Review: OCO comes to Steam
By: L. Sahara McGirt (DarthSagaSwag)
Available on: iOS, Android, PC (Steam), Mac
Previously released on iOS and Android, OCO comes to PC on Steam today. OCO as a game is simplex in that it is complex and simple at once. The game boasts 'simple one-button controls' and 'complex, challenging puzzles.' OCO's game modes ensure that it has continuing playability beyond beating the initial 180 levels that are part of its main play mode.
To begin with, I was interested in OCO for its toned-down visuals and soundtrack of sick beats. Two things I forgot were:
I am terrible at platformers. OCO is most certainly a platformer, though one that breaks out of the box of the usual platformer formula in that this platformer is played on a circular 'map.' This brings us to number 2.
I get motion sickness from anything with circular motions. Whether that is video games, carousels, or optical illusions. I was so intrigued by the pretty colors, different format, and interesting name that I completely forgot about my ultimate weakness. Perhaps that is a positive for OCO, and you'll have to keep reading to learn why.
Now, I may be bad at platformers, but that doesn't stop me from playing them and enjoying them once in a while if I find one that looks like fun. And OCO is fun.
OCO's main play mode has 180 levels to get through. I managed to play my way through half of that, playing the game in increments. My inability to play continuously should not be a deterrent for other players to give OCO a try. The game is magnificently addictive in its simplicity, and if not for my personal weakness, I would have continued to play it for hours.
The minimalist audio-visual design is something to behold. The soundtrack to each level changes based on the effects embedded within the circular platform. Someone at SPECTRUM48 must have asked the question, "What if a DJ's turntables and their sick beats were the basis of a video game?" and decided to answer it with OCO. Playing through a level is oddly satisfying as the player-controlled bit navigates the platform to collect all of the bits within the platform to complete the level. As bits are collected and effects such as 'launch,' 'rush,' 'glide,' 'warp,' and 'hang' are touched by the player-controlled bit, the soundtrack changes to reflect the effect used and the bits collected.
The controls of OCO are ridiculously simple. Players can use their 'SPACE' bar to jump their bit over gaps and obstacles on the platform, or they can left-click their mouse. This makes OCO a great game for players looking for something fun and simple without learning to use any new keys to navigate the game. The continuously spinning platform allows players not to worry about anything other than timing their button hits.
What will keep OCO interesting over time are a series of modes OCO offers that turn a pretty basic game into something a player-community could keep going. OCO has an 'explore' mode that allows players to play levels created by other OCO players. By participating in creating levels, players can also build their creative ranking, which can ultimately boost them into 'top creator' leaderboards, putting their creations at the forefront for others to see and try.
In the 'explore' and 'create' modes, OCO levels with 'auto' play can also be created that allows players to simply drop their bit in and watch it flow. Auto is a pretty great mode for players who want to see what can be done with the game's different effects or if a player simply wants to sit back and enjoy OCO's visual and audio aesthetics. The DJ’s turntable inspiration really comes through in some of the player-created content. The back and forth movements of the circle, the scratches of the beat, and the taps made me feel as if I was watching the creation of a beat.
The other mode that keeps OCO interesting is the 'olympus' mode in which competitive levels can be found. Whether interested in speedruns, marathons, or selected olympus mode levels, players can compete collecting 'deltas' and making themselves a 'god of olympus,' putting themselves at the top of the 'gods hall of power' leaderboard. Unfortunately, competition levels cannot be accessed until the main game's worlds 1-7 are completed. If you are the type of player who grew up loving to see their high score at the top of arcade game cabinets, reaching the top of the leaderboards in OCO may be something to try. Speedrun and marathon training levels are available for those wanting to get a crack at some practice before competing.
If you get motion sickness from circular motions, as I do, I recommend remembering that before attempting to play OCO. I am not a medical professional, but risking yourself for a game of beautiful visuals and fun beats is probably not a great idea. However, if you're going to risk your motion sickness because you like sick beats and colorful games, or you just totally forgot about and happened to buy OCO, my suggestion is not playing more than 10-20 minutes at a time.
Overall, OCO is a fantastic game. 10/10 I will probably try to finish at least the main levels and generate some created levels before taking mercy on my motion sickness and putting it down. At a price tag of $4.99, OCO is well worth the pocket change.