Ovivo Xbox One Review
INSTRUCTIONS NOT INCLUDED:
There are no words I can use to describe this game, but try, I will. This psychologically intriguing platformer holds no immediate story, but found within, are deep meanings and symbolic references to players who are willing to go the extra mile. Put simply: there is nothing simple about this game, despite it’s minimalistic aesthetic.
The most striking feature of Ovivo is the art style. Ovivo’s heavy use of minimalism really goes far and beyond any game I have seen before. There only word I was able to find in the game, was the game title itself, the options, menu screens: they’re all communicated to the player by symbols. This experimentation and figure-it-out-yourself UI design is a tool used in the gameplay as well.
You’re never shown a tutorial in Ovivo and you’re not really quite sure what to do. You start the game as a black dot. You can move back or forward using the analogue stick and you can seemingly switch dimensions using the A button. All this, you kind of have to figure out yourself. This dimensional shift, means you enter the opposite colour world, and things work differently in this world.
The Yin and Yang springs to mind when describing the mechanics of Ovivo. What appears “up” in one world, is “down” in the other world. You are essentially playing upside down, but how do you know which way is up?
Don’t worry, I’m not having an existential crisis, but I honestly felt on the verge while playing Ovivo.
During the game, there are different symbols you can find within, these “story symbols” confused me as I couldn’t find any real use to them. You get an achievement each time you find one of these symbols and after collecting quite a few, I started to ask why, as they weren’t really adding anything to the game, at least from my perspective.
Ovivo doesn’t spoon feed you information, you have to look it up for yourself. There’s various different codes and messages scattered throughout the game, involving some morse code and various images embedded within the very level design itself.
Each level is an image of some sort, or a combination of various images. You only really appreciate the meaning behind the level after you’ve finished it, when it zooms out revealing the entire area you were playing in. What these images mean, are perhaps entirely subjective. I saw a reference to the infamous Ink Blot tests, which are tests used to determine someone’s psychological state. But more importantly, the Ink Blot tests are subjective to each person, someone might see something like perhaps a rug, or a bearded man, but someone else may see something completely different. Maybe this is what Ovivo is, a truly subjective experience that needs no explanation.
Whatever the case may be, Ovivo does something that many games can’t, it’s universally understood. I can imagine anyone who picks up this game will, within a few minutes of playing it, understand what to do without any instruction. The best game I can compare it to, oddly enough, is probably Minecraft. In much the same way of going to find wood, making tools and hunting for food, Ovivo takes into account an instinctual nature in its level design. Spikes – bad, round and flat surfaces – good. Vines – also bad.
Communication is so subtle, yet so basic in the game, almost anyone will be able to understand what to do and how to do it.
Overall, Ovivo was quite an experience. I did enjoy myself while playing the game, but perhaps “fun” wouldn’t be appropriate to use. Ovivo is definitely thought provoking and makes you aware at just how minimalistic the game really is. The gameplay messes with your head a little as it can be quite confusing trying to figure out which dimension to hop into as you try to get around each level. But it is a good game, and I did like playing Ovivo, I would highly recommend this to platform veterans and casual gamers alike. Ovivo feels fresh and new, and a surprisingly complex game for how simple it may appear.
We’d like to thank Sometimes You for providing us with the game code.
Developed by: IzHard
Published by: Sometimes You
Price – £5.79