REVIEW: Ooblets expands the cozy-games genre but falls short in dialogue | Culture

The cozy gaming community has been blessed this summer with big-name games coming out one after another. Two such games, Cult of the Lamb and Bear and Breakfast, have been consuming my time in between classes and work. Another cozy game was finally fully released on the Nintendo Switch and other consoles just in time for fall. Ooblets, an adventure life simulation, popped onto the scene. While the game was only meant to be released on the Epic Games Store for PC, which was met with immense backlash from the gaming community, Glumberland, the developer, fully launched the game on consoles Sep.1.

In Ooblets, you, the player, travel from your hometown of Ahroh Island to Badgetown. Players dive right into the story when the Mayor asks you to help take over an abandoned farm and make the town be recognized by the Ooblet High Council, a plot which is very reminiscent of Stardew Valley.

In order to complete most quests, players must have an ooblet, a magical creature much like a Pokémon. Players can collect common, unusual and gleamy versions of ooblets, each of which has a different colorway. You will discover different ooblets and help cultivate research on what the creatures really are.

In the game, different ooblets are pitted against each other just like a regular battle. But, unlike Pokémon, Ooblets doesn’t focus on turn-based combat. Instead, it’s a turn-based dance battle. Each player is given a base deck of cards but can also perform special moves depending on the different ooblets a player has, similar to the gameplay of Hearthstone. Your opponent can use moves against you in order to slow you down, while you can hype yourself up to give your ooblets an advantage. Each dance battle has a set number of moves you have to collect in order to win. The first one to reach the required amount wins, so strategy is the name of the game.

I adore this kind of combat because it doesn’t require me to constantly grind to upgrade weapons and special abilities. Instead, you only have to level up your ooblets, which will unlock more special moves. Not to mention when you give your ooblet an accessory, they wear them during the dance battle and as they follow you around, which I think is adorable.

While this game does have a focus on dance battling other townsfolk, there are some elements that make the game stick out like a sore thumb. The art style is one aspect that is both good and bad. The quirky, vibrant and bubbly design makes it sometimes feel like I’m playing a kid’s game. The dialogue doesn’t help this cause either. Glumberland made unusual dialogue decisions to make the game kid-friendly. More often than not, I find myself skipping over interactions and conversations with townspeople, which is a letdown, because I was hoping to fully digest complex dialogue.

I can get past the dialogue and the art style, but the game itself is not smooth in the slightest. You may be saying, “Well, it wasn’t supposed to be released on all these platforms. It was meant for the PC.” Yes, I know. However, I honestly rather would have waited another month not to get soft-locked, or temporarily stuck, in my shop or glitch through walls. Hopefully, the developers can fix these issues in the updates to come.

Overall, this game is a “don’t think about it” game. The relaxing gameplay allows me to enjoy my night without getting frustrated at a level or boss I can’t get past, with just the right amount of dance battles to keep me intrigued. This game is definitely for people who want another game like Animal Crossing and Stardew Valley and who don’t mind cringey dialogue and a childish art style.

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