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“ibb and obb”, upside down puzzles

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ibb and obb is a game we play with Diego (11), my eldest son.

The game is about two characters, ibb is green and obb is pink, that walk, jump and collect crystals in a colorful abstract world. Quickly, the characters discover that the world is split in two halves. In the bottom half, the world is upside down so the characters “fall upwards”.

So far, it seems simple.

ibb and obb screenshot
ibb, where are you?

To cross from one side to the other, there are some special kind of portals, which may be on the floor or in the walls. When jumping to the portals, the characters flip around and a long fall turns into a big jump across.

These simple mechanics can be harnessed to get to places that cannot be reached otherwise. For example, you can use the momentum of the fall from a high place to quickly pass through a doorway and turn the fall into a huge jump on the other side of the world, reaching distant platforms or crystals.


Portals in ibb and obb

It doesn’t sound too complicated, does it?

There is nothing simple in ibb and obb

Characters can also jump on top of each other and if they jump in concert, they can reach higher than if they try separately. Together with the ingenious use of portals, they can get into far places.

Some platforms seem to have life, some are still and others are jumping; those ones also work like a trampoline. On the other hand, there are some portals that are either green or pink, and only the character matching the color can pass through while the other hits like a wall or solid floor. The combination of those colored portals usually leads to situations in which a character must stay temporarily locked while the other solves the puzzle and then unlocks him.

Of course, there are also enemies in ibb and obb.

In one half of the world, these enemies are black and have thorns; if either player touches an enemy, both ibb and obb instantly die and they have to start the puzzle all over again.

In the other half of the world, however, the enemies have a mirror version moving symmetrically, but it’s white and vulnerable. If a player touches the white version of an enemy, he defeats it instantly. The enemy disappears and leaves some crystals as a reward, which should be quickly collected before they disappear.


Enemies in ibb and obb
Each enemy has two versions: the black one hurts the player while the white one is vulnerable. So in this situation, while ibb (pink) is forced to dodge the enemies, obb (green) can just touch them.

Of course, the most difficult puzzles include enemies in places that actually impede the progress of the players, forcing them to find clever ways to avoid them, then switch to the other side of the world and finally attack the enemies on their white side.

And that’s not all of it.

Additionally, there are areas / clouds / abstract round things that drive ibb and obb in the air and then disappear. Oh, and of course there are dark levels in which you can just see the players and almost anything else, or places at which if ibb or obb fall, they will appear on the other side of the world. All of these details make levels an adventure and a unique challenge.

And, by the way, there are also secret levels, as it should be in any game made ​​with love (and enough time and resources).

So, if there is still any doubt, ibb and obb is not a simple game.

Team work

The greatest merit of ibb and obb is that it’s genuinely designed to be a 100% cooperative game. All puzzles without exception require great cooperation between players.

In the most difficult sections of the game, not only it requires collaboration but also perfect timing and coordination to achieve the objectives and to move on to the next puzzle. Sometimes it can get a little frustrating, but the feeling of triumph when solving some of the biggest challenges is incredibly satisfying.

The designers of ibb and obb did a wonderful job creating a huge variety of puzzles in which players must, quite literally, rack their brains to find out how to move forward. The following image is an example of such a situation:


Hard puzzle in ibb and obb
What if I jump through the portal so that later you jump while I cross and you go up over my head and then jump higher and get ….? Nah…

I know that we already solved this puzzle with Diego, but I honestly don’t have a clue what we did it.

(continues on next page…)

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Juan Pablo Lastra

Juan Pablo makes videogames since he was 8 and he is a father since 2004. Today, he has three children and he has worked in more than 20 videogames. He got interested on how paternity and the videogame industry are related and he decided to write about it, founding "Papa Game Dev"

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