Through the years we have seen numerous ‘hardcore’ platformers, each with their own take on the genre. The most notable, and in turn the most recent, are Atari’s 2008 classic N+, putting you in control of a stick ninja trying to avoid traps and other such dangers while collecting gold to extend your life, and even more recently, Team Meat’s 2010 game, Super Meat Boy. Obsessive Collecting Disorder borrows heavily from these two games, using key dynamics from the titles, within the game.
The goal of Obsessive Collecting Disorder is fairly simple (At least in theory). You are a test subject, brought in for testing to assess the severity of the affliction that has swept the nation. The test facility (Named Crapeture Science, no less) provides the backdrop for numerous ‘tests’, which see you avoiding various obstacles including giant saw blades, laser beams and spike pits. The game is separated into 7 stages, with each stage containing 10 tests, each gradually increasing in both difficulty, and type of obstacle. It’s all very familiar stuff, and as stated previously, very reminiscent of games such as Super Meat Boy. However, Obsessive Collecting Disorder comes with an added twist. To complete any given test, you have to collect a full set of coins littered throughout the level. This can be harder than it sounds, due to some particularly sadistic level designs. If you’re feeling particularly brave, there is a hardcore setting that gives you just three lives to complete each stage with. This mode in particular, had me more frustrated than I’ve been playing a video game in a long while…
Aesthetically, Obsessive Collecting Disorder is about as simple as it gets. The main protagonist is nothing more than a simple stick man and the levels are set on a solid white backing, with only the odd splash of colour, often being the crimson spewing from your mutilated corpse. This is fine, however some variation, even if it were to swap colour pallets around every stage, would not have gone amiss.
In terms of level design, the game itself can get slightly repetitive. It’s a hazard that can be difficult to avoid with this type of platformer. As enjoyable as the game is early on, I couldn’t help but think that towards the end, I had played a number of the tests previously. New obstacles were apparent, as was my undying commitment to trying ‘just one more time’, however ultimately it all became far too familiar to hold an awful amount of anyone’s attention. That said, Obsessive Collecting Disorder only lasts around 1-2 hours on casual, depending on how many times you’re prepared to watch yourself fail miserably, and for me, that sort of timing is about right.
One of the game’s redeeming features, and one of the most important, is its controls. I was truly impressed at how well they handled, as I had feared the worst, particularly for a game in this genre. Jumps are a constant necessity, as is the ability to control where you are landing to perfection. I regularly found that if I’d missed a target, it was genuinely my fault for either pulling the RT trigger (which when held makes you run, and in turn making you jump farther) or just simply panicking to dodge an obstacle that I should have noticed from the get go. Levels
In its entirety, Obsessive Collecting Disorder is hit and miss. For an indie title, it’s a fairly solid entry, particularly as this is the Super Smith Bros first title. The controls are surprisingly tight, and with this particular type of game, that is crucial. Levels are fairly well designed, if not a tad repetitive, and the games length is just about spot on, in relation to the content on offer. That said, I was genuinely disappointed to see a game, from a genre I love, rip so heavily from the Portal franchise. This game could have gone about its business in its own unique way. Instead, for whatever reason, the developers have decided to copy some fairly iconic traits from Valves cult titles, right down to entering and leaving each test area through blue and orange portals. I’m all for humour, and OCD is amusing in the way it does end up portraying its Portal undertones, however I would have loved to have seen something far more original, in what is otherwise a tight entry into the indie category.
Ultimately, the Super Smith Bros have done a great job. As an introduction to the genre, you can’t get a lot better, without spending a LOT more. I can’t wait to see what these guys produce in the future, as there are some very promising aspects on show. For 80 MS points, you’d be crazy not to give it a try.
Obsessive Collecting Disorder is available now for 80MS on XBLIG Marketplace.