In my many, many years as a gamer, I have been a great number of things from a racing driver to a treasure hunter and from a Premier League footballer to a gangster. Never ever, have I ever had to be a cloud, let alone two.
The story of Okabu is a simple one. Two cloud whales, Kumulo and Nimbe, have fallen from the sky due to it being full of pollution. Upon landing on the earth, they happen upon a set of villages that could hold the key to ridding the planet of the evil pollution; which in this game is personified as The Doza, a race of people who use machines to do all their work.
The gameplay isn’t the most taxing of affairs. It mainly consists of doing a bunch of tasks for the villagers; such as watering plants, clearing pathways and fetching items. The villagers will then reward you by opening up the path to the next village. Rinse and repeat this a few time, throw in a few boss type battles and you pretty much get the idea. In order to complete the tasks, the cloud whales will need to absorb water, suck in and spit out acorns or ferry villagers about, some of which will help you with your tasks in return. The game does a pretty decent job of instructing you and making you familiar with the controls.
What does stand out here is the way in which the co-op works. When playing one player, you can switch between Kumulo and Nimbe, with the AI controlling the free character. However, working as a team with someone else will really get the job done, as it means that one of you can collect and spray water while the other can store acorns and use them to break the Dozabots. The game can be played at a nice leisurely pace, and the action doesn’t get so thick and fast that it causes either cloud whale to drop off the screen.
I got an incredibly strong feeling that they had children in mind when they made this game. From the bright and colourful art style, to the mostly carefree gameplay and simplistic controls; this game would be perfect for adult and child to bond over. This may be Okabu’s greatest strength, but is also its biggest weakness. The game just isn’t challenging enough for the average, child free gamer. There isn’t anything here that would reward them for long term gameplay. I found myself sitting there, not really caring about what I was meant to be doing. All the villages blended in to one.
Okabu will certainly hold some appeal to those of you who have young children; it would be a great way to spend a Sunday afternoon with them. However, for everyone else, the game just doesn’t do enough to keep you hooked, and even a pretty smile and a lovely tune cannot avert your attention away from that fact.
Review copy provided by publisher.