Game Review: Okabu (PS3)

Okabu gives new meaning to the term “Cloud Gaming.” I’ve heard of a game where you can play as Cloud, but not a game where you can play AS a cloud! Anyway, in Okabu, a new downloadable game for PS3, the evil mechanical Doza tribe is polluting the air, making life difficult for the cloud whales that live high in the sky. Two cloud whale brothers decide to descend to Earth to see what all the trouble is. Along the way, they meet the peaceful Yarubo tribe, who lives at one with nature. The two cloud brothers now must help their new friends and stop the polluting Doza tribe once and for all!

Okabu is a family-friendly action-puzzle game for one or two players. Play as one of the two cloud whale brothers as you hover above the ground and ‘swim’ through the air. You’ll have to solve puzzles to help your friends, bypass obstacles, and thwart the Doza robots in each level. Like regular clouds, the puffy heroes can absorb water, so if you need to give a plant a drink or short circuit a robot, just find a pond to dip into and rain on them. This also works with puddles of oil, just dip into a pool of Texas Tea and rain an oily path from a fire to some explosives.

Along the way you’ll meet friends who will help in your adventures. A fisherman with a plunger harpoon can ride on the clouds and help you pull and move objects. Later you’ll meet a farmer who can ride on your back and play a flute to lure animals around. You can only have one friend on your back at a time, so if you have another, or are full of water, you’ll have to exchange one for the other.

In each level you can earn medals depending on how well you perform. Defeat all the robots, collect secret hidden eggs, gather enough cloudberries, or finish the level quickly to earn a medal for each task. Like LEGO Star Wars, a second player can join in and drop out at any time. The only problem with this is that you can’t venture too far from each other. Sometimes, but not often, this’ll even happen with one player if the CPU controlled one gets stuck. It would’ve been nice if they could do a split screen mode, similar to how the later LEGO games have done.

The only other problem with Okabu is that some of the goals and objectives can be slightly unclear, though this doesn’t happen very often. And sometimes leading animals and people with the farmer helper doesn’t always render the results you want, or isn’t as intuitive. Players looking for a more action-based game may want to look elsewhere, as this one is fairly low key as you mostly do fetch quests and puzzle solving. Finally, some of the levels are a little too long, as they take more than 45 minutes to finish the first time. Checkpoints or shorter levels would’ve been nice for gamers with shorter attention spans.

However, if you can overlook those problems, which is pretty easy to do, you’ll find that Okabu is a great treat. And it’s pretty long for a downloadable title. If you want a family-friendly game you can play with your kids on the PS3, then you’ll definitely want to look into downloading it.

Kid Factor:

I couldn’t find a rating for Okabu, even on the ESRB Web site, but I imagine it would be rated E for Everyone. You can shoot water to zap robots, or use bombs to blow up obstacles, but that’s as violent as it gets. Most of the game centers around helping others. Reading skill is helpful for the dialogue and instructions, but not always needed as there are picture cues to tell you what to do, too. Getting hit by an enemy won’t penalize you too much, as you just lose a few of your collected cloudberries, kind of like how you lose studs in the LEGO games. But younger players might still need help with some of the trickier puzzles and longer levels. But that’s OK because you’ll probably have fun playing with them.

No Responses to “Game Review: Okabu (PS3)”

  1. This game seems creative, fun, and deep with a positive message! Just goes to show you a “kid’s game” doesn’t have to be “lacking” so long as the developer is willing to put forth some effort.

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