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Ibb and Obb review: great with friends, not so great without

Ibb and Obb is an interesting and clever puzzle-platformer; it also sucks if you want to play it by yourself. Ibb and Obb was designed with cooperative play in mind and, while you can play the entire game solo, doing so will leave you bald after you rip out every strand of hair due to frustration--it's not too difficult controlling both characters at the start, but the difficulty ramps up real fast and, unless you're a masochist or have magical fingers, I don't recommend trying to play Ibb and Obb solo for more than just the first few levels.

So, yeah, Ibb and Obb may suck at single-player, but it is great at co-op and demands both players work together in a way that makes solving puzzles rewarding for both people involved. Both characters are always on screen--guess their names--and can maneuver between two parts of the world where gravity is reversed. Puzzles start off simple--one player jumps on the other and then both jump so one player can reach high places--and then get complicated soon after--you'll find yourself dropping from great heights, propelling each other through portals, interacting with the environment and performing acts of precision that may just leave you saying, "I can't believe we just did that." There's a great feeling that comes with figuring out a puzzle and executing the solution--Ibb and Obb reminds me a lot of Portal 2's co-op, which is a good thing because Portal 2's co-op was great--but the requirement of precision is also somewhat problematic; playing with strangers is hit or miss in terms of cooperation.

No, this screenshot is not upside down.

If you know a friend is buying Ibb and Obb or you have local friends to play with, the game is a great time and lots of fun, even when you mess up; however, if you're only means of cooperative play involves playing with strangers online (even those with candy), you may find yourself almost as frustrated as those brave few who only play Ibb and Obb solo. There are two reasons why playing with strangers is problematic (and this may not be an issue on PC when it eventually comes out): 1. Many players aren't using headsets; 2. Some players are just dicking around to be dicks. I did have some good experiences playing with strangers, but I had more bad experiences and, hopefully, this was just bad luck on my side and isn't indicative of the community as a whole.

Ibb and Obb is a great game with charming, colorful visuals that, while simple, look great on the big screen, mixed with lovely, mellow music that may be all that keeps you calm in frustrating situations, but the focus on cooperative play and a single-player that will probably be unplayable for most players, it's hard to fully recommend Ibb and Obb. If you have friends you know you'll be able to play with or don't mind the treacherous waters that are random online pickings, I think you'll have fun with Ibb and Obb; if not, sadly, I'd have to recommend staying far away from Ibb and Obb. All that said, there is a demo, so you can try out a little Ibb and Obb for yourself.

*Ibb and Obb is available now on PSN in North and South American and will be available next week in European markets for $9.99/€9.99. (PC release date still TBD.)

Ibb and Obb (PSN)


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