Let’s get weird, everybody. I’ve got something for you to try but I entirely admit, it may not be for everyone. That being said, this is going to be one of those games that makes you think more than you realize. Today we’re talking about OBEY, the asymmetrical tyrannical leader simulator by Dan Dez.
In OBEY, your goal is very simple, be the first bunny to have a certain large amount of money. The default goal is usually about ten-thousand of what they call cents. Much like some of our favorite RPG games, whether you call it Gil or Zenny or even GP, it’s still money and it makes the world go round. So how do you get cents in OBEY? Easy! You are slowly rewarded with it over time.
In the center of the map, there is an absolutely massive robot/tower/turret, and you can just walk up to it and take control of it. Again, simple. Now the real problem is if there is someone controlling it already. If so, they will view your advance as an attack and you will be annihilated in seconds. Death will come to you so quickly you will not even see it happen, you will just respawn on a dropship about to be placed back in the pen to play with the others.
Those in control of the tower gain money at a much faster rate than the rest of the bunnies. Now that you are in control of nearly godlike power over the rest of the bunnies, you need to defend yourself from them. This is where the game’s rules end and your own laws begin. You see, as commander of the robot, you cannot build your own defenses; you can, however, order them to be built by the other bunnies. As the tower (or the bunnies) you can purchase items that get air dropped to the bunnies who can then pick up and use up to three at a time. One of the items available is laser fence posts that can be placed in a line to build a deadly fence that will kill anyone who touches it. As the bunny overlord and master of the robot, if you want a barrier built to funnel in an area, then you must tell the other players to build you that fence.
They do not have to do this, by the way. If they choose not to obey you, you can carry out the punishment of your choice. Guns, missiles, flamethrowers; all are perfectly viable options. If the bunny does not play this game of master versus servant, then he might not get a chance to lower the guard of his mechanical master and get close enough to overthrow him. So as a bunny, your lord calls upon you to build a laser fence, do you do it? If you were one of my bunny subjects you did. However, due to the top-down towering angle of vision given while controlling the robot, the bunnies in my world often put holes in the fence I could not quite see so they could slip through.
From your seat of power at the top of your mobile oppression robot, it is quite difficult to see those Prolet-HARE-iates, and thus, you pass them a new law. Over in game chat you deliver your ultimatum: “Rabbits caught without a tracking collar will be shot on sight.” With that. you call in an order for tracking collars, to be delivered with the next dropship that shows up (about every minute and a half). On your hud, there’s a large easy to see blip showing you where those collars are. So now when you see them moving about, you can easily track the movement of the bunnies. In the meantime you’ve been ordering lots of uranium. This is an item that easily earns quick cash and gives the bunnies something to do when they aren’t plotting regicide. You stop to take a roll-call. There are bunnies number one and two, but where’s three? Ah, there’s his collar, it appears to have stopped moving.
The revolutionist bastard ditched his collar in the river when he crossed it. Bunny 3 is now public enemy #1.
So now you’re scanning the hills and ridges with a giant but very focused spotlight. Looking for that chubby, panicking bunny. Although a rogue rabbit is a threat, beware: the other, more subservient rabbits have been waiting for a moment like this. While your eyes cast light on the back corners of the map, one fuzzy munchkin makes a dash for your doors. All he needs to do to usurp power is to step inside the front doors. He ditches his collar so he’s harder to see and you get an itch he might be at your doorstep. So you engage an electrical field that kills any nearby rabbits. For a short period of time, you feel safe as a cute corpse rests on your stoop. Where’s the third now? You can barely see him on the edge of your periphery as he picks up the dropped collar and uses it to walk right past the electrical field.
And now he controls the tower, and you do as he says, your regime effectively toppled. Do you obey long enough to strike, or are you already on the lamb, hiding under trees and behind hills, trying to get an opening to sneak up and take back your throne?
There are loads of other items that the robot may call down for you to use for him. Placing mines is a great way to sow chaos among the rabbits. Placing lights seems useless, but it easily illuminates more of the map for the turret to see without needing his spotlight on it. There are also forms of ammunition the rabbits can supply the robot with, batteries fuel the electrical field, and missiles and flamethrower fuel are also great add-ons to choose from.
Don’t forget to protect your power plan! A bunny can waltz up and discretely shut down a power plant, or even plug it with items to keep it shut down. When the plant is down, the robot suddenly stops making the grotesque amounts of money he normally accumulates. You’ll want to dispense orders to get a bunny IT to unplug the plant in order to turn it back on.
Maybe you order one rabbit to take a pointer and look for the missing bunny. The pointer is a tool that provides a large beacon that the robot can see. It’s a lot like a laser pointer for betraying your friends. Perhaps you’d like to incentivize this little bunny. You can place money markers on the ground that the Bunny-dict Arnold can collect from, then when he finds the fiend, you can point, shoot and further reward his treacherous behavior.
Obey is more like a social experiment disguised as a game. If you manage to get a good group of friends together you can and will have a lot of fun. This game’s biggest downfall is playing without proper communication or with random people on the internet. It could lose its fun factor for this reason. It would be like having a political debate with a mime; all he can really do is look angry and wordlessly sneer in your direction. Also, you can’t take it too seriously. After all, if you wanted to win so badly, you can simply kill everybunny, and wait for them to drop off the ship, and kill them again. Do this every ninety seconds, knowing you make more money than they, and will eventually win. But that’s not what this game is about. This game is about plotting and planning. OBEY is about biding your time for the perfect chance to strike. It’s about all the arbitrary rules you made when you were children playing tag in the park.
OBEY is a really enjoyable experience that is made better by your capacity to be a manipulative jerk. I strongly suggest assembling a mob of friends and getting involved with the anarchy and betrayal of OBEY. It’s weird, it’s unique, it’s cute, and more importantly, it’s tearing apart friendships in that very special way only games like this can achieve. We loved it.
OBEY is currently in Early Access, and can be purchased on Steam.