Although Animal Crossing released just a few short months ago, a number of fans aren’t playing it much these days, either due to burn out or other games to pay attention to. But for those pining for a brand new wholesome experience, Ooblets recently released in Early Access for Xbox One and PC via the Epic Games Store.

In Ooblets, you play as a non-binary created character who has just moved to Badgetown, a rather peaceful place where adorable, friendly creatures called Ooblets roam free. You don’t just encounter these Ooblets in tall grass, however, and it gets a little more complex than that. In order to go against any wild Ooblets roaming around town, you have to have a certain amount of the specific item they ask for. In the beginning, it starts off simple with items you can just find around town, but as you progress the items become rarer or something you need a recipe or mixture of different ingredients to make.

While you do battle your team of Ooblets against others, they don’t fight. Instead, Ooblets compete with each other via turn-based dance battles. Moves are determined by the cards you draw, and each card costs a number of beats (basically SP). You can increase beats with certain cards or by using cards that give your Ooblets hype. Adversely, you can decrease your opponent’s beats by using fluster. You can also stun your opponents and steal their points with specific cards as long as you have the right ooblets for the job.

When you win an Ooblet dance battle, one of the opposing Ooblets will offer you a seed you can use to grow your very own Ooblet of that species. The only downside to this is that when battling against a group of mixed Ooblets you may be offered the seed for an Ooblet you already have. Battling against Ooblets you already have isn’t a complete waste of time, however, and these wild ooblets get stronger over time, making battles more challenging. There are also three different kinds of Ooblet rarities: Common, Uncommon, and Gleamy. Common Ooblets are the ones you see the most, uncommon Oooblets have an alternate color and you see them every once in a while, and Gleamies are the rarest, having another alternate color and also being sparkly. While plenty of Ooblets are adorable, my personal favorites are the weirder looking ones like Bittle and Oogums, but I’m always excited when I find a new Ooblet to add to my group.

While growing, collecting, and battling Ooblets is the real meat of the game, there are other things you can do too such as collecting items and completing tasks around town. Tasks typically help a specific neighbor or the town in some way, and you’re compensated for them once they’re done. With the money you earn from completing tasks you can do things like buy seeds you might need for ingredients or to battle against certain Ooblets, buy new clothes and furniture, or even upgrade your house.

My biggest problem right now is how certain aspects in Ooblets are affected by in-game time. Crops and Ooblets take time to grow and that’s fine — plus you can pretty easily get items to speed up growth — but the amount you have to grow to complete specific tasks can take a while. It also has to be night in-game before you can go to bed to gain experience accumulated from that day and move on to the next. In the early game, this leaves some space where maybe you can battle some Ooblets you already have and level up your team, but otherwise, you might just find yourself walking around aimlessly until it’s time to go home and go to bed. Different actions also use up energy, which can be replenished by consuming different types of food. If you’ve used up enough energy and it’s still the middle of the day, you can take a nap to recharge and speed up the day a little bit. Although I’m still figuring out the best ways to use up energy, napping has proven to be a great way to speed up in-game time if only just a little.

Another problem is that a lot of tasks and upgrades to your farm require a lot of resources that you aren’t able to obtain that quickly. You can, maybe, get a few of the needed resources for something once a day if you’re lucky. With how many tasks require the same supplies, you better be ready to focus on one thing at a time, maybe two if you have a task that requires supplies the other doesn’t need. So yet again, in-game time becomes more detrimental than beneficial, although it seems like it’ll hopefully get faster as I progress but I just wish I could get through the early parts a bit faster.

As Ooblets is an Early Access title, some bugs are still being worked on. Unfortunately, one of these bugs may randomly cause you to not be able to open your save file. Luckily it can be fixed easily but there’s no guarantee.

Although it’s only in Early Access and on two platforms right now, it has been stated that it could be seen on others in the future. Ooblets is getting a decent amount of attention at the moment, but I think putting it on more platforms in the future, including Nintendo Switch, has the potential to make its popularity explode.

Ooblets is available Xbox One via Xbox Game Preview and PC via the Epic Games Store.

Code was provided by the publisher.

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Erroll Maas
Erroll is a writer with an enthusiastic love of Japanese monsters and the games which feature them, from Pokemon to Power Rangers to Pacific Rim and everything in between. You can learn more about this and plenty of other games and nerdy things by following @errollm

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