It’s said that skulls represent life. I was inclined to align with that saying up until I played Osteoblasts. You see, even if you play as an undead that could be mistaken for Skeletor’s ostracised child, life in Osteoblasts is a precious thing that you need to be mindful of. Sure, enemies might be few and far between when you start the game for the first time. But, the ones you meet have a real nasty bite. So you need to make sure that you have your health resources lined up and know how and when to use them.
Don’t get discouraged though. Osteoblasts might be a hard game, and deliberately so, but it’s by no means an unfair game. You have more than one way to regain health, both in and out of combat. As vulnerable as you are, so are the enemies. Well, that’s not entirely true. There is one enemy that plays by its own rules and can stand the test of time, and that enemy is RNG. Luckily that misery swings both ways. But, does that alone make Osteoblasts a balanced game? Of course not.
Quality of life
A balanced game can be derived from many things. The most known and talked about is math and how games handle it to provide a balanced experience. Balance can also come from forced interactions as is the case in Osteoblasts. You have to fight and kill enemies to move forward on the map. This adds to your pool of experience which makes it more likely that you’ll survive stronger enemies, and not just during the late game. This is obviously dependent on you and your ability to distribute skill points and make a class-specific build that outperforms everything the enemy decides to throw at it.
And while on the subject of things to throw. You can collect pebbles and use them as a weapon against your enemies. “Pebbles?”, I hear you say. Yes, pebbles. Believe it or not, pebbles can be extremely useful. You see, I’ve had more than one instance when they’ve been the sole reason for an enemy to lose a third of its health. It might be a novelty as far as a weapon’s appearance goes, it’s highly effective and puts a smile on my face every time I get a chance to use one.
Yeah, I know. There’s an “it’s the little things in life” pun hiding here somewhere. However, something that’s more important and not immediately apparent when you start the game is that Osteoblasts can be played with one hand. Yes, you read that right. You can control all aspects of the game with just your mouse if you want to. Let that sink in for a minute. Osteoblasts is an RPG with all that it entails, and you can control it with just two buttons. TWO BUTTONS!
Breath of life
This is highly subjective, of course, but as far as I’m concerned Osteoblasts breaths new life into an otherwise stale genre. You rarely see anything else than spiders as enemies and much less have the pleasure to experience new game mechanics in most roleplaying games. So when a game like Osteoblasts decides to steer clear from what’s considered safe and deliver something new, well, it’s worth some praise and my recommendation. Especially at this price point!
Now. Before you bid me adieu. Riddle me this. What came first. Life or death?
Disclaimer: Osteoblasts was provided to me by the publisher Moonana for review.