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‘Ooblets’ Review: Stardew Valley Meets Pokémon And Animal Crossing

‘Ooblets’ Review: Stardew Valley Meets Pokémon And Animal Crossing

On an island in the sun

Running a farm and collecting cute critters. Exploring new places and making friends. Running a shop and competing in dance battles. These are some of the ingredients which make Ooblets one of 2022’s standout titles.

See the trailer for Ooblets here:

Playing on Nintendo Switch, the game begins with you arriving in Badgetown, a colourful place full of people and Ooblets, tiny creatures who make up the bulk of the game’s activities. You’re given a shack on a derelict farm by the town’s mayor, and just like that you’re living your new life. 

Immediately the charm of Ooblets is apparent. The many menial tasks the game has to offer never feel anything other than fun, because the world of Badgetown and its neighbouring areas are always joyful and inviting. Whether you’re cleaning up litter or planting crops, each activity is therapeutic from first to last. 

Ooblets /

That last part is a particularly important part of Ooblets, as it’s on your farm that you’ll grow your own little friends. That’s right, you grow the titular Ooblets, adding a fun twist to the collectathon gameplay. 

You get seeds from beating wild Ooblets in dance battles. These contests essentially function as the game’s combat, and they play out using a card-based system. Your goal is to get enough points to win, either by hitting the target number (which can vary), or by having more points than your opponent when the time runs out.

You can gain points through using basic cards that generate them, or by stealing them from your opponents. Different Ooblets offer different cards, so you can find a way of playing that suits you. There are other elements to dance battles, but the core mechanic is simple enough to make it easy to learn. 

Ooblets /

Outside of dance battles, Ooblets gives you plenty of other things to do. You can fish, cook, take on side quests, buy clothes, develop and furnish your home, and generally enjoy a peaceful existence with your miniature companions. Even when you sign up for so many quests that they can’t all be displayed on your screen at the same time, it’s never really overwhelming because of how relaxing the game is. 

That being said, Ooblets has a day and night cycle that moves rather quickly, so you can’t do everything at your leisure in a single day. It’s not uncommon for me to wake up, tend to my crops and then see my stamina bar has half-depleted and the day is already halfway done. 

Luckily, the game has food items that can regenerate your energy so you can get back to the action, but the speed of the clock means you have to learn to leave some things until tomorrow, and that’s not a bad thing. After all, you’re still achieving and progressing, and that’s enough.

Ooblets /

This abundance of activities mixing farming, exploring, socialising, and more, all combined with the adorable Ooblets, makes for a rewarding gaming experience. The seemingly endless to-do list means you’re never without purpose, and the chill vibes the game serves up prevent the gameplay loop from becoming stressful.

The game isn’t without its flaws, though. There were multiple times where I was forced to restart because of odd glitches, such as getting trapped in a building or not being able to exit a conversation. I was also hit with a few moments where everything froze, but none of these things really ruined my fun.

My biggest gripe is with the in-game arcade machines. At one point in the story, I was met with a series of minigames that were completely unenjoyable. Inspired by titles like Temple Run and Flappy Bird, each one was as painful as the next, and the annoying part was the game tasks you with getting the high score on them all in order to progress. Luckily, you can find a way around it quickly enough, but this bump in the road really killed my momentum.

Ooblets /

To keep it short, Ooblets takes elements of Stardew Valley, the Animal Crossing series and the Pokémon franchise, and stirs them together for a first-rate life sim adventure with hours of playability that feels perfect for the Switch. It’s not flawless, but the good easily outweighs the bad. If you’re looking for a new chill-out game, Ooblets has got you covered. 

Pros: Lots to do, adorable creatures, varied gameplay

Cons: Some glitches, six painful minigames that have to be overcome

For fans of: Stardew Valley, Animal Crossing, Pokémon

8/10: Excellent

Ooblets is available now for PC, Xbox consoles and Nintendo Switch (version tested). Code provided by the publisher. Find a complete guide to GAMINGbible's review scores here

Featured Image Credit: Glumberland

Topics: Nintendo Switch