Simplicity is something you rarely find in a lot of games these days. Most games try to have various overlapping themes along with different complex styles of gameplay and story. Ovivo is the kind of game that keeps things simple, yet at the same time it’s complex in its intent. Developed by IzHard, Ovivo is a black and white platformer game where you control a single circle that navigates around various puzzle worlds that are very reminiscent of giant Rorschach ink paintings. The game states that in the art and collectables there are hidden meanings to the overall theme it’s trying to portray, yet it’s not as black and white as you might find it out to be.
The gameplay is very simple and straight forward. You use the keyboard to move your dot around the area, but you cannot jump. What you can do is switch between black and white, allowing you to move into different color dimensions. The map of the area is always white with black shapes, landscapes, or platforms each designed for you to use to advance. By switching colors at the right time, you sink enter into the black or white parts of the level which act as the new platforms for you. Your gravity changes from up to down, and you can use that to help you reach areas that cannot be accessed from the opposite color’s dimension. Over time, you learn to manipulate the switching with the two dimensions in order to perform various skills like sinking downward or floating upwards to reach higher platforms. Very few instructions are given, but it’s easy to figure out how to start, and over time you learn the mechanics and rules just as easy.
There isn’t much of a story, but the overall mystery of the game is enough to keep you going until you collect everything there is. There are two collectables: small dots and strange symbols. While getting the dots doesn’t seem to have much of an impact (That I have yet to discover to my knowledge) the symbols give you achievements that have small sentences that seem philosophical and deeply spiritual. There seems to be an inner Zen like atmosphere to the game, bordering on various ideals of finding inner balance between chaos and order. The game seems to be designed for personal interpretation on how to view what the overall theme is about. You might get a different feeling of the game’s intent then somebody else.
The real star of the game, however, is the art style. It blends a perfect balance of white and black art that seems very familiar to Rorschach paintings. When you finish a level, you’ll see that the entire level was designed to be one gigantic art piece with various smaller ones put together. It had to have taken a lot of effort, time, testing, and redrawing to make the levels looks as detailed and well executed as they are. While the path to completing the levels is linear, it feels as if you are being carried in multiple directions with uncertainty of where you will end up. Mixing the art and gameplay together to create an interesting and dynamic world that fills you with mystery is a feat of itself that should be complimented.
There are a few flaws in the game. For one, the checkpoints are a mix between fairness and unfairness. Sometimes they will make sense, but other times they are too distant from each other. Another problem is the music, while it is soothing and gives a relaxing style, you’ll find yourself bored of it over time. Finally, the game is short. Almost too short. It’s around three to four hours to fully complete the game, and you’ll find a lack of needing to replay the game.
Still, for it worth, the game does end up being a unique Indie game with a good mechanic and excellent art. Add in the mystery and inner philosophical style the game goes for, I recommend Ovivo with a 7 out of 10.
REVIEW CODE: A complimentary PC code was provided to Bonus Stage for this review. Please send all review code enquiries to firstname.lastname@example.org.
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Gameplay - /10
Graphics - /10
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