Thank you so much to Sometimes You for providing a review code
Almost every day it seems that a new 2D platformer releases on some platform. While many titles often fall quickly into obscurity or are never given the chance to see the light, many of these games also become legends. OVIVO falls somewhere in the middle, it’s a game I will never forget playing, however, can never see myself replaying. It takes a unique visual design and combines it with trippy gravity changing based platforming. But, what makes this game so appealing on the surface, may also be its downfall.
There is no real story to OVIVO. The game starts with a ball on a surface; after you mess around with the controls you’ll quickly figure out the main mechanic of the game and begin your journey through the black and white abstract world of OVIVO
The main gimmick that sets OVIVO apart from any other platformer is the gravity mechanic. Similar to games like VVVVV, where instead of the traditional jump button, your source of gravitational pull changes. In OVIVO your source of gravity changes from the upside to the downside across a horizontal plane. When you do this from certain heights you are able to gain momentum to do tricky platforming sections.
However, sometimes the momentum mechanic can be difficult to use properly. There were a few occasions where, I just wasn’t able to get enough height or distance due to how the controls behave in conjunction with your momentum. Rather than timing the gravitational change, when you hit the ground you have to hit the button long before that to be sure to break through the ground. When you do try and time it, the ball sometimes hits the surface before going through, losing all that momentum.
Now this could just be myself being bad at the game, but there were a few different occasions where I truly felt as if the momentum mechanic just wasn’t as polished as, I would have liked it to be.
There is more to OVIVO than getting from point A to point B though; each level has three main collectibles and numerous other smaller ones. The main collectibles are added to the mural on the menu. If you collect all the collectibles you may even get a secret bonus, but I won’t spoil it for you.
The three main collectibles don’t really do anything, but they are at least fun to collect as more often than not they require you to go out of your way and do a challenging section. Each of the small collectibles, however are just scattered along the main path and can be collected from a short distance since they gravitate towards you.
In later stages OVIVO does begin to build on the core gravity concept by adding moving platforms, flying sections, and platforms that switch your gravity back and forth constantly making them very bouncy. These for the most part are executed well and do a good job of bringing depth to the core gamplay. A tiny nitpick, I do have is the numerous timing challenges in the last couple of levels.
The timing is already hard to execute since the momentum is very unpredictable at times, but the worst part is that the camera doesn’t give you a full view of the section until you’re already in it. This means that you can only figure out the patterns of many (not all) timing sections by tons of trial and error. It only happens a couple of times, but it is incredibly infuriating to figure out a pattern in a intense platforming section while doing said intense platforming section.
OVIVO’s visual design is a unique blend of boring yet gorgeous visuals. The black and white symbolic visuals with the mural-like design of the backdrop are initially really cool to look at. However, it can get old as the stuff you see while actually playing the game are the regular, basic platforms. The nice part is once you finish the stage and the camera zooms out to show you the whole mural, with the whole level you just played through being about ten percent of the total picture. The game has these beautiful visuals that you only ever get to see after finishing a level. Yes, there are small symbols scattered around and definitely some sections where you do get a good look at some fantastic imagery, but they’re always separated by a boring squiggly line. Overall, the visual design is truly amazing, I just wish we got to see it in all its glory a bit more.
The best thing OVIVO has going for it, is the soundtrack. It’s relaxing and calming while also being able to instill energy and be impactful. It never takes anything away from the experience and doesn’t overstay its welcome. With a brand new fantastic score for every level it is worth buying the game for alone.
The only time I ran into any sort of technical issue besides with the momentum mechanic was in a specific level where multiple chase sequences occur. The thing chasing you causes heavy frame rate drops. Of course, just my luck, the one time where precise and quick thinking is absolutely essential, and the game slows to a crawl. Thankfully, it wasn’t unplayable and I did eventually get through it in a few tries. Other than this event, I had no other issues.
While I did list a number of flaws, OVIVO at its core is a memorable romp through a unique world that is definitely worth checking out. It’s not perfect, but it is evident from the start that this was a passion project. It’s evident by the effort put into all the symbolic imagery and its incredible soundtrack. These pros are only bettered by OVIVO’s bite sized levels that are perfect for the on the go player. Yes, I did find the momentum mechanic to be a bit difficult to use sometimes, but even still it didn’t ruin my experience with OVIVO. With the game only consisting of twelve levels, it’s easy to say that it’s too short or needs more content, but I personally feel the game ends on a high note before going and overstaying its welcome.
Unique & Interesting Black & White Visual Style
Intriguing Mechanics That Will Pique Many People’s Interest
Love playing games and experiencing all that the different developers have to offer, happy to have the chance to broaden my horizons and explore more of the vast universe of indie games with Switch Atlantic!