For quite some time, Nintendo has had almost a monopoly on wholesome gaming. Franchises like Pokémon, Animal Crossing, and even Harvest Moon have long been synonymous with the platform. What if I told you though of a game recently released outside of the Nintendo ecosystem that combines the best of all of these titles in one bright and beautiful package?
The team at Glumberland spent four long years developing its creature-focused farming sim, Ooblets. Even early on, this title intensely piqued my interests and quite frankly, sounded a little too good to be true. It promised to combine the creature-collecting and battling of Pokemon, the relaxing farming of Harvest Moon, and the town management and house customization of Animal Crossing.
Balancing all of these elements in one game was surely going to be a massive challenge and I genuinely wasn't sure how the team was going to pull it off. After spending about 12 hours with Ooblets (now in early access) so far, I can confidently say the folks at Glumberland nailed this rather impressive feat.
Ooblets has a bright and beautiful world to explore
One of the best parts in Ooblets is simply exploring the fascinating world and its cheery inhabitants. As soon as you boot up the game, you're greeted by a wall of gorgeous pastel colors and shapes. I immediately felt cozy and welcomed upon my arrival in this new land. The quaint center of Badge Town is filled with lively and quirky little creatures called Ooblets. The hustle and bustle of these wild characters are both captivating and contagious.
Unlike other games in the sim genre, the team at Glumberland managed to craft a hypnotizing environment with loveable residents that genuinely feels alive. Even after playing for several days now, I still find myself pausing to soak up the beautiful scenery.
Even the battles are wholesome
You know a game is truly wholesome when even the creature-battling mechanic is light-hearted and adorable. Ooblets replaces the traditional turn-based combat of the Pokémon franchise with a ridiculous deck-building dance battle system that pulls inspiration from games like Slay the Spire. Assemble your crew of zany Ooblets and face off against up to six opposing creatures in an outrageous back and forth that focuses on building hype and bustin' moves.
Each Ooblet has its own pool of unique special dance moves that are unlocked by leveling up. This dynamic gives each Ooblet a special role in your squad and encourages plenty of experimentation. While not nearly as challenging as other turn-based RPGs, it's still super satisfying to watch strange vegetable creatures breakdance battle.
Ooblets: Where friendship is encouraged
It's rare that I feel compelled to interact with most NPCs in a video game, but with Ooblets I went out of my way every in-game day to interact with the hilarious characters of Badge Town. An addicting sticker system encourages interactions by rewarding you with consumable and cosmetic items achieved through building up your friendship rating with specific individuals. As soon as I discovered that Ooblets accessories were tied to some of these unlocks, it was all over for me.
In addition to this fun friendship mechanic, the overall dialogue of the game is legitimately funny and relatable. It feels like the writers spent a great deal of time pulling from specific individuals in their own lives as each of these characters feel distinctly unique — even if that means they're sort of a jerk. But for every Bazil in the game, there's a cheery and fun Taffy eager to brighten up your day.
We need games like Ooblets right now
In a time when the world around us is burning, we need games like Ooblets. The soothing gameplay loop offers an almost meditative experience that's easy to get lost in for hours. It serves as a beautiful distraction from some of the dark realities we're facing every day. If you're a fan of Pokemon, Animal Crossing, Harvest Moon, or even Viva Pinata, Ooblets is a game you should be playing right now.
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