It’s not very often I play something unique, play something unlike any other or play a game that really makes me think about what’s cracking off. When I do encounter one of these games its a breath of fresh air and its a feeling I really enjoy experiencing in games. Unfortunately due to the way things are these experiences are few and far between, making them all the sweeter when they occur. OVIVO does slightly fit this bill, with no tutorials, no markers or guides it was a simplistic journey that I thoroughly enjoyed to its conclusion.
Firstly, I will say that OVIVO is very simple and it has only one button for you to use. It does, however, make full use of this one button and does vary the gameplay somewhat over its quite short campaign. You control what can only be described as a space hopper if you are not sure what a space hopper is its a toy from the 90’s that children, including me, bounced down the street on. You control this blob through a handful of levels trying to get to the finish and picking up as many collectables as you can. Sounds pretty standard so far right?
Where OVIVO makes its mark though are its visuals and its gravity-defying mechanics. Its visuals are amongst some of the most striking I have ever seen in a video game. They are completely black and white, but more on that later on. If you press the X button you shift the gravity and change the colour of your blob from black to white or vice versa. This really changes the gameplay a lot and sets up some delicate platforming challenges and gameplay occurrences. You have to use this system to your advantage and slide between the black and white portions of the environment to progress further through its levels.
The gameplay is very uncomplicated yet satisfying and unique. Scattered throughout these levels are your standard hazards, spikes, enemies and death-inducing drops. What makes this gameplay unique is the flow you can create when you get to grips with the game’s mechanics. For example, if you change the gravity mid-jump you flow straight into the next object, then if you press it again mid object you will fly out of it with a lot more force than normal. This can create a very nice flow to the levels and making it through some of the more difficult sections rewarding and more importantly, fun.
Littered throughout the game are little pips to collect, these are normally on the main path and need very little deviation to find. There are also symbols to find in each stage, 3 in each stage to be exact. These normally require a bit of more difficult platforming or are out of plain sight. These are also tied to the trophies in the game and finding all of these will net you the elusive platinum trophy at the end of the game. Like I said, its all very simple but the gameplay style sets it apart and it has a certain sereneness to it.
The art style is absolutely amazing. It’s like rolling and hopping through a piece of art. In fact, the whole game’s presentation reminds me of the intricate doodles I used to do on my exercise books at school with my black pens. At the end of each stage, the game pans out and shows you the whole level you have been navigating, it turns out to be a massive design that’s both beautiful and very well designed. They look like tattoos or ancient designs, containing vines, fish, trees and an all manner of shapes. It’s beautifully simplistic and I really like the whole presentation of this quirky little title.
Even the level select menu is like a massive tribal tattoo that fills out as you complete the game’s various stages. It definitely added to the game overall aesthetic, at the start I did not even know what it was. It just looked like an elaborate design on the screen, which I later on realized was a way of accessing all of the game’s levels. The games art style, gameplay mechanics and lack of any sort of tuition really resonated with me. I just started the game, played it and enjoyed it. It’s very strange, very different but I appreciated it a lot.
Music wise the game’s soundtrack really fits the style of the game. The music is very chilled, it melodically floats you through the game in a very serene way. Now that I think about it the whole experience is a chilled one, nothing too complicated, nothing too stressful and a game you can just relax and enjoy. The sound design and graphical design really work hand in hand to create a very unique experience like no other I have had recently.
I loved OVIVO’s unique gameplay and stunning art style. While being simple the gameplay is smooth and fulfilling, rewarding and fun. Some of the level designs are insane. As I said earlier, when the game pans out to show you the whole level, it reminded me of doodles I did as a kid. Some strange designs from the dark recesses of my mind that I etched onto my school books. The gameplay may be too simple for some but I really enjoyed its no-nonsense style and its lack of any sort of tutorial or guidance. It was lovely just to be left alone to discover this beautiful game, what my objectives were and how I go about achieving them.
*Code kindly provided by the publisher for review*