It always feels a little weird writing about games that you’ve followed for a long time. Rebecca Cordingley and Ben Wasser, who together make the indie studio Glumberland, have been working on Ooblets since 2016. In that time, they’ve documented that process in detail on their website, and I’ve seen features being implemented, funding opportunities come and go, and I’ve met a lot of ooblets, too. Now Ooblets is available in Early Access via the Epic Game Store, a decision that was initially met with a striking amount of harassment. Apart from a few bugs here and there, it feels pretty finished, and if you’ve also been waiting for the game for a while, you can dig in without hesitation.
The most important thing about Ooblets are certainly the ooblets themselves. Ooblets are small creatures that grow from seeds and live in and around Badgetown. They only want to have fun and dance battle each other, the rest of the time they trail after their adopter or chill in their oobcoop. Yes, there is a sequence where you pick a club to affiliate with and a starter oob, but I’ve yet to see clubs make an impact beyond that. Ooblets will dance with you if you bring them something they like – a foodstuff or a dish, for example. Dance battles take the form of a deck building card game, and each of your little friends adds different cards to the mix. There’s much to love about the dance battles, from the ooblets watching it take place to the stage lighting and of course each oob’s little wriggly moves. Once you win, you can ask the ooblet you just beat to give you a seed which you can then plant to get yourself a new friend. It’s the sheer variation of ooblets that makes them such a joy, if you like cute little creatures you just want to meet them all and see them in action.
But Ooblets is also part farming sim. When you first arrive, you’re given a decrepit farm house and some land, on which you can’t only grow ooblets but all kinds of produce to sell or make into new ingredients and dishes. With the money you earn this way you can expand and decorate your farmhouse.