Game Reviews

OCO review - "An achingly stylish rhythm-puzzle-platformer"

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| OCO (2022)
OCO review - "An achingly stylish rhythm-puzzle-platformer"
| OCO (2022)

OCO is a rhythm-puzzle-platformer that would scream cool at you if it weren't so darned calm and composed. It's an exercise in smart restraint and good taste that has the potential to soothe the most frazzled of nerves, even if if might leave your heart unmoved.

Game is beautiful

This is a one-finger platformer where each snack-sized level is a tiny 2D planetoid - albeit a planetoid that looks like it's been cut out of a David McCandless infographic book.

Your little dot scoots around each level until it hits a solid wall, at which point it turns around and scoots off in the opposite direction. Tapping the screen allows you to jump over obstacles and gaps.

The idea is to make like Pac-Man and gobble up all the dots in a stage, with added awards for doing so in the briefest time and with the fewest taps possible. As well as the levels laid forth by the developer you can also experience the creations of other players, or indulge your creative side and contribute your own level designs.

OCO's mechanics are fairly unremarkable, but they're also only half the story here. The other sizeable chunk is its stunning audio-visual offering. The game's clean abstract aesthetic is accompanied by a minimalist electronica soundtrack that clicks and burbles in the background like a robotic heartbeat.

Better still, this soundtrack is partly conducted by your actions. Each hop, dot and jump pad adds a percussive effect or synth stab to the unfolding soundscape. Needless to say, OCO is a game you really want to play with the headphones on if you can.

Remote control

OCO has everything going for it to become my new favourite game. I certainly like and admire it a lot. But there's a curious detachment to the game that keeps me from truly loving it.

I think perhaps it's because there's a certain remoteness to the action. OCO's levels are incredibly brief and barely interactive, often lasting just a few seconds and even fewer taps - at least in the vital early stages.

Ironically, it can be hard to really get into a rhythm with the game. As a result of this, you might struggle to really engage with it.

One symptom of this is that OCO clearly wants you to dive back in and perfect its levels, aiming for a clean sweep of low times and minimal taps. But at no point did I ever really feel compelled to do so.
It seemed far more interesting and appropriate to tap the next button and see what pretty formation of shapes and sounds was up next.

OCO is a game that's best played with your brain in a neutral state, surfing along on a wave of frictionless abstract bliss. It's a slick, stylish and transportive audio-visual experience that begs you to plug in a set of headphones and zone out for a few blissful minutes.

OCO review - "An achingly stylish rhythm-puzzle-platformer"

OCO is a remarkably tasteful and calming puzzle-platformer with a beguiling audio element