Ooblets is a game I had been looking forward to for years and even though it’s only in Early Access, it already is tons of fun and any issues I would’ve had with similar games are done well enough that it’s rarely an issue or have been adjusted already through various patches.
I was honored to receive a key for the game and it’s rare I’m not spending at least part of a day playing, even over a month after its Early Access release, regardless of if I “need” to. I have a very weird relationship when it comes to “farming sims”. I’ve played Harvest Moon/Story of Seasons since the 90s with my very first being Harvest Moon 64. The thing is, as much as I love the series, I actually kind of hate the actual farming part.
In a similar sense, Pokemon is a game I adore in most avenues… except for the actual battling and Animal Crossing, while generally not having a goal on its own, is a game where a lot of my enjoyment falls to set lists versus numbers… such as how I struggle catching any bugs and fish once my museum is complete.
And to kind of add the cherry on top to those who are wondering “why does she even play these games” sundae, I’m kind of a completionist with them. Despite my general casual approach, I feel this intense desire to do all the things which makes these supposed “relaxing games” suddenly feel a lot more stressful. I need to try and figure out my schedule to optimize being able to do as much as possible as quick as possible to lessen any slip-ups and make sure I get everything done by a certain point.
And somehow, despite being a combination of these three games, Ooblets actually found a way for me to just… enjoy playing. I don’t feel rushed. I don’t feel stressed. Even with my giant list of “things I want to get done”, for the first time I’m actually taking my time and am okay with it.
Despite taking elements from all those types of games, Ooblets manages to actually circumvent most of the reasons of WHY I have those problems in the first place.
- A Quick and Easy Farming System – My main issue with farming in games is that I find it too monotonous. It’s the same thing each day and it’s incredibly boring. Not to mention that things can just… die super quickly as well or the season switches and oops, bye to your crops if they didn’t grow fast enough… Not to mention the rating system…. Ooblets, however, has it a lot more simplified and while there are sprinklers, what really is such a huge help are the Oobcoobs which, when fully upgraded, your Ooblets can just… water, plant, weed, and harvest for you. I literally just have to give them the seeds and they’ll take care of everything else. And not on a schedule like Harvest Sprites.
- Tools aren’t overwhelming – You have a watering can (Dribbly can) and a hoe (Dirt Scraper) and that’s it. Rocks, logs, tree branches, and weeds? All taken care of with your bare hands and pure determination. There’s no waiting for upgrades, there’s no grinding for minerals to even do an upgrade, there’s no needing to use things a certain amount of times… You can just take care of it. The only thing that DOES have an upgrade is the Dribbly can and you just… buy it with the in-game currency, gummies. That’s it.
- There’s no rush – Nobody is going to leave if I don’t befriend them quick enough. A Task isn’t going to fail if I don’t complete it in ‘x’ amount of days. If I forget to water a plant, I can water it again to get it back. If I don’t make it back in bed in time, I don’t pass out– I just have less energy the next day. If I run out of energy, I just walk a bit slower. If I don’t have something for an Ooblet, I can just focus on getting it until I choose to go to sleep. And I know the Ooblet will be back if worse comes to worse. One thing I kind of have regretted doing is upgrading to get more Ooblets immediately as soon as I had enough wishies. I wish I took more time so the pool was smaller while I tried to get them all. And just, this is another thing, you really have no reason to rush headfirst. You can progress how you feel most comfortable.
- I can focus how I want – If I feel kind of anti-social some days, I don’t slowly lose friendship with everyone. Nobody wonders where I’ve disappeared to or if I suddenly hate them. I can nap away to get energy back until I go to sleep. I can just work on my farm. I can just run around checking Ooblets. There’s no punishment for how I choose to play.
- The battle system isn’t too complicated – There aren’t tons of types to memorize and work with or tons of different effects you need to keep track of. You can play offensively, defensively, or more slow-building and effects are summed up in stuns, hype, and and fluster. Even though there’s a clear strategy involved and some cards may better fit your playstyle, I never feel forced to play a way I don’t personally enjoy.
- What you see is what you get – Anyone who knows me could tell you how much I hate shiny hunting, specifically as it’s a lot of grinding with no idea when to expect or prepare for it in 99% of cases. You have to be in an encounter to find out in most games and can’t tell otherwise. But here, not only can I see right from the moment I wake up for the main town, it takes me only a few minutes to check Mamoonia (and I would guess similar for some of the other towns) and see what may be there as well. It’s quick and easy and even if I’m not 100% sure color-wise, the sparkles and stardust trail make it obvious.
- Everything you need to remember is onhand – Forgot what to give a friend that day? Can’t remember what an Ooblet likes or what colors you have? Have you scanned an Ooblet yet? The Grumboire has all of that information and helps keep track of your progress. Even when cooking, you can see everything you need and even have it grab items right from the crate. You don’t have to constantly have everything on you.
It’s both nice, and also kind of weird, to be able to play a game full of things I love and just… play it. Sure, I made a list to keep track of Gleamies I still need, but… it’s one tiny list. It’s not gigantic. It’s not a huge enormous spreadsheet. It feels so simple and honestly, all the information is easily in-game in the Almanac. I don’t have to think too hard. The closest you can even get to a “monotonous day to day” is so quick and easy it doesn’t bother me. And for at least a little bit, I can just turn my brain off a bit and enjoy it.
And this is just Early Access. Sure, some things aren’t perfect (cute pastel pink dress with white tights and fancy pastel pink house when *bricked*), but even stuff I found a little frustrating got adjusted quickly like how quickly rocks, weeds, and tree branches/logs kept spawning, I literally could not keep up with it. But they changed the rates and now I can actually keep my farm manageable. Similarly, while it’s fun and goofy and that works, not every term will immediately register to what it is and it can take some time to really get in the groove of what is and does what. Regardless, even with some dialogue repeating, I even still enjoy talking to the characters every so often. It probably helps that I don’t feel I have to constantly talk to them.
Ooblets manages to find it’s own special niche in just finding a way to take so many elements and make them more freeing and in a sense, better, and I can’t wait to see what comes next.