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, where are you?
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.


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.

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.
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:

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…
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.

Expert opinion

For this article, I wanted Diego to also contribute with his opinion, so I asked him three questions:

Dad: “What do you like of playing ibb and obb?”
Diego: “That we play it together as a team”

Dad: “Is there any section of the game that you especially enjoyed? Why did you like it so much?”
Diego: “The first big crystal, because it was a challenge and we had to work hard as a team”

Dad: “Do you feel that ibb and obb is easy or hard? Why?”
Diego: “It is difficult, because it makes you think about logic, precision and time. It’s a big challenge.”

The hardest part that Diego mentioned is the first secret level that we found a few weeks ago:

“Nooo, you got to be kidding me, how are we supposed to get there?”
“Nooo, you got to be kidding me, how are we supposed to get there?”

Getting the white crystal in the upper left corner of the image took us around an hour. Half of that time was only about trying to understand how the puzzle was supposed to be solved, trying different plans we made. Once we finally understood what we had to do, we spend the rest of the time just trying to execute the full sequence of perfectly coordinated steps.

I guess we tries around a hundred times, more or less. No kidding.

Hence, it’s understandable that when we finally got it, the victory celebration was heard several blocks around.

Why do I play ibb and obb with my kid?

ibb and obb forces players to think, to question the problem they are facing and find a way to resolve it with the few tools that they have at hand.

Naturally, the players practice different problem solving methodologies such as identifying and discarding infeasible solutions, or breaking the big problem into smaller problems that can be solved sequentially, etc.

The game also emphasizes the importance and benefits of teamwork, and shows how counting and relying on the skills of both team members helps them achieve the common goal, which would not be possible if they try alone.

The frustration tolerance is also fostered in ibb and obb. Sometimes it really makes you thing about shattering the control against the wall, because the only apparent solution seems quite impossible. Trying again, without getting frustrated, becomes a true challenge and a nice learning path.

It is, in short, an excellent opportunity for a parent to guide the child in the growth of these skills, while having fun together.

Of course, now they turn off the light…
Of course, now they turn off the light…

Well, and most importantly, the game is super fun.

We have spent several months playing ibb and obb with Diego, a couple of hours every weekend. As we move through the levels, the puzzles have become more difficult and the moments of frustration followed by other moments of great joy have also increased. It is usual to hear us say:

“But Dad, you missed it, I had to jump before you!!!”

“Diego, nooo, not that way. Start jumping over my head, then to the platform, but just before the black enemy passes!!”

“Daddy, run, run, run, run, run, nooooooooooooooooo, you jumped before!!!!”

“Diego …. Are you sure that this is the easiest way to solve this? … Is it too much?”

“YESSSSSS, WE DID IT!!!!! WE ARE SO COOL!!!” As if we had just found a cure for cancer.

Undoubtedly, we have had a great time. I highly recommend playing ibb and obb with your children (and I bet playing with friends is also fun!)

ibb and obb datasheet

Videogame name: ibb and obb
Videogame genre: Puzzles
Game modes: Two players (cooperative), one player (very hard)
Recommended age: 8 and older (good motor skills needed)
Typical play session length: 1 hour
Developer: Sparpweed
Platforms: PlayStation 3, PC, Mac, Linux
Website: ibbandobb.com