After Ooki the Monkey falls asleep, a gang of crabs shows up and raids his collection of bananas. Upon waking, Ooki discovers the theft and sets off to the island, where the criminal crabs have stashed his valuables. Unfortunately, the island is home to more than just crabs, and Ooki will have to battle against everything from birds and mushrooms to ghosts and bats. Even worse, if Ooki dawdles too long, the dreaded all-powerful Devil Cat will show up to cause havoc.
Ookibloks originated as a mobile title, but thankfully the gameplay translates just as well to PC. The game actually feels like a forgotten title from the arcade era where its single-screen, classic action puzzler style would have fit right in. As expected, the goal of the game is to help Ooki recover the bananas, but doing so is not quite as straightforward as just grabbing them. Instead, each of the levels is tile-based and set in an enclosed, or semi-enclosed arena. Along with the banana blocks these arenas are also filled with enemies as well as blocks that can either help or hinder Ooki. To grab a banana, players must slam Ooki into the blocks that contain them, but the catch is that Ooki can only move in four directions and continues in whatever direction is selected until reaching an obstacle. If this obstacle happens to be an enemy or trap, Ooki will lose a life and have to restart the level. If it is a banana block, it will break and a combo timer will start running out. Players must then try and reach the next banana block before this timer is empty in order to keep the combo going and increase their score. It’s quite fast-paced and players must think on their feet to figure out where to send Ooki next while avoiding anything harmful. Players who are familiar with the classic Pokemon titles and their fondness for the ice-sliding puzzles will feel right at home with Ookibloks.
While it only takes one hit from anything harmful to kill Ooki, the monkey is not completely defenseless. Most levels also feature fruits growing out of certain blocks and if Ooki moves past these they will drop down. If they hit an enemy the enemy will be stunned for a brief period, during which players can smack into them with Ooki and knock them off the stage. Of course, the layouts of the levels mean that Ooki rarely has a straight path to victory and players must carefully plot their course for maximum efficiency and safety. The game can be quite frustrating at times due to obstacles, such as breakable blocks that can only be hit a certain amount of time and lava blocks that can heat up and kill Ooki for staying on them too long. Spiky blocks that rotate and enemies flying all over the place further contribute to the chaos. The worst offender, though, is Devil Cat, which shows up if players take too long and chase players down until either the level is cleared or Ooki dies. Once players figure out the solution each level can be completed very quickly, but having to deal with everything including the Devil Cat can be annoying at first. It is also possible to die due to a “ring out” if Ooki slingshots out of the stage by accident.
Ookibloks features more than one hundred levels and each new set not only introduces new challenges but also ends in a boss battle. The boss battles are actually quite fun and require a combination of quick reflexes and some puzzle-solving to complete. The game has bright, colorful visuals and each set of levels also has a theme, such as beach, volcano, snow, forest, and more. These levels are accessed from an overworld map of the island and provide players with some freedom when it comes to choosing the path they want to take. All ten stages of a level must be completed to move on, but players who are stuck can opt for a level that is set in a different direction.
Accompanying the action is a very catchy soundtrack and all seventeen tracks are included in MP3 format for players to listen outside the game. The sound effects also sound exactly as one would expect from a game of this type and overall the audio is good. Mobile titles that get ported to PC always come with the risk of bad controls, but thankfully this is not the case with Ookibloks. The game can be played with a keyboard or controller and both feel very responsive. Since the game continually introduces new elements, such as poles for Ooki to swing from, portals that teleport the monkey between them, and more, it never feels repetitive. There are some leftovers from the mobile version that feel somewhat useless, such as the lives. While it is possible to run out of lives, players can simply press “continue” and go on from the last stage that they reached. This makes the inclusion of extra lives in the “Ooki Balls” claw machine mini-game that can only be played once per day even more annoying. This mini-game is the only way to get the three power-ups in the game, so getting lives instead of an infinitely more useful power-up is annoying, to say the least. The power-ups include a helpful guide that shows Ooki exactly where to move to complete a level to a rocket that can chase away Devil Cat.
Overall, Ookibloks is a competent action puzzler that has plenty to offer for its low price tag. Completing all the levels alone will take a while and the replay value is further bolstered by daily challenges and a score attack mode, complete with leaderboards. For a change, the achievements in this game also require doing something a little more challenging than simply completing the levels. For example, there’s an achievement for clearing a specific level with a perfect combo, one for clearing a specific level without killing any enemies, and one for clearing a certain level without breaking any rock blocks. Fans of pure puzzle games might find Ooki to be a little too heavy on the action side as a lot of deaths can result from not timing your movements properly. Nevertheless, it’s a fun and challenging game with a lot to offer for a very low price tag.
- OS: Windows XP or later
- Processor: 1.5 GHz Processor or faster
- Memory: 256 MB RAM
- Graphics: OpenGL 1.1 compatible graphics card
- Hard Drive: 384 MB available space