by Marcus Estrada[divider] [dropcap]H[/dropcap]uman nature is prone to many things. When we are told to conform there are certain people who do as they’re told and those who lash out against said restrictions. In real life, many of us fall into the former category to some degree. It’s only within video games that we truly unleash ourselves – it’s safe to do so in the virtual world. But what happens when a video game is focused entirely around the concept of following orders? OBEY is that game, and it tackles this topic with surprising glee.
In OBEY you take control of a tiny white bunny. All other players jump in as bunnies too. So you’re bunch of adorable creatures in a large area filled with grass, small hills, and… a gigantic robot. At first, the game is a lot to take in because it feels unlike most other multiplayer titles around. At the start of a match you’re told to “get the most money” – but how? And why is there a dangerous-looking robot sitting in the middle of it all?
Here’s the gist. Someone will hop into the robot and there can only be one person controlling it at a time. The one controlling the robot gains access to a variety of deadly weapons which they can use to fry any bunny they aim at. If you’re not in the robot then you most certainly don’t want to die. To survive, you must show your subservience. By putting on a collar and/or depositing supplies to the robot you are showing the robot player that they are the leader. For obeying, they will likely toss money your way.
If you happen to be the lucky one behind the robot’s steering wheel then you decide who lives and dies and why. The longer you maintain your seat the more money you make as well. Keeping an iron grip on other rabbits is ideal, but it can be difficult. For one, you must survey the entire playfield to keep an eye on everyone. If they wear a collar then they are highlighted for easy viewing, but otherwise you’ve simply got to watch out for any rogue rabbits. Not only may they strike out on their own, but you never know if they may work together to cause serious trouble.
There’s other aspects at play, but this is just a simplified version of OBEY’s mechanics. These mechanics help foster multiplayer dynamics that are amazing to watch unfold. In one game players might end up in a Totalitarian-style play style. In another, a bunny uprising, or flat-out anarchy may occur. Really, it’s up to each player and their acceptance/rejection of “obeying” that makes each match unique. Although there may be other games out there that foster such gameplay, I have definitely never played one before.
OBEY never gets bogged down in the conceptual aspects. Joining a match with friends is tremendously fun as it is unpredictable. The cutesy visuals make everything utterly ridiculous as well. There’s nothing quite like watching as an adorable bunny only a few feet ahead gets torched by a sudden burst of flames. Although there are in-game markers which can direct players, you’d do best to set up a Skype/Google Hangouts/etc call with the other players beforehand. At least, that’s the case right now since the developer intends to add in-game voice chat if successfully funded.
Unlike most Kickstarters, this game is not just in the concept stages. It is already a fully playable product. I should know, as I’ve played it! The core mechanics are already solid and the gameplay is unique enough to draw attention. Here’s hoping it does get the push it needs as OBEY is a supremely odd (and enjoyable!) multiplayer experience.[divider] Pixel Pacas. Writing about video games is something he hopes to continue doing for many years to come. Some of Marcus’s favorite games include Silent Hill 2, Killer7, and The Sims. [/author]