Phew, this review has had a long time coming. I've actually been playing Ooblets since 2020 when it launched on Early Access, but had decided I would review once it was officially released. A lot of my memories of this game are actually fairly dated, so I've been spending some time recently replaying and playing new 1.0 areas of the game. Ooblets is a wholesome creature collection gave where your little friends have dance battles, help you farm, and explore new lands with you. Ooblets is charming, funny, and full of so many different quests and activities to complete, but some parts still feel a little unpolished.
Your journey begins as many farming sims do. Your character has lived their life in a boring, stuffy place called Ahroh Island up until now. You decide to start new and travel to the land of Oob, specifically Badgetown. When you arrive with no money or prospects, the mayor of Badgetown, Tinstle, agrees to give you and abandoned farmhouse to live in. She also helps connect you to four local "clubs" to join, all with different traits. Whichever club you join determines what your very first Ooblet will be. You learn that Ooblets are silly little creatures who enjoy dance battles, and therefore you can collect more of them by defeating them in these dance battles and getting a new seed from them. Tinstle helps you get set up in the farmhouse and then asks your help with other local town tasks. Once you've progressed through a couple tasks, you start the long quest of helping Badgetown get reconnected to the oobnet. This involves traveling to new lands, where you will meet new people and new kinds of Ooblets. There's so much to do even outside of the main quest - grow crops, renovate your home, level up your Ooblets, open a shop, participate in clubs, and more.
I'm pretty proud of how far my house has come from the start of the game.
Ooblets art style has stood out, since it was announced, for its extremely cute and colorful look. Once you explore outside of Badgetown, every new area is different from the last and full of different environments. There's so many different Ooblet designs and they are all sillier than the last. It's cell-shaded style works well, and is a little more forgiving to your little Ooblets clipping through you and other items, as unfortunately tends to happen. Also, there will be occasional moments even now where you'll run into weird script text on the corner of the screen when arriving in a new area. These issues are fairly minor and I figure will continue to be patched out as the game goes on. Playing Ooblets for hours at a time, I definitely get the catchy, bubbly music stuck in my head. It's especially good in the dance battles, where the tension is high but still with a sense of humor and goofiness.
Ooblets is full of whacky and silly dialogue that really had me chuckling for a while, especially when meeting new characters. However, at times it feels that it lathers on its brand of "chronically online" millennial humor just a bit too heavy. I like that all the food you grow is given its own unique name and that the game doesn't take itself too seriously, but sometimes the dialogue doesn't quite make sense. For example, even the older looking characters in town talk in the same way, even though they should probably talk more like older people would. I guess you can assume in the world of Oob, this is just everyone talks. However, I do really like that Badgetown feels like a post-capitalist community where everyone can just help each other out, shop in their small town, and enjoy life. Ooblets isn't a game where you can romance characters, but are definitely incentivized to talk to locals and do quests for them, as they'll give you rewards for both. This goes for most of the townspeople, although a few are more "NPC"-like and recycle dialogue lines, and there's no way to form friendships with them. Exploring new areas is always exciting as each new town has its own personality or quirk, with a set of silly characters to dance battle against. Also, it's kind of a breath of fresh air that your player character actually talks (and has pretty good dialogue) as opposed to being the typical "silent" protagonist in this scenario.
When I first heard about Ooblets, I understood it to be essentially a Pokemon-like game except your monsters have dance battles instead of real battles. Battling and gaining Ooblets is still a big part of it the game, of course, but there's so many farming-sim elements to it as well that it's mostly a combination of both genres. The dance battles themselves are unique and fun to play, even for someone like me who generally isn't super into turn-based or deck-building elements. I know some players wanted more ability to control your deck prior to battles, which makes sense, but in my opinion the battles are simple enough to not require that. The only times I lost battles was when I made the mistake of using a team of ooblets with no variety in attack style, or misunderstood a card's use. Overall these battles are a good time - I just wish for catching Ooblets they battles would be a little shorter, as it sometimes makes me not want to take the time to catch every Ooblet. Also, sometimes the items you need just to start dance battles with Ooblets can be a bit of pain. You run into a new cool creature, but you have to go home and cook 3 whole cakes for it before you can come back and battle. It sort of de-incentivizes collecting them all, for me at least. Much of my time in this game however was actually spent developing my farm and growing crops. Early on this takes a lot of work and patience, barely being able to buy the seeds you need, but later in the game your ooblets can basically run the farm without you and even collect crops for you. I think this is the most clever part of combining the "creature game" with the farming sim gameplay, and I wish more farming sims would let you get to a point where your farm can basically take care of itself while you explore.
Ooblets was made by a tiny team and they've put so much love and patience into this game over the years. I've spent many, many hours playing it and getting lost in its world. It may not be perfect, but it's guaranteed to be a good time for a long playthrough. I'm still not done playing it and I plan to continue, but I figured I've put in enough time to give a thorough review. I'm sure there's things I forgot to cover in this review since there's just so much to do, but I can guarantee I've enjoyed my time with it. I highly recommend this game for anyone who likes farming sims, Pokemon games, or just lighthearted, cute games. Back when it was released for early access it made my list of top games for the year, and I expect it will again for this year's "1.0" release.
Ooblets is available on PC, Xbox One, and Xbox Series X|S
Played on: PC
Last Played: 9/6/2022
Playtime: 48 hrs