I have to start with the confession that I’m not the biggest platformer fan. For some reason, the coordination of timing jumps, along with dealing with the frustration of constantly missing those jumps, has never been for me. My least favorite levels in Mario were always the levels that involving perfectly executed jumps to tiny platforms where missing resulted in death. More than one dent in my controllers came from those worlds. That said, I still like giving platformers a try because more than one has surprised me into really loving it. Contra, and more recently Ragnar, for example. Oirbo just made me want to throw a controller, but there’s still plenty of good stuff here.
First and foremost, this game is absolutely stunning. Everything is clearly hand drawn and there’s so much detail. From your little dude, to the enemies, to the killer backgrounds Imagination Overflow really outdid themselves on the art. I especially appreciated how everything always seemed to be in motion of some sort, which makes the entire scene feel even more alive. Your Dude (I never caught a name for the little robot character you play as, so I’m just going to call him Dude) sways even at rest, items you can interact with move or pulsate, and even the background is constantly doing things. It’s all so cool and really great to look at. The sound and music of the are also absolutely top notch. I found myself humming the game music even after I quit playing, and commented during my playthrough that the sound effects are all so dang cool.
The gameplay itself is a bit challenging at first because there’s no written tutorial or tips in game at all. I later learned this is an intentional effort by the developers to not have a single line of human text to read. Overall, I applaud the effort and idea. Doing that does make the game more accessible to those with reading issues or just makes it so there’s no restriction based on different languages. The flip side is it makes it really tough to figure out how to start or what some of the little glyphs in the game trying to explain functions actually mean. Eventually, I think I figured most of it out though.
This is where things kinda fell off the rails for me though- actually playing the game. I’m sure it’s somewhat by design, but every jump feels like you’re just barely gonna make it, and early on that’s exactly what happened. Then about 10 minutes in I hit my first real wall that was incredibly challenging for me to figure out. I eventually did, but I did require forgetting about physics and inertia, and change direction midway through a jump. It only took another few minutes before I hit another wall that I never recovered from. If you want some entertainment of listening to me get mad, the recording is below. Have fun.
In the end, I can say that Oirbo is a beautiful and challenging game. If you really like platform games, you’re probably going to love this. I didn’t finish the demo, so I don’t know how much more is there, let alone how long the actual game will be, but there’s definitely enough meat there to try out now. If you’re not a platformer fan, I still think it’s worth trying just to appreciate the art, but be forewarned that it’s tough!
2 chirps out of 5, for me. But that might just be my ego smarting over sucking so bad at it. Check it out on Steam!