E3 2011: Okabu

By Andrew Yoon, Jun 11, 2011 5:00pm PDT

QUICKTAKE: Okabu isn't one of those artsy indie games you'll find on the PlayStation Network. Instead, it is a polished, cute co-op puzzle experience that had us smiling on the E3 show floor.

THE DEMO: The demo takes us to the beginning of the game. Clouds Kumulo and Nimbe are tasked with helping the colorful villagers of a pristine fishing town. Unfortunately, the Doza are introducing pollution into the world with their machinations, and the clouds must team up with the villagers to stop the invading pests.

The clouds can pick up water and rain upon enemies to "destroy" them. But in order to make progress, they'll need the help of special villagers. The first villager--named Captain Monkfish--is equipped with a plunger and allows the clouds to shoot and pull objects. Bringing down walls, opening doors, and even catapulting bombs, the plunger is an essential tool in helping the clouds stop the polluting menace.

DETAILS: Developer HandCircus is best known for their work on Rolando, a cute pick-up-and-play game for iOS. Their new effort is a bit more ambitious, taking advantage of the graphical capabilities of the PS3, but it's no less cute, and no less easy to get into.

There are two clouds as heroes, and Captain Monkfish can only ride atop one. The other cloud can either carry a different villager, or use his innate powers, such as absorbing water from a nearby lake and dropping rain on enemies. In co-op, two players can control the two heroes simultaneously, while in single-player, you will have to hit a button to swap between the two.

The puzzles featured in the E3 demo were rather straightforward; I only had to swap between using Monkfish and the rain ability. But, I'm looking forward to the latter areas of the game, which will introduce new abilities and demand more multi-tasking. What I played at E3 was simple, but charming. It may not be revolutionary, but with its cute style, and accessible gameplay, I'm curious for more.

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