OIO is a puzzle platformer unlike anything you’ve played this year.
When a game is named after the shape of the protagonist’s face, you know you’re in for a very art-filled ride. OIO is a puzzle platformer that revolves around a single key mechanic, coupled with intense mystery as to who you are and what exactly is going on.
It all comes together wonderfully too, with some seriously clever puzzles and a story that barely ever explains itself straight out to you, yet manages to portray OIO’s journey perfectly.
OIO is a small wooden creature who awakens when a beam of light hits him. As he sets off on his adventure, he realises that all his friends are petrified, and frozen in place. As he makes his way towards his destination, it soon becomes apparent what has happened.
The first 15 minutes of OIO feel a little simple, as you jump over pits full of spikes and collect glowing orbs and ‘Fresks’. Then OIO finds magical powers, and everything changes.
By throwing magic balls at planets dotted around each level, he is able to create small trees that branch out of the ground, and can be connected to each other. In this way, OIO can raise himself up to out-of-reach platforms, and even create stairways he can climb up. However, he can only connect three branches together, or else the whole tree crumbles.
This encompasses the entire OIO experience, and yet it’s so much more than it sounds, with some brilliant puzzles to overcome. The amount of different ideas the game comes up with from this one simple mechanic is pretty immense, and we found OIO surprising us again and again.
It’s all so mysterious too, with the strange, gorgeous surroundings and the even stranger wooden people, frozen in a variety of different positions as you roam the land. Collecting enough Fresks will allow you to unlock the backstory, and discover exactly what is going on.
OIO is also rather lovely to look at, with deep, winding backdrops that are lovingly layered to give each level a real sense of epicness. You may be confined to a single plane, but there is definitely a huge world out there for OIO to explore.
While OIO is a fantastic platform-puzzler, it suffers from a lack of content. The main quest is only around 2-3 hours long, depending on how quickly your brain can wrap itself around the puzzles, and there’s nothing else to do beyond this.
For the cheap price, however, we fully recommend you give OIO a chance, and at least download the demo. Simple in its execution, this is a game unlike anything you’ll have played all year.