Ben Goes To Eurogamer Expo: Okabu
It’s been a day of firsts for me. My first expo attended as press, and my first visit to the offices of a developer. Crikey, I’ve been busy.
My day kicked off with a game not being shown at the expo! I started things off with a trip to the offices of HandCircus, developers of Okabu. There, studio head Simon Oliver and level designer Shane Bromham took me on an extensive tour of the world of Okabu. It turns out Okabu’s world is something quite special indeed.
First things first, let me say that Okabu is finished. Done. Ready to go. All that is left is the ironing out of release dates, and the setting in motion of various PR plans. Also, the game will have a demo at launch, Huzzah! Secondly? The game is quite possibly the most Nintendo-esque thing I’ve ever played on a Sony console, with bright, vibrant colours populating a stunningly designed world, and some seriously inventive level design. In one hour with Okabu, I was watering plants, defeating enemies in mobility scooters (yes, really), and genuinely having a wonderful time. The controls feel pitch perfect, with the little clouds speeding everywhere with the sort of floatiness that you’d expect from, well, clouds actually. The game isn’t afraid to let you experiment either, with some puzzles having multiple solutions tucked away within the levels. I found myself spreading an oil fire towards an enemy, whilst my co-op partner decided to guide a bull towards him, disposing of the foe handily. I played through two levels of Okabu, and was given a tour of one later level, which featured an entirely new set of skills, along with a new companion for you to experiment with.
The companion system in Okabu effectively amounts to swappable powers, with each companion riding atop of your cloud, somewhat reminiscent of Journey To The West. One could fire a plunger harpoon, whilst another could guide critters, such as the aforementioned bull. I also saw another, who could take control of some enemies, making for some cathartic payback. Nothing like firing off a couple of rockets into a baddie, giving them a great taste of their own medicine. This companion, called Rocky, also took control of a giant ball, battering around enemies every which way, which really was a joy to behold. The levels are designed to be finished in around 20 minutes each time, but there are little collectibles hidden around each of them, which is certainly going to expand the amount of time you spend in each world. The guys there also showed me each of the hub world, but I shan’t spoil them for some of our more sensitive readers.
Suffice to say, Okabu has quickly shot up my list, going from a game which I was mildly interested in, to a game which I can’t wait to sit down with and play to completion. It really is something special.