Ooblets is an early access game developed and published by the husband-and-wife founders of Glumberland, a small indie studio just including the two. You may recall the game from their move to be exclusive to the Epic Games Store last year at the height of the exclusivity controversy, followed by mountains of hateful and downright disgusting comments from all over the internet.
Ooblets is a game with an obviously childish art style and tone, which can be annoying for some, and very cute for others. Personally, I was in the former camp. I feel like the dialog as well as the artsy soundtrack was too hypercute for me to fully enjoy. It made farming, as well as quests, seem like they did not have much substance behind the style itself.
The general gameplay loop is broken into two main pieces. Firstly, the player farms certain materials to engage in dance battles to obtain more Ooblets. Then, the player completes quests to gain wishes in order to increase the variety of Ooblets as well as further the storyline.
The main issue I have with this gameplay loop is that players have less incentive to farm how they wish in order to gain gummies, the game’s currency. The pricing for seeds and the resale value of the finished product is too close to anything other than large scale production to be profitable.
The selection of Ooblets is vast and adorable. However, some adjustments could be made to benefit the game. When the player engages in dance battles, the amount of Ooblets, friendly and otherwise, should be visible before engaging in said battle. Another issue that arises with dance battles is that most Ooblets require a certain material in order to engage in a dance battle, so if you don’t have the required materials you’re unable to get them. This can somewhat dampen the pace of the game, including slowing down the farming, questlines, and Ooblet acquisition.
Questlines are silly and cute, but most feel the same, at least early on. Collect a certain amount of a specific material, deposit it, and move on to the next quest. Most of these require farming, which is a good incentivize players to go through all of the gameplay presented.
Farming and Dancing
Personally, I enjoyed farming and dance battles the most. Farming is in sync with the energy mechanic and feels like it has a good pace. Dance battles use a randomly selected number of cards from a deck to determine your moves on your turn with a set number of beats.
There you must carefully choose what move you want to play based on the amount of buffs/debuffs you have on the number of beats it will cost you. The winner of dance battles is determined based on who has the most points by the final round or who can reach the maximum point count before then.
Ooblets also have “special” moves that are unique to each ooblet and can only be used by them — unless stolen by another ooblet. The system feels responsive and satisfying to play, and it was what I enjoyed the most of Ooblets.
I do like the variety of ways to spend your time in the land of Oob, fishing, recycling, farming, dancing, buying, selling, questing and more. The creators really nailed the way to use the energy bar, limiting the amount of things you can do in one day, as it really sets the pace for gameplay.
You can eat, or take naps to regain energy, which is expended engaging in certain activities. Another aspect to time management is the day/night cycle, meaning that no matter how much food, or however many naps, you still have a limit on what you can do before needing to sleep and end the day.
After playing for about a week, it is obvious that Glumberland has put their heart and soul into this game. Everything has a distinct charm and design to it. Although I find the cutesy style and repetitive dialog overbearing, I can still confidently say that this game is unique. It combines ideas from a lot of different games, notably Pokemon and Stardew Valley.
This is a development team of two people. The fact that they were able to put this project together and are planning to add more content in the future is astounding to me. Bravo to Glumberland, even though I do not personally enjoy some of the design, I know the game has creative elements that can appeal to everyone.
This earns a 6.5/10 for me, though being early access the game has much room for improvement to raise it. If you like the adorable art style, or the farming and battle mechanics appeal to you, I’m sure you will like it even more.