Sokpop Collective’s newly released Bamboo Ep truly lives up to it’s name. The collection of three short bamboo-themed games is perfectly described by those recordings longer than a single, shorter than an album, and definitely worth listening to. Bamboo Moon, Bamboo Ball, and Bamboo Heart are the playful and intuitive tracks combined to make this cohesive EP.
Bamboo Moon is an interactive menu where you swim across a pond planet complete with fish, frogs, lillypads, and, of course, bamboo to get to the other games. Bamboo Ball pits you against another player in a dodgeball-esque match where you try and destroy the other player’s bamboo posts lying behind various obstacles (bamboo). Different seasons are used as maps, with beach balls in the summer, gusts of wind in the fall, and snowballs in the winter. Bamboo Heart puts you in the shoes of a wronged sword-wielding bunny. You frantically slice your way through foe after foe in search of your real heart, after yours was replaced (with bamboo). Both Bamboo Heart and Bamboo Ball feature local multiplayer for one-on-one matches.
— Diamond Tio (@TijmenTio) October 18, 2016
What makes Bamboo EP stand apart from other games is it’s depth of interactivity. Each part of the pixely rendered game makes sounds, bounces, ripples, sways, pops, and any other possible movement you can think of. In Bamboo Moon frogs and fish are curious but swim away when you make contact with a splash or a strange “woimp.” Even though you don’t need to look far for the entrances I found myself compelled to explore the tiny moon and bump into everything I could. As Bamboo Ball changes seasons what seems like decorative bees sting you, snowmen watch as snowballs fly by, and snails express shock in the form of :o’s when you step on them. Nearly everything is vibrantly alive, and alive to the point where it’s not a surprise when that butterfly you hit is sad or sentient bamboo with arms blows a whistle to tell you the match is over. Even worms have their place.
added realistic worms pic.twitter.com/0dDdfZsbdL
— Tom van den Boogaart (@TomBoogaart) October 13, 2016
— nice try, toby!!! (@rubna_) November 19, 2016
This sense of life is what makes Bamboo EP so enjoyable. It reminds me that you don’t always need a goal, a way to beat the game, to unlock all the achievements, or figure everything out. Sometimes all you need is a pond to explore and frogs to catch.