Mina and Michi

Remember ibb & obb? That’s a colorful co-op indie game originally released on PS3. It’s on Switch and PC, too, but I first played it when it launched back in the summer of 2013. It’s a fun little puzzler that’s meant to be played with someone else, but you could totally play it yourself. Mina & Michi from lightUP is a lot like it — it’s charming, kind of adorable, and it’s best when played with another human person. You can play it solo, and it’s still fun, but doing so might make you realize just how alone you are.

In Mina & Michi, you play as Mina and Michi. Mina’s a girl. Michi’s a… creature? I don’t know. It has horns and blue fur. Or is that skin? Whatever it is, I wish I had one of those. I could’ve used a Michi of my own while playing. At the very least, I wish my dog would’ve gained human-like logic and thumbs, but instead he just slept and continued being a normal dog while I played.

Anyway, Mina & Michi is actually a very nice little game. You walk around top-down, seasonally-themed levels defeating blobs and solving puzzles. The puzzles are simple enough, requiring block-pushing, switch-triggering, and so on. It’s nothing all that taxing, but it doesn’t need to be because Mina & Michi is very much a game that’s meant to give the player — or players, if you have someone to play with — those mellow, chill vibes.

Mina and Michi

Along the way, you can unlock health and attack upgrades for both Mina and Michi. Because the game’s not very difficult to begin with, these don’t make too much of a difference, but they’re nice to have. It’s just cool discovering little treasure chests and gems everywhere because the game’s pixelated world is super endearing and fun to explore.

If you do opt to go it alone (or you have no choice), your controller is essentially cut in half, with one side controlling Mina and the other controlling Michi. You control both characters with separate analog sticks, which can be a bit jarring, and I never really got used to it. Instead, I would just hide Mina in a corner while I destroyed blobs with the invincible Michi. The screen does stop scrolling after a while, so I’d have to move Mina closer to Michi, which was kind of a hassle.

It’s problematic because the characters can get kind of stuck if you’re too close to a wall and try to turn into it. I imagine this isn’t a huge problem if you’re only worrying about one character, but because I was trying to control both of them, I stumbled into this problem — and into those brightly colored pixel walls — fairly often. I wish solo play would’ve allowed me to play as a single character and then summon the other character in those moments when I needed to step on pressure-sensitive switches for opening doors.

Mina and Michi

I really love the look of Mina & Michi. It gives me all kinds of nice vibes and reminds me of old school Game Boy Color games and RPGs like EarthBound. It’s a very nice-looking game — a brightly colored façade that juxtaposed the darkness that is my solitary life. By the way, I’m not yearning for a soulmate. I just wish I could’ve played with someone — like my nine-year-old nephew, but that kid’s all the way in Texas, and it would take him a while to hitch a ride to California, where I live.

If you’re playing with a friend, a spouse, or a kid, you can probably get through Mina & Michi in about an hour or so. Because I played alone on account having absolutely no one, it took me just under two hours. Either way, at just $5, you get a nice little top-down puzzle adventure that’s fun for an evening.

Or sad, depending on your experience.

Mina and Michi

Oh, yeah, I almost forgot: There’s a button command that lets Mina pet Michi. If you’re playing alone, it’ll probably give you the warm and fuzzies, which should help you forget about the sad and lonelies.

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