This must be one of the strangest games I’ve ever played (on console or iOS). I must’ve gone over the screenshots for the game 10-12 times, before I hunkered down and bought it.
Oquonie is a Maze
In my efforts to figure out what Oquonie is, I came across this review that paints a picture clear as day: Oquonie is a maze. Not a puzzle necessarily, but a maze.
You start off as a dinosaur-esque creature — long-necked reptile-looking thing with a suit and tie — in a 3X3 room. There’s either a door or an implied walkway to the next screen which is also a 3X3 room. You walk move from room to room of various dimensions, but all within the 3X3 maximum.
What made Oquonie most intriguing is that it does operate like a rubix cube or sliding puzzle, in that, to reach certain rooms, you need to go in a particular order. This was most apparent in the second(?) level, when you start walking in circles. There were only two doors (one in, one out) and I kept moving forward. Once I realized I was going in circles, I turned around assuming I’d missed something back the way I came. That was when I found myself in a completely new room.
It’s as though the walls are shifting and you need to get the timing right — I’m reminded of the classic horror film Cube where characters discovered they were in rotating blocks and only math would save them. But this is what made Oquonie fun… or at the very least, kept me coming back. You slowly discover how the puzzle works and it feels good when you do — especially since there’s no instruction or narration to tell you how. I didn’t even realize what the overworld was until I hit my third transformation.
There’s no end (really) and no objective to be met. You can complete each “level” two ways. One way gets you to the next level, the other way grows a tree and puts a totem outside the door. At the end of the game, you meet an alien, but outside of a “hello” (ish) nothing happens.
For awhile, I thought they were trying to demonstrate evolution… but you end up going from dinosaur to rabbit to bird to pig to chicken-thing? The chicken-thing looks like a cross between a chicken and Sponge-Bob… course, from there, you can become a literal “Cat-Fish” and then a cat in a turtleneck (featured above) which was adorable.
It’s like those “reading exercises…” do you know what I’m talking about? Those reading exercises like the stop sign that reads “Many people don’t read this this right,” and most of us don’t catch the repeated word. Or the reading exercise “wehre all we rlelay need is the frsit and lsat lteter to be the smae to raed” properly. Oquonie is like that because I had no idea where I was at first… but as I progressed, I started making a mental map of the world. That’s what it is! It’s an exercise in mental mapping!
Also, the Developers like to F*** with you
The game has a lot of whimsy. When the dinosaur finds the three totems, he’s super excited to turn into a rabbit… but then the rabbit appears and he’s groggy with blackened bags under his eyes.
Some rooms lead to nowhere (literally). There’s one that’s completely blank (no floor), just you to walk the 3X3 space.
There are some rooms where a developer makes a cameo appearance and usually in a f***ed up way with lines streaking down the walls, not to mention characters talk to you in indecipherable hieroglyphics.
What’s more is there are objects you can interact with — not many, but they’re there — and one recurring object in particular is a picture frame on each level. Of course, they look like maps… but maps drawn by one of the characters… making them wholly useless since there’s no legend or indication for what they’re supposed to represent. In the second level (I mentioned earlier) there was a circle with a couple lines around it. If that was supposed to be the indication that you need to walk clockwise and then counterclockwise, it wasn’t clear.
But that never bothered me. It’s a relaxing game, but you do have to think about your actions. If something is not working, you must be missing something… except when it glitches.
The game is so surreal as is, that I didn’t realize if my game was supposed to be glitching me about or not.
But after I closed it out and reopened it, I was alright. It only happened a few times, but I think it’s funny that — due to the nature of the game — it wasn’t obvious something was wrong.
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