OCO: Review (PC vs Mobile)

Last week, I was provided a review code for the minimalist puzzle game OCO which came to PC (via Steam) yesterday, 8/12. When I first started playing OCO for review on my PC I thought to myself, this would be a great mobile game. Then I checked my iPhone and it had been released as a mobile game in 2019. This made me decide to download the mobile game and give it a try side-by-side with the PC version.

Since the mobile version had been released over two years ago I thought it would be a bit different, but after spending some time in both, PC and mobile, I realized that they are the exact same game.

What is OCO?

Here’s some gameplay footage from my time with OCO:

Solving Puzzles in OCO

OCO is a fast-paced, minimalist-style puzzle solving game. It focuses on both the audio and visual elements of the game. OCO features a simple yet colorful design. From the very start OCO recommends players use headphones while playing. This is for the music, which adapts to how you play the game — the games music reacts to the player’s collecting of “bits.”

If 180 unique puzzles aren’t enough for you, there is also a “create” mode where players get to make and share their own puzzles. Not only can you build your own puzzles, you can also access over 75,000 user generated puzzles. Each puzzle can be solved in many different ways. Players are rewarded for finding both, time records and least taps (which can sometimes be the same).

OCO is playable on PC and Mac with controller support, however there’s only one action in the game — TAP (aka Jump) — so using the spacebar is perfectly fine. On mobile, you only need to tap your screen to make your block jump. The controls are simple, but it’s very much about timing.

The Good

OCO can be played in many different ways. You may simply collect all of the bits in each level and move forward. You can also go for either record, time or taps. For the 100% completionist you can go for all three and collect the full three bars in each puzzle — this may require multiple runs in most puzzles.

At first, I had no idea about achieving the timed record vs the tap record. I kept thinking I had mastered a puzzle before earning only two of three bars. It wasn’t until later on that I realized I had to beat most levels more than once to get all three bars. Each level can be solved with a few different approaches.

Overall, OCO is a fun and relaxing puzzle game. It only becomes stressful if you want it to be. Even then you can slowly figure things out. I haven’t used the puzzle creator much, but I did enjoy it while I was testing it out. Below you can see some footage of how it works:

Creating your own puzzles in OCO

You can create levels by either being precise and planning each block and bit out, or go at it my way.

I used the “trail and error” method, where I first filled in random boxes and from there I just tested out the level I had accidentally created and continued to edit it until it sort of worked. I do plan to continue using create mode and possibly building a fully playable puzzle. It’s going to be fun to see what strange puzzles others have created in this game.

“Create” mode is also a great lesson in simple game design for anyone interested. I usually skip “create your own level” modes in most games. I think it’s because there is usually too much freedom to build some great huge world. The restrictions and limited available space in OCO allowed the developer to build a simple and effective puzzle creation mode.

Any Problems?

I was hoping to decide whether I thought the Mobile or PC version of OCO was better overall. Instead I got to play a neat puzzle game on both platforms. Any time a game is exactly the same on mobile and PC (or console) that’s a great achievement — as long as it feels right on both. This is a relatively simplistic game, so that’s why it works on both the way it does.

The only problem I ran into a few times was whenever I was in a puzzle for too long I would start to get a bit dizzy from watching it spin over and over again — it was a bit hypnotizing. Also, there was one puzzle that continued to change directions pretty quickly and that started to sort of throw me off — it was still a great puzzle though.

While attempting to beat some “timed records” I was thinking that a stopwatch or countdown might be a nice addition while solving puzzles. However, I started to think how that would make the whole process more stressful and that the game is fine without showing the player a countdown.

Who’s OCO for?

I’ve had some fun with OCO over the past week, and I would recommend this game to anyone who is into complicated puzzle games and brain teasers. Even for casual puzzlers this game is fun and the puzzles are all easily solvable. It’s when you’re going for those three bars that the game can get more tricky and serious.

If you’re into the sort of puzzle games where you are trying to complete puzzles in as little moves as possible this is a great game for you. It also adds the timed element, which means you have to solve most levels more than just one way.

The great thing is that this game is totally free to play on mobile if you’d like to try it out there. I would do that. This is a great “waiting game” on mobile — as in a game you play while you “wait” for a doctor’s appointment, oil change or sitting around doing nothing.

OCO is out now for PC and Mac (via Steam).
It’s also free on iOS and Android mobile devices.

myVGBC.com was provided a review code for OCO on PC (via Steam)

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