After yesterday's Abobo-extravaganza, I contemplated not doing a review today. Two at once? Then another the next day? Crazy.
But, no, here I am again, and this time I have a nice artsy game to balance out the madness that is Abobo: One and One Story. Trust me, this game is veeeeeeery different - but still really cool in its own way.
One and One Story is the tale of two lovers going through tumultuous times. The guy loves the girl, but the girl can't seem to quite make up her mind about him. The game follows their love, step-by-step, to a dramatic conclusion... well, okay, maybe it's not THAT dramatic, but it's touching. Emotional. Heartfelt. (Probably should've saved this game for Valentine's Day or something.) Could've used an editor at some points, but otherwise, okay. I buy it.
What makes One and One Story rather unique is that the narrative follows along with the game play. The game starts off with you switching between the boy and the girl in a series of shadowy levels filled with pushable blocks and platforms, trying to bring them together - but as the two start to feel differently towards each other, things change. For example, when the story says that the girl runs toward the boy whenever she sees him, she'll start doing that in the levels - and you'll need to be careful that she doesn't fall into a spiked pit. The mechanics change nearly a dozen times over the course of the story, each change corresponding to their romance. It's really neat idea, and it allows the game to re-use levels without them becoming stale, because you need to beat them differently each time.
Varies. One minute you're moving the two characters together, the next the boy can't jump, and the next the girl's free-wandering and you have to save her. In each case, however, the control scheme doesn't get much more complex than arrows for side-to-side movement and up to jump, with Z acting as a switcher between the two characters. (Though in the bonus game that's unlocked for completing the main game, you can control both the boy and the girl with the arrow and WASD keys simultaneously, which makes for an... interesting experience.)
My only comment on the controls is that jumping is not as responsive as I would like. On many occasions I hit up when approaching a ledge, only for my little shadow dude or dudette to plunge to their death without so much as lifting their leg. The levels aren't lengthy so this isn't a big deal, but it's still irksome.
Despite the fact that much of One and One Story is clad in darkness, it's still a hauntingly pretty game. There are lots of little background details - lamps, benches, trees, very park-oriented stuff - that shines amid the black, giving the game a misty, almost watercolour feel. Difficult to describe, but highly impressive in action.
Aside from two little sighs whenever your characters bite the bullet, One and One Story relies primarily on a few ghostly tracks that hint at a tragic love story in the making. They'd go well with any rainy day. (Which, as it happens, is the case from where I'm looking. What a lovely winter scene.)
As with the controls, the level of challenge varies from scenario to scenario. Some puzzles are much easier than others to solve, by virtue of the changing controls, and tough logic might dictate that One and One Story would get more and more difficult the further you get, this isn't always the case. It's just easier to handle some control schemes (switch between boy and girl) and others (control them both at the same time, both moving in opposite directions).
Overall, though, One and One Story is not too hard. It's tricky, yes, but not really hard. Expect a twenty minute romp through this game before you call it a day. (And, again, there's bonus material at the end. That gets a fair bit more difficult at times, though it also opens up the possibility of multiplayer. How cute.)
I like it. Really. One and One Story isn't robust or terribly exciting, but it does offer something few games can: a story that actually affects the game play in a meaningful way. Neat stuff.
PLAY ONE AND ONE STORY