If you have somebody to play with, ibb & obb should definitely be part of your digital collection.
Why is it that competitive games are much more popular than cooperative games? Maybe competition is part of human nature and cooperating with other people isn’t as fulfilling as relying on no one but yourself. But puzzle platformer ibb & obb proves that this assumption isn’t necessarily true. In ibb & obb, finding the solution to a convoluted puzzle with a friend is eminently satisfying and that’s a sort of excitement that competitive games will never be able to offer.
For the uninitiated, ibb & obb is a cooperative puzzle platformer where two players assume the role of the titular characters and work together to solve a variety of puzzles. Although the core aspects of the game might seem simplistic at first, one particular part of ibb & obb will catch your attention as soon as you start playing this platformer: its unique world. In the world of ibb & obb gravity goes both up and down and interestingly, both characters can go to any side of the world they prefer and doing something in a section of the world has repercussions in the other section and vice versa. For instance, jumping on top of the white silhouette of an enemy will destroy the foe on the other side and when the monster dies, it’ll launch gems into the air. There are also jumping pads and when you fall on top of those pads, the character on the other end will be propelled into the air, something that’s useful to reach areas previously inaccessible.
The game’s core mechanics are remarkably simple, since you can only jump and use the right stick to move a cursor around to aid a clueless teammate. But while this might suggest that the game’s simplistic, some additional mechanics add depth, including gravity, the ability to gain momentum, bubbles and portals that let you switch between the two worlds. So solving most of the puzzles not only requires working close with a teammate, but also familiarizing yourself with the different mechanics.
By the end of the game, not only will you be making use of different mechanics, but also finding new ways to cooperate with your friend: you’ll need to distract enemies so that your buddy can kill them, you can give your friend a piggyback ride or a boost to reach high ledges, you need to jump and then land on special platforms so that the player at the other end of the platform is propelled to the sky and so on.
At this point, the cooperative nature of the game becomes apparent. Naturally, there’s no way to play ibb & obb by yourself and to mitigate this, the game offers two ways of playing: good old-fashioned local coop or online coop. Although the former is self-explanatory, the latter lets you invite someone on your friend’s list or a random person who’s also playing the game. It’s worth pointing out that since playing with somebody else is such an essential part of the experience, the developers are offering the handy Best Friends Forever Double Pack at a great price (the Double Pack costs $13.99 and the single pack $11.99.)
Since cooperating is paramount in this game, ibb & obb offers different ways in which you can communicate with your coop buddy. First, there’s voice chat. Although I didn’t use this feature extensively, I can say that the voice chat functionality works remarkably well and it’s free of hiccups or audio problems. The other alternative is more rudimentary, but that doesn’t make it less effective: you can use the right analog stick to draw colored lines on the screen and suggest possible solutions. Although I highly recommend the use of voice chat if you’re playing online, moving the cursor around is a remarkably functional tactic as well.
Still, even when the game was out, I couldn’t find other players to play with and while I haven’t had a chance to use this feature extensively, it may be a good idea to have a friend to play this game instead of relying on complete strangers. Again, I’ve only checked this a couple of times, so I don’t know if deserted servers is a trend that will continue for a while or if I couldn’t find somebody to play with due to bad luck. Nevertheless, it’s great to hear that there’s a local multiplayer mode, so as long as you have somebody to play with and two controllers, you’re good to go.
Something I found surprising about ibb & obb is that the game doesn’t have any tutorials and manages to explain all the complex mechanics through trial-and-error. In fact, the game doesn’t have any text (with the exception of menus, of course) and everything the game communicates, it does in an implicit, yet remarkably effective way. Despite the lack of text, the game does a wonderful job of explaining its mechanics. Granted, you’ll learn most of them through trial-and-error, but that’s a concession that needed to be made in order to avoid conventional tutorials.
Ibb & obb is an exciting puzzle platformer that proves that cooperative games are alive and kicking. Not only does the game inject the genre with excitement, it does so in unconventional ways (fresh mechanics, lack of tutorials, entertaining puzzles, pleasant delightful aesthetics and more.) If you have somebody to play with, ibb & obb should definitely be part of your digital collection.