I am not a skilled gamer when it comes to precision aiming or perfect platforming — my skills are better suited for creative puzzlers, simulation games, and walking sims, and it’s no surprise that Stardew Valley was one of my favorite games of recent years. So when I heard of Ooblets, a game that has elements of Stardew, Animal Crossing, and Pokemon, I was immediately intrigued.
The easiest way to draw me into a game is a cute, colorful art style and relaxed gameplay. Ooblets has both, AND it has adorable little creature companions. The same way that listening to Kero Kero Bonito fills me with childlike glee, Ooblets invokes pure joy with its bright atmosphere and silly names for everything. It’s absolutely filled to the brim with whimsy and charm, and I can’t help smiling when I play, even if I’m sometimes at a loss for how to spend my time within it.
Ooblets begins with your character moving to a brand new place called Badgetown. You arrive ooblet-less, much to the surprise of the mayor. She quickly provides you with a new ooblet companion, and even gives you a free house! Even if it’s a crappy, run-down farm, it’s free! Most of your time in the game will be spent farming, getting to know the townsfolk, and collecting new ooblets via dance battles. Ooblets love to dance, and they each have their own signature move. The dance battle system works similarly to a deck-builder like Slay the Spire, where you’ll play cards corresponding to different moves. These moves may earn points, take points from your opponent, or even provide buffs and debuffs, all with the goal of reaching the required amount of points before your opponent. There are several strategies you could employ, so it’s important to have lots of different ooblets with unique moves.
Beside your sweet little ooblets, there’s still a farm to run. I had the most fun designing my farm’s layout, and cooking recipes using all the different foods I’d grown. I built several “oobcoops” to let all my new ooblets help me take care of my crops and clear weeds on my farm. Watching my little babies run around with straw hats and harvest crops is adorable, and it gives your ooblets a purpose outside of simply following you and dancing. Decorating the farmhouse inside and out is also just as important as taking care of the crops. There are several stores in the town where you can purchase furniture, clothing, and even a coffee shop that sells “beanjuice” and “spressy” to replenish your energy when you need it. Everything in Ooblets is cute and fun, and I’ve already spent so many hours in it, but I eventually ran out of things to do.
Honestly, my favorite part of the whole experience is collecting items for quests and tasks that unlock new areas or features. These tasks often require several crafted items, scavenged parts, and items that, thankfully, I could grow on the farm. It’s a bit of a puzzle figuring out what I should be growing on the farm at any given time, and what items I should be looking for throughout the town. Once I got through all the major tasks that the game currently has to offer, I lost my sense of direction. Those quests provided me with structure and something to work toward, but once I completed them all, I wasn’t sure what to do. I spent some time reorganizing my farm and tried to collect more ooblets, but I ended up spending a lot of days waiting around for crops to grow. I could try saving up gummies, the game’s currency, to decorate my house or buy new clothes, but without knowing what’s next in the game, that feels aimless.
With no more quests, I’m left waiting for more features to be added to the game, which already has sections that are blocked off for now, including new towns to explore and an empty storefront. I’m certain there will be new types of ooblets in the future too, and I’m truly eager to see what comes next. As Ooblets is currently in Early Access, there’s always a worry that the game could be abandoned in an unfinished state, but the developers have been very communicative thus far. In the week I spent playing, they pushed several updates to fix various bugs, and even a new feature to re-home some of your excess ooblets.
I sincerely can’t wait to see what new content and features are in store for Ooblets, because I’ve genuinely had an awesome time with the game, even if it still feels unfinished and unpolished. As it stands, it’s definitely a joy to experience, but I’ve seen all there is to see so far, and I’m hungry for something more.
This preview is based on the PC version of the game. An early access copy was provided to us by Glumberland.