The PlayStation Network has always been a breeding ground for exciting new indie ventures. Ibb & Obb jumps into the fray with its unique blend of platforming and intense cooperative puzzles. It may resemble an innocent walk through a kaleidoscope of a world, but it will test your skill and patience at every turn. That’s why, like in life, you need a trustworthy partner by your side to enjoy it fully.
Ibb & Obb places one player in control of a pink blob with legs and large, expressive eyes. The other player’s avatar is a shorter green character that resembles a “Dots” candy. The difference in height is deliberate, as it forces both players to depend on each other in more varied ways. As a rule, each level is traversed with both players performing their platforming jumps, navigating sections independently of each other. However, there are several sequences where the only way to proceed is by utilizing the other character’s height. Both characters will need to hop on top of the other and bridge gaps or clear taller areas, which in itself lends an interesting lilt to the game.
Where Ibb & Obb truly fascinates, however, is its usage of unexpected mechanics. You aren’t relegated to the top half of this strange and colorful world. No, in fact, the world you see on the surface is a flip side to the world below. Everything below is mirrored from the color palette to gravity, for an interesting effect on what could otherwise stagnate as traditional platforming. Two players will alternate between both worlds, utilizing special portals that warp between the “real” and “mirror worlds.” And while this offers some interesting visual and mechanical effects, it also creates some challenges.
The reverse world is explored in a different manner, finding you jumping through negative space and landing in circular zones to complete these segments. Precision is key here, and for the player traversing the world beneath it, can become frustrating very quickly if the jumps aren’t made at the exact moment necessary, leading to many swift deaths. In a game where co-op is key, those solo moments can be trying, so it’s infinitely more rewarding when playing with someone you can vent your frustrations and celebrate your achievements with.
Enemies are defeated in tandem as well, with one player on the warpath and the other collecting prized diamonds left by the fallen baddies. Your partner can advance safely once you’ve torn through the path of monsters in their way, and the waltz, the give-and-take continues. While there are some frustrations, Ibb & Obb flows like two halves of a gorgeous whole. Cooperative play where the spotlight is truly on accomplishing something great together rather than seeing how many corpses you can pile up in the process is a dying breed, so it’s nice to see it flourishing here in such an unassuming place.
Ibb & Obb is an excellent puzzle platformer best enjoyed with a good friend and an open mind. Lightbulb moments where you finally devise an ingenious solution or conquer a frustrating segment are what make the game truly great, coupled with soothing visuals and a welcoming atmosphere. Grab a buddy, hop online, and pick it up. You don’t see games like this often enough anymore.
Platform: PS3 (PSN)