OBEY has been out on Steam since May 2015, developed by Dan Dez and published by Lo-Fi Apocalypse Inc. But it's still in Early Access and that's always an unsettling sign when you're looking for a new game but your funds are limited. So let's analyze, "OBEY", after a weekend's play. You can buy it on Steam now for $14.99 USD.
GENRE AND OBJECTIVE
OBEY is a unique party game suitable for both casual play in between breaks, or intense party nights where strategy, stealth and deception can turn the tide of a game to your favor. Think of playing Guards and Prisoners with your friends and bots, where the Prisoners' only hope to win is to sneak behind the guards, knock them out and take on their roles.
The objective is simple: Control a 'Bunny', run around the map and amass the most money as quickly as possible. The methods aren't as simple: Collect junk and deposit it, or subvert (or overthrow) the player who currently controls ROBOSARU, the massive monkey-headed war machine equipped with missles, a flamethrower, an unlimited turret, and a limited range of sight; much more limited than those players controlling Bunnies. The Robot can also place Warning signs informing players that if they approach an area, they will either be gunned down, burned alive, given money as a lure, or simply give away their position to The Robot for the players to do as they please.
Since depositing certain junk can also boost the firepower and intimidation ROBOSARU (or simply "The Robot"), some players may try to cut a deal with the player controlling The Robot. "Let me live, and I'll rat out other players to you when they try to subvert you." This mutal relationship can allow a player to collect junk and amass more money more quickly without dying, and ensure the player controlling The Robot that they don't have to worry a can benefit both players. But in the end, it's all about making the most money so cooperation and obedience like this will only last so long.
Players can be bribed by one who controls The Robot in an attempt to earn obedience, and players can buy or collect junk to power the robot and halt other players: laser fences to box others in, mines and sentries to destroy others who don't wear the Loyalty Collar, and laser pointers to inform The Robot where to fire missles at disobedient players. Alternatively, the laser pointer can be used to fool The Robot and give other players a leg up in subverting The Robot.
In the end, a player wins when they have collected 10,000 cents or simply the most money when time runs out. Feasible tactics to win are as variable as your opponents' strategies: Cooperating with The Robot for extra 'protection', uniting with the other players and making it clear that everyone's out to one-up each other from the start, or switching loyalties and executing team maneuvers when it's convenient. It all comes down to each player's willingness to work together and deceive or obey.
Simple, untextured polygons make up the landscape and characters, giving the world a kid-friendly and cartoon-like feel. Sometimes the game slows down when The Robot fires too many missles or turrets, resulting in polygons and particle effects flooding the screen. This would often take the framerate down from 60FPS to 50FPS and then 20FPS after firing for 3 straight seconds. But for the most part, this game is quite friendly for lower-end computers.
Beyond the catchy title screen music, the only sounds are ambient background noises like crickets chirping, the squeaking of your Bunny as it jumps and hops, and the explosions and burning when the player controlling The Robot loses all control and patience with opponents. You won't need to rely on audio cues from the game itself, but being able to hear and understand, and communicate with other human players quickly is vital in order to overcoming other players.
The minimum requirements, as proposed by the developer, are 1.5GB RAM, a 128MB GeForce 8400 GPU, 300MB of available disk space, and a broadband internet connection or LAN. 8GB of RAM are recommended, however, along with a GeForce GTX 600 series GPU and 1GB of RAM. A working microphone and headset are highly recommende for playing with other players via internet, though you can still communiciate in-game with text. It won't be as funny, though, when the player controlling The Robot issues hilarious commands as tests of other players' loyalty. If you have poor internet connection, don't worry too much. You can still play a LAN game with bots who offer a simple yet mildly amusing challenge. Don't expect much conversation or variety, though, as bots offer one-sided, generic banter based on if you're close to winning or killing off a lot of players.
OBEY is an interesting concept made into a pretty fun game that can be even more fun when you play with some creative players who can have a laugh at their own expense. The cute simple graphics make a decent cover for the vicous, bloorthisty gaming experience that awaits you. If you and your friends obtain a copy of this game, get ready to test each others' patience and honesty, and learn who will truly OBEY and who makes no secret of who they're looking out for. Despite being in Early Acces, it feels done and that's okay with me. I would recommend shelling out the $14.99 USD apiece for it now if you and your friends are looking for a new game to play together (or against each other) on the weekends, and if you can get creative about challenges and demands.
SHOULD YOU BUY OBEY?
You'll probably like OBEY if:
1. You like casual multiplayer games,
2. You can get creative with rules and interactions,
3. You can stand to be a ruthless jerk and a liar, and have fun with it,
4. You can swallow your pride for a laugh,
5. You're amused by chubby squeaking hamster-bunnies,
6. You're fine with games that require routine and patience,
7. You like games that involve strategy and psyching out opponents,
8. You have friends to try new things like this with.
You probably won't like OBEY if:
1. You're a sore loser when it comes to competitive games,
2. You don't like competitive games to begin with,
3. You don't like simple graphics,
4. You prefer clear-cut objectives and rules over improvisation,
5. Your internet connection isn't stable,
6. You get impatient or stop enjoying routine gameplay after 20 minutes.