Everything about Ookibloks – from its name to its art to its music – makes you wonder whether you’re rediscovering some lost arcade classic. It’s a game that feels old-fashioned in the best way: its bright, happy visuals belie a fierce but fair challenge, its controls are simple and responsive, and its cheerful soundtrack will soon be on your brain’s internal Spotify playlist.
Vertical and horizontal swipes send your simian avatar hurtling through block mazes, your objective being to hit every banana block within. You can avoid the patrolling enemies – swimming penguins, hovering pterodactyls, dive-bombing hermit crabs – but often you’ll be forced to remove them from the equation by stunning them with a piece of hanging fruit you’ve dislodged and striking them before they recover.
Though the goal never changes, the levels grow steadily more devious in design, adding various special tiles without ever losing that irresistible simplicity; indeed, new items or enemies are introduced without explanation, and none is required. You’re rewarded for speed with combo multipliers, though obtaining the last few bananas often requires careful thought. Yet you’ll be punished for dawdling: the invincible Devil Cat will appear after a while, prompting a frantic dash for the final blocks.
Purchasable power-ups, while a welcome option for those who want to see the later levels, rather dissipate the tension, but these are the only misstep. With a clutch of intricate puzzle stages and some tough daily challenges for players chasing mastery, Ookibloks challenges mind and thumbs in equal measure.
Ookibloks is free, and out now on iOS.