MiniGames: A Review of Sina Weibo’s ‘One and One Story’
C. Custer | On February 21, 2012 at 7:00 pm
In a bid to monetize its user-friendly but financially dragging giant, Sina recently imbued its Weibo microblogging platform with its own currency — the weibi — and games. But are these games actually any good? I dove into a few of them to find out. This is the seventh in a series of reviews of Sina Weibo games.
One and One Story is the casual game I wish I’d been playing this whole time instead of slogging my way through all those other dumb games. Put simply, One and One Story rocks.
Unfortunately, I have to start off by saying that One and One Story wasn’t developed in China. It was actually put together by an Italian team and it has been around for a little while (you can play it in English here).
But it’s a testament to how well the localization team for Sina did that I didn’t realize this until the credits rolled at the end of the game’s story mode. The localization is excellently done, and clearly the team put some real time and effort into everything down to the Chinese fonts they chose. And it seems like Chinese gamers are liking it as much as I did, as the game has a very high 4.4/5 user rating on the site as of when I started playing.
One on One Story is a short but very clever puzzle platformer. Its story is simple, and revolves around the relationship between a man and a woman. In each level, the player must overcome obstacles to unite the couple, but gameplay tweaks ensure the puzzles stay fresh. In each chapter, what the player can do is a little different — in one, you can switch from controlling the man to the woman at will. In another, the woman moves automatically in the same direction you send the man. In another, she moves opposite him. Sometimes, she moves on her own. This might sound tiresome, but it’s actually wonderful; it keeps gameplay fresh and the puzzles interesting. Check out the video below for some sample gameplay.
More importantly, the gameplay actually contributes to the story; the couple are drawn together and pushed apart by changing external forces. Ultimately, it is will — here, the will of the player — that keeps them together. It’s hard to play this game and not reflect a bit on one’s own relationships. No, I’m not kidding.
Of course, the gorgeous design and immersive music help by setting the mood perfectly. It’s hard not to keep playing, and in fact the main disappointment of the game is that it is so short. (Then again, though, better a short but good game than a long but mediocre one). I could nitpick a bit and say the controls are a bit loose, and the sound effects (of which there are few) could be improved upon, but who cares. The bottom line is that you should check out this game.
Although it’s not a Chinese game, I think there is a lot about it that suggests good things may be coming to Weibo’s games platform. First, they’re obviously willing to license top-quality games and, moreover, take the time to do a great job of localizing them. That bodes well for Chinese casual gamers. So too does the fact that the game is being featured on the Weibo Games frontpage, and that it is so highly rated by users. Demand for games of this quality will hopefully push Chinese developers in new and creative directions and away from the cookie-cutter crap that’s all over the service right now.