Rating : 8/10
In OCO, you take control of a small, white square in a circular level that rotates such that you are always centred horizontally. Your entire control scheme is boiled down to a single action: jump. The aim is to collect all of the smaller, yellow squares (hereafter referred to as “bits”) on the screen. Sound simple so far? It gets trickier! To start with, several jumps need to be rather pixel-perfect so that you don’t miss. If you hit a wall, you will automatically reverse rotation, which is often needed to collect some bits. Additionally, each of the first seven worlds introduces a pad mechanic that changes up the gameplay; for instance, the first world has launch pads that propel you high into the air, and the second world has rush pads that temporarily increase your movement speed. Each of these pads are colour-coded, which is important as the game soon starts combining several types of pads in any given level. You are free to check out each level for as long as you wish before starting it, and the level will slowly rotate while you do so. This allows you to think about your various impact points – very useful when aiming to get either of the perfect scores!
For each stage, there are three level-clearing objectives. The first is simply to actually finish it, and the second and third are to get perfect in “taps” (i.e., jumps) and “time taken” respectively. One slight annoyance is that the level complete screen will always show your best attempts in both taps and time, and there is no way to check what you got on your latest attempt. While this information is possible to see from the pause screen, that’s not particularly useful when you only want the final result. There are a total of 180 levels provided by the game, spread over several worlds.
In addition to the main levels available, there is a new daily challenge every day and a new “Olympus” challenge every week, and you can attempt both as much as you wish without penalty. The daily challenge sets you a level and a criterion: for example, “complete the level within 24 taps”. The Olympus challenge is a little more complex, but involves content created by other OCO players. I’m not sure exactly how the Olympus challenge is put together, but there are two modes: Speedrun, in which you must complete six consecutive levels as fast as possible, and Marathon, which challenges you to complete as many of the nine consecutive levels as you can without dying. There are leaderboards for Olympus, so you can measure yourself up to other players and see just how good your skills are!
The visuals are highly simplistic, and everything you do adds to them. Any given level initially has a clean background that contrasts with the actual stage colours; from there, hitting any of the bits or pads will add shapes and lines to the screen, allowing for some pretty patterns to form. Don’t be fooled – it is this very nature of simplicity that allows the game to look good!
The music of this game is done in an interesting fashion: each level starts off with a basic beat, but as you interact more with the level, more sounds are added. Different actions add different sounds, all coming together in a brief loop. This loop will be slightly different depending on when you hit each bit or pad, resulting in a somewhat unique track each time. This said however, the music isn’t necessarily great, with most resulting loops sounding odd and even off-putting. There is an option to disable sound (but not to alter the volume) so it’s clearly not something deemed necessary even if you do find yourself tapping your foot to the beat.
It should be noted that OCO originated as a mobile game and has gating systems common to that platform; in particular, the in-game currencies. There are three kinds of currency: bits, likes and deltas. That’s right, each of those smaller, yellow squares you collect is one piece of currency, and on first completion of each level you are awarded a number of bits equal to the amount picked up. You also get a bonus of 100 bits for each of the three objectives met, and each streak of six consecutive daily challenges lands you 1000 bits. “So, what do we use these bits on?” I hear you ask. To focus on main game content for a moment, if you’re really stumped on a level, you can buy the solution to either the perfect taps or the perfect time. These cost 320 bits each, no matter where in the game the level is. You also need bits to unlock each new world, at a cost ranging from 1200 to 4800.
Likes are gained by creating and sharing your own levels with the OCO community, and are given out by players that, well, like your content. Deltas are gained through participation in Olympus content. I’ll admit that I didn’t dabble too much in player-created content as there is an endless potential there, but it seems each of these currencies is mainly used to unlock more “Create” options. There is also a “Shop” menu where you can convert these to bits. For those worried about such a thing, I did not see any options to buy bits, deltas or likes for real-world money.
As mentioned, there is a Create section where players can build their own levels. As I am spectacularly lacking in creativity, I made only a basic level that I didn’t release to the world, however it seems intuitive enough to use and there is a handy-dandy tutorial available at any point through the Create menu. The ability to add various types of pads, level sizes, and effects are all gated behind game currencies of all kinds, meaning that the more you participate with the community, the more you can expand your building tools. In order to dabble in any of the player-creation content, you’ll need an account, but that’s as simple as choosing a username and password – no email verification is needed.
All-in-all, OCO offers a pleasingly high-quality amount of bang for your buck – particularly given that the buck is a miniscule £4. The minimalistic approach both looks neat and sounds decent, and the gameplay definitely has that touch of “just one more level…”. With the sheer amount of player-created content, there is enough here to keep your itch well and truly scratched.
OCO is a puzzler that will keep you coming back for more, with visuals and audio that make the jump well from mobile to PC.
Will always jump into a game on the hardest difficulty and get absolutely wrecked. Obviously, it’s never his fault.