Game Review #378: OVIVO (Nintendo Switch)
Reviewer: Steven Green
Developer: IzHard Team
Publisher: Sometimes You
Category: Physics-based Platformer / Artistic Adventure
Release Date: 07.03.2019
Price (at time of review): $6.99
Buy OVIVO from the Nintendo Switch eShop here.
OVIVO is a physics-based platformer in which you maneuver through a black and white landscape with oddly shaped peaks and valleys. In order to get through you must utilize the color-switching, gravity-changing ability your blobby character possesses that allows for you to switch which side of the spectrum you are moving on. With this you use the peaks and valleys and quick spectrum changes to launch yourself where you need to go. This title is an interesting mix of VVVVVV and The Unfinished Swan.
Up for Interpretation
You play as OVO, the cute little blob that has the amazing ability to change his color, which allows him to exist on either plane of color. In this world, you move through these interesting landscapes searching for odd symbols, and as you collect them you will reveal more and more of the story. However, nothing here is set in stone, and nothing will be spelled out for you. It’s up to you to decide what is happening in this strange metaphorical world.
Isaac Newton’s Apples
The bread and butter of this title are the physics that allow for interesting maneuvering. OVIVO is, at its heart, a basic platformer. None of the areas you will traverse will blow your mind, or make you toss your controller due to frustrating difficulty. However, searching out the symbols and trying to get to hidden areas on these artistic stages is where you will find your fun. With this color-changing mechanic that allows you to launch yourself and maintain your momentum you can really have some cool experiences shooting through the level and finding hidden treasures. Even though this is a cool mechanic, it isn’t something that really wowed me beyond the occasional cool jump into a secret area. It is fairly easy to wrap your head around but putting into practice doesn’t flow as well as I would have liked, as I found myself getting stuck in the dips and valleys trying repeatedly to make a big jump. With that said, mechanics like these are unique, and the game isn’t really meant to impress you with it’s platforming. This is an artistic vision that is meant to be more of an experience than the next Mario. The game has its fair share of traps and things to see, but overall you are meant to just take it in, not work hard to traverse it. I don’t mean this in a negative way at all, as they are some of my favorite games I have ever experienced, but this is the “walking simulator” of platformers.
You will experience some amazing level designs in this title, but not in the way you would traditionally think. I found the initial design to feel somewhat random, and quite odd in its emptiness at times. But the real wow moment for this title comes when you complete a level and see what you just went through. Full-scale artistic masterpieces that you somehow moved through without even noticing. Being able to move through these pieces without having any idea of what you are looking at until it is done is a really interesting part of this title that I truly enjoyed. Sadly, it doesn’t make the levels less empty, or more interesting when it comes to pure platforming, but again this game is about the experience. You move through the developer’s vision.
The soundtrack in OVIVO is superb. It truly adds to the experience, and allows for a calming, almost meditative state as you flow through these levels. Brokenkites has done very well to create the color for a title that is completely colorless.
I was excited to jump into OVIVO as I am a total sucker for art-pieces in the gaming space. However, I found myself slightly disappointed with this experience. The actual gameplay is lackluster, and the design is hampered by the artistic pieces you must traverse. I loved checking out theme images and really enjoyed thinking back through the level and seeing where I was and how I made it through this large map, but I feel like moving through these pieces didn’t allow for as much absorption of the message as I was taken out of the experience when searching for the hidden symbols or when I got stuck in a peak or valley that I couldn’t quite get enough momentum off of.
The soundtrack is brilliant, and the ability to allow the player to come up with their own interpretation of the story are great traits, but just aren’t enough to place this game with the elites of the genre. I would have rather moved through this story without the platforming, as I truly enjoyed the experience, but left wanting more in the end. I would recommend anyone into interesting art styles and “walking simulator”-type art pieces to give this game a shot and see what you think of it yourself, as it was an enjoyable experience overall.
Buy OVIVO from the Nintendo Switch eShop here.
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*Review Code Provided by Sometimes You