iO Review

iO 1

Game Title: iO
Developer: Gamious
Platform: PlayStation Vita
Game Type: Vita
Download: 470 MB
NA Availability: Digital Download
EU Availability: Digital Download
PSTV Support: No

Valentine’s Day hasn’t been a particularly big day to be remembered for game releases, though it has been known to happen.  For PlayStation fans, this past Valentine’s Day fell on Tuesday, the day every week when new games release on the PlayStation 4, PlayStation 3, and PlayStation Vita systems.  And it’s also a day for surprises.

This week, I was surprised with a game that was to be released on Valentine’s Day that I’d never heard of.  I always try to keep up on all of the upcoming games for the Vita, but this one had me stumped.  Thankfully, the developer reached out and offered me a review code so I could check it out and bring you guys some coverage.

If you’re a fan of physics platformers, here’s my review of the game called iO!

Story

Due to iO having no story, this section shall remain blank.

Gameplay

iO 2

iO is, in fact, not the name of the newest product from the Apple Corporation.  It is a physics platformer that involves shrinking and growing.  In each stage, you’ll be using momentum and size-changing mechanics to get your sphere from the start of the stage do the end point across obstacles and other hazards in your way.

The game has 3 different sets of levels for you to tackle.  A group of 25 tutorial stages to teach you the mechanics of the game, 5 sets of level for the main campaign, and finally a set of 75 Advanced levels to test your skills to the extreme.

The basic mechanic you have in this game is the ability to change your sphere’s size.  In each stage, you have platforms to cross, climb, jump over, or simply ride across.  To get through these areas, you will have to grow and shrink the sphere as you roll it for a variety of reasons.  Some stages need you to shrink it small enough to fit through a tight gap, while others have you shrink it to pick up speed to make a long jump.

It starts off pretty simple, with stages that just have you shrinking or growing to go through simple openings and slants and then it gets much more complex.  The game steadily adds moving platforms to traverse, weight-oriented platforms you need to knock over lava pits, and all the way to using momentum to slam into walls and shrink or grow to climb them.  It is very extensive and some of it even has you jumping into open space and using weight intricately to guide yourself under platforms to find the end point.\

iO 3

The simple aspect of the game is one thing that I like.  Many of the puzzles are difficult, but they’re all short enough that you won’t lose all that much progress with frustration if you fail.  The most you’ll spend on a single one is maybe 10 or 20 seconds aside from looking and setting up what you need to do.  It’s a very easy-to-grasp puzzle game while remaining challenging at the same time.

Length isn’t really that far, overall.  There are around 225 levels total and each level shouldn’t take you more than a minute or so to tackle.  So, that leaves you with around 3.5 hours of game to tackle.  Or, if you’re really bad at puzzle games, it could last a lot longer.  Now, this isn’t bad at all for the price of around $7.99.  It’s not great, but it’s not bad.  For me, paying $8 for nearly 4 hours of gameplay isn’t all that bad (especially when some people pay $40-60 for First-Person Shooting Games that only offer 5-7 hours)

Controls

iO is one of the many smaller indie games that are NOT compatible with the PlayStation TV.  So, users of the micro-console will not be able to play this game on the big screen.  As far as controls, though, there’s nothing the game does the PSTV can’t do, as all controls are button controls.

Speaking of controls, things go pretty simple.  You can use the Left Analog Stick and the Left/Right buttons on the D-Pad to move your sphere around in each stage.  The Right Analog Stick and the Up/Down buttons on the D-Pad are used for shrinking and growing the sphere.  Finally, you can use the Circle button to pause your game and the Triangle button to reset the stage.  Aside from using X in menus to select options, that’s all there is to it.

Presentation

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Visually, the game has a very basic and simple graphics engine.  What is there does show itself in very smooth graphics, but with how simple it is, that is not hard to do.

Music is the only thing I’d complain about with presentation, simply because the entire game only has a single music track.  The track plays indefinitely through menus, title, and stages.  There’s no variety in things.

Performance I can’t say anything bad about.  Frame-rate is always steady, load times are almost nonexistent and the game overall stays really stable all the way through.

Summary

iO is a simple game with a simple name and a simple premise.  The only real downside of the game is the fact that it only has a single music track.  If you’re looking for a simple platformer to give you a challenge for a few hours, you could definitely pick worse from the Vita’s library.  It’s a fun little time-waster. 

9/10

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