Owlboy - PS4

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Owlboy (PS4)
Also for: Switch
Viewed: 2D Side-on, Scrolling Genre:
Platform
Media: Blu-Ray Arcade origin:No
Developer: D-Pad Studio Soft. Co.: D-Pad Studio
Publishers: Soedesco (GB)
Released: 29 May 2018 (GB)
Ratings: PEGI 7+
No Accessories: No accessories

Summary

At a glance there's not anything to obviously set Owlboy apart. At its heart, it's simply a retro platformer that harks back to the 1990s, the golden age of 2D platforming. You don't, however, get to become a critical darling for no reason and Owlboy has already won hearts and minds across the gaming world.

Much of Owlboy's appeal comes from the charming coming of age tale at its heart. Otus is grappling with all the normal things facing us on our way to adulthood when the seemingly endless skies of his home world are invaded by pirates. There's a lot of love on show in the many interactions he has with his friends as he attempts to repel the invasion. That also spills over into the platforming mechanics. Something that separates Owlboy apart from the pack is that he can fly at will, unburdened by the usual restrictions such as stamina meters. Bring his friends, many of whom have location-specific abilities, and you've got a powerful engine for puzzle solving and action.

For such a seemingly simple game, Owlboy has certainly been a long time coming. It began life waaaay back in 2007, and that long gestation period shows in the attention to detail and fine tuning that can be seen in everything from the well balanced mechanics to the charming 2D pixel art. The expressions and character acting captured in the game are a powerful achievement in such a straightforward and retro art style.

Owlboy is, at its core, an invitation to fall in love with the platforming you swooned at in the 90s all over again.