“Gravity isn’t what it used to be.”
That’s the quip at the heart of Ibb and Obb, but it’s probably not entirely fair on Gravity – who is always in the room and ready to bring the ground rushing up to meet your face should you say the wrong thing.
In this puzzle platformer, gravity’s about half there. Levels are split horizontally down the middle, and in the bottom half physics is reversed. Mario taught us to hate bottomless chasms – but where’s the worry when the floor is paved with sky?
Bobbing from one half to the other, via a ‘warp’, looks a lot like lining up two of Valve’s portals next to each other and hopping in – and the puzzles that spring from them have more than a whiff of Portal about them too.
We’re used to hearing about student prototypes buying developers their first jobs – but fittingly enough, Ibb and Obb’s story is flip-reversed. Richard Boeser worked at Guerilla Games until fellow Delft Technical University alumnus Roland IJzermans made ripples at E3 2007 with his graduation project – an early version of Ibb and Obb.
Boeser promptly left through the revolving door of AAA, and the pair became Sparpweed. Backed up by the programmers, artists and animators at fellow Dutch indie outfitCodeglue, they developed and released Ibb and Obb for PSN – and now they’re doing the same for Steam.
Ibb and Obb make their way through levels by jumping back and forth across their gravity line, making a mockery of so-called physics in the name of a good time. As you can see, activity is loosely mirrored between the top and bottom halves of the screen. That means the two players are able to do each other favours, with the aim of collecting diamonds, “soulhopping” enemies, and “surfing on gravity”.
It’ll be on PCs this year, and comes recommended by Gunpoint’s Tom Francis, who knows some things about flinging player characters across 2D screens. You tempted at all?