Im satisfied to say it was all worth it after years of thought.
Ooblets is one of the games I followed from its release date from 2016 to 2017, so it suffices to say this was a highly anticipated game for me. Stardew Valley meets Pokemon is a hell of a logline, and the combination of those gameplay elements compared to the games cute and colorful art style basically made it feel like it was specifically developed for me. This month, the game was officially released on 1.0.
You''ve got all of these things you would expect from this game such as farming, fishing, foraging, and cooking, as well as some new twists. Ooblets still feels a bit different in this regard. I am truly Ooblets'' target demographic, and I am pleased to say that it is an absolute pleasure. Lets talk about it.
Ooblets (Epic Games Store [reviewed], Nintendo Switch, Xbox One, Xbox Series X/S) Developer: Glumberland Publishers: Glumberland Released: September 1, 2022 MSRP: $29.99
Ooblets'' premise is that it takes place in a magical land called Oob, which is inhabited with ancient creatures called you guessed it. After the game, the player leaves Badgetown, claiming that the big city was for the countryside where Ooblets run free. Naturally, they take up residence in a run-down old shed and begin their new life as the local farmer.
Badgetown is a unique and relaxed community, complete with a coffee shop, a barber shop, a clothing store, a seed store, a town hall, and more. The residents are a ton of fun and have some of the most distinctive individuals Ive ever encountered in a community sim since Animal Crossing days. Some of their dialogue was so divisive and cleverly written that it genuinely made me laugh out loud, which made the friendship part of the gameplay loop something to look forward to.
All dialogue, item names, and descriptions are written in a sort of way that feels similar to the 2010s sO rAnDoM XD humor, but is actually written in an way that feels fresh and funny rather than cringing and grating. I discovered it interesting when I was playing, but I discovered it was quite a delight to see that it works.
However, let''s be real, the ultimate draw to Ooblets is the promise of Pokemon-style contests, so don''t worry. Soon after their arrival in Badgetown, the player is tasked with selecting one of the four local Ooblets clubhouses to join based on their values (I joined the cute club Frunbuns, naturally), and by extension choosing a starter Ooblet. After planting those seeds and then growing them on the farm, players then have their very own Oo
It is a great idea to mention that your Ooblets are standing along alongside you everywhere, and there is no shortage of cute shoes to them up with. Finally, a game that understands my needs.
As for the dance battles themselves, those were yet another pleasant surprise. Rather than a typical fight when your pets are beating the crap out of each other, all of the fight in Ooblets takes the form of dance battles, an idea that made me absolutely giddy the first time I saw it. Each Ooblet has their own special cards added to your deck as they level up.
In the Dance Barn or in the other areas, you may fight other Oobs, or the most common technique of battling is with wild Ooblets that run around different environments. Gotta catch em all, right? Each type of wild Ooblet requires a different item to deal with, from foragables to processed beverages.
Each match has a score between twenty and forty, and the first team to achieve that number of points wins. Cards are also helpful in play, including Hype, which allows you to earn more points; Fluster, which allows you to earn less points; Trepidation, which adds useless cards to your opponent''s deck; and so on. If youve ever played a card-based game from Hearthstone to Slay the Spire, you''ll be right at home.
With a few exceptions, the battles are straightforward, and a lot of times a win or loss may come down to the luck of the cards. I did not enjoy the use of RNG, if I didnt win every battle with no pushback.
The battles have been a bit rocky, since there wasn''t a way to look at or modify my entire deck, which would have been a nice touch. Sometimes the animations for moves may be a bit slow (which is also a problem the more recent Pokemon games have had).
The Dance Barn battles are unlocked once you complete the dance Barn in town. It''s a tournament-style structure where you go up against other towns in 1v1, 2v2, and 3v3. I tried to do them as often as I needed, and let me tell you, I only won one or two of the tournaments ever.
I''ve talked about my gaming abilities, just because some of the Ooblets have stun abilities. This isn''t the case when you''re fighting with a team of four or six, but if youre struggled with an opponent who can stun you, it''s literally game over they stun you the whole match.
There are some special game modes in the Dance Barn, such as one where players can only use their Ooblets special cards, which is kind of a problem when you discover that the one Ooblet you selected doesnt have a way to earn points without the point-earning cards from the deck. I had a lot of fun dealing with the battles, and would often go out of my way to do them just for fun.
Stardew Valley is a series of games that blend the best of you in giving you just enough to do without having to be bored, while also not overwhelming you with too much. One thing I didnt particularly like about Ooblets was that it became a bit of a grind, requiring players to collect a ton of different items to progress the story and complete tasks.
There are seven different entities that can give you tasks to do, not including the smaller errands imposed by your neighbors around the country. In the early game, I was grateful to have clear goals to guide me on, but after a while, it was difficult to keep track of how many things I was trying to accomplish simultaneously.
You may play at your own pace, but for someone like me who loves checking things off lists, I couldn''t be able to stop myself from going as hard as possible to manage all of my tasks effectively. Despite the fact that part of me felt like the game was insecure and I wouldnt find enough to do it on myself.
A lot of people are confused about how many tasks you may perform at the same time, and as someone who struggles with multitasking, I found this issue quite a bit overwhelming at times. As a result of the fact that everything in the game has a different spelling, little springs you use to build things are called nurnies, for example, so I would usually have to keep checking what it is in the first place.
Although I like the foraging appeal of these types of games, one thing of Ooblets is stumbling around and collecting stuff. If that isnt your thing, you may become a little frustrated, but I won''t lie.
A few hours into the game, you encounter a local Gimble who buys a hot air balloon. After repairing it with a whole slew of supplies, she may take the player to various areas of Oob, where they will gather additional supplies, participate in dance battles, and complete the main story quest. Each region has its own unique foragables, seeds you can buy and grow on your farm, and of course, Ooblets to collect.
I learned of each area''s fun theming and always wanted to see a new place as well as what other surprises it had to throw away. I don''t want to give away much, but the area called Port Forward was a real standout for me as a fan of minigames.
The main story of the game was really pleasantly surprised until the conclusion. Most farm sims stories are pretty bare bones, but Ooblets discovers you with a mystery from the start, and seeing that connection in the games last few hours is a pleasure.
Another element that gets added later is your very own store, where you may sell items that you collect, build, or cook, and it is easy to find the best way to earn money in the game. Of course, once I reached this point, I realized that there was a little too much going on in the game, but it was no deal-breaker.
Ooblets had met my expectations over the course of those six months of waiting. It''s an absolute must-play, and it''s likely to be a game that sticks around for years to come.
I used the PC for this review, and I''m looking forward to discovering some mods that the community will cook up. In fact, after I go back and drive this save file into the ground, I intend on purchasing the Switch version to replay all over again, like I did with Stardew. Gotta support the indie games you love, right?
[This review is based on a retailer''s retail selling experience.]