op involving infinite fall momentum to launch your partner like a speeding bullet and you get the idea.
Outside of completing puzzles to continue on are points to collect, which are spawned by destroying enemy creatures by touching them in the plane they’re vulnerable in, and hidden ones in incredibly difficult secret challenges or tucked away in a corner of the level themselves.
The two players have the option to enable voice chat within the game or try to communicate using a crude trail of smoke that can be controlled by using the right analog stick.
Obviously, I recommend the use of voice chat, unlessthe idea of yelling “WHY ISNT HE DOING WHAT I WANT HIM TO ARRRGGG“ every few minutes sounds tantalizing to you.
Given that this is a Co-Op only experience with no single player content to speak of, the online multiplayer is of utmost importance.
While its implementation is sound, the way to search for a partner is limited, ands I found myself finishing previously completed levels for the sake of my partner repeatedly as I couldn’t search for one that was on the same stage as I was.
When it’s all said and done, ibb and obb is a great puzzle game, built from the ground up with Co-Op in mind, and it’s an absolute blast to grab a like-minded buddy to tackle this challenging and highly rewarding game.
Fun Tidbit: Steam is offering ibb and obb in two packages, in one game package and the other in a two-game package for only two dollars more. I highly recommend the two-game package so you can gift it to the friend you want to play with!
Review copy of game provided by publisher.