Only Up! is a low-budget indie platformer game that has caught the attention of many gamers worldwide. The game is about climbing to the top of a weird, floating structure made of railway tracks, giant slices of fruit, floating islands, and things far weirder than that. The game’s concept is simple: You are Jackie, who is desperately trying to escape the poverty of the slum in which you live. To do so, you embark on a journey inspired by the tale of Jack and the Beanstalk, climbing ever upward into the unknown.
At the time of writing, nearly 150,000 people are watching Only Up! on Twitch. The top channel on the Only Up! category right now belongs to xQc, who has 71,000 people watching him play. The game is played from the third-person perspective, and you can walk, run, jump, or mantle onto things. Even if you fall from miles up in the sky, you’ll lose progress but not your life when you land.
The Alluring Strangeness of Only Up!
Mechanically, Only Up! is quite simple, but it’s a little janky. There are some fairly obvious clipping errors, and the voice acting is repetitive and decidedly not great. The game reaches for some level of profundity, but it mostly just comes off as weird and bizarre. Nevertheless, there’s something about the game that’s oddly alluring. It’s kind of beautiful in its strangeness and simplicity.
There are many moments where the way forward isn’t clear, so you are forced to stop and examine your surroundings fairly closely. You may feel a powerful childlike fantasy vibe that really gives you that “let’s just see what’s around the next corner” feeling. Falling is incredibly frustrating, but with a little care, you can avoid it. Only Up! also has “slow walking” and “slow motion” options, so you can really creep along if you need to.
Despite the game’s lack of saving feature and mixed user reviews, people still watch and play it. If you enjoy streamers who get mad and yell and scream and freak out, Only Up! definitely has the potential to set some of them off. If you’re in the mood for a quiet, simple, “what’s next?” journey that may or may not make any sense when it’s all over, it could be that, too.
The NFT Aspect of Only Up!
There’s also unhappiness with Only Up!’s adjacency to NFTs. You’re not buying NFTs in-game, but various images from the Goblintown NFT series can be seen in locations throughout the game. The title of the game also appears to be a play on “Up Only,” a fairly well-known phrase in the world of NFTs, which among other things, was the title of a once-popular NFT-related podcast. NFT app Floor recently launched a new feature called “Up Only” mode.
The player character’s jacket has the Goblintown logo on the back, and there’s actually a Goblintown mask you can put on at the start of the game. There’s no visible disclosure of a connection, so most of that will probably go unnoticed by most players, but clearly, there’s some kind of connection, with Goblintown also now selling official, real-world Only Up! hoodies and t-shirts, at ridiculously inflated prices.
It feels sketchy, and yet there’s something about the game that’s also oddly alluring. Despite all that, people still watch and play it. For the record, there is an end to Only Up!: Newly-crowned king of Twitch Kai Cenat played through it from start to finish last week—a stream that, according to TwitchTrakcer, is what touched off Only Up’s sudden surge in popularity.
Only Up! is a simple, low-budget indie platformer game that has captured the attention of many gamers worldwide. The game’s concept is simple, but it’s kind of beautiful in its strangeness and simplicity. Despite the game’s lack of saving feature and mixed user reviews, people still watch and play it. The game’s adjacency to NFTs has also caused some unhappiness, but there’s something about the game that’s oddly alluring.