In Okabu, recently released exclusively on the PlayStation Network by Hand Circus, you play as Kumulo and Nimbe, two Cloud Whales from an ancient civilization working with the peaceful Yorubo tribe and trying to save a colorful world that they love from the evil Doza and their pollution-loving machines. It will be your job as either Cloud Whale to help the friendly local Yorubo by watering their crops, putting out burning fires and short circuiting the Doza’s dirty mechanical minions to help them restore peace and cleanliness to their beloved land.
Yes, Okabu is a game about global warming, pollution and keeping the environment as clean and free of pollution as you possibly can. The “green” overtones are present in the game, but it never really felt like it was being forced on me during my time with the game. If you are in to burning automobile tires in your backyard, tossing plastic 6-pack rings in to the ocean or throwing your plastic Coke bottles out of the window while driving down the road, then this game is definitely not for you. If you are in to keeping the earth clean and saving the environment, then this cute little game will win the little ones over and quite possibly, you.
How does a Cloud Whale go about helping the Yorubo in these matters you might ask? Well, you are a Cloud Whale first and foremost and what do Cloud Whales do best? Float graciously above the land and absorb water, silly! Kumulo and Nimbe will absorb water from rivers, lakes and ponds and make it rain down on mechanical foes causing malfunction or help water the drought-ridden crops the Yorubo rely on. Not only can you absorb water, but you can also inhale nuts from trees to use as projectiles and soak up oil to aid in leading a fire to some explosive barrels. Not that soaking up oil and laying it back down on the ground to make a trail of fire is very “green”, but I let it go once I started playing with some of the fun things you can do with it.
You won’t have to only rely on Kumulo and Nimbe to handle all of the work. Throughout the game a few of the local Yorubo tribe will hop on the backs of the Cloud Whales and lend their specific talents to help with the many puzzles you will encounter in the game. For example, Captain Monkfish uses his trusty plunger to harpoon and pull down drawbridges and yank open gates, while Picolo uses his charming and hypnotic rhythms to entrance a variety of creatures and persuading them to perform all manner of tasks.
Okabu is very colorful and vibrant, and all of the animations are silky smooth. The controls are easily picked up in no time and I found it very relaxing to be floating along as a Cloud Whale. The music is upbeat and catchy and it’s quite possible you’ll start singing/humming along if you’re not careful. The thing that worries me the most about Okabu is that the first half of the game is extremely easy. While the controls and animations are smooth, a trained chimpanzee could probably accomplish the tasks you are asked to complete in the first few levels. With that being said, the further I journeyed into the game, the more difficult the puzzles became and that made me feel a little bit better about giving Okabu a halfway decent review.
Okabu is easily one of the most colorful and upbeat games I’ve played this year. It’s innovative and fun, yet never feels too much like the game is preaching to you to go “green” and save the future of the earth. While ideally made to be a 2 player co-op adventure, I found myself having fun switching back and forth between Kumulo and Nimbe and didn’t get bored in doing so. Those looking for a good family game to play together on the PlayStation Network, Okabu will definitely have your family dancing and singing together as you navigate your two Cloud Whales and help save the planet from the pollution that looks to engulf the land.
Okabu will run you $14.99 on the PlayStation Network and is available for download now.
A copy of Okabu for PS3 was provided to us for this review from Handcircus.