A Game Review by Greg Dabkey
Game – Ohno Odyssey
Version – 3DS eShop
ESRB Rating: ‘E’ – Everyone
Release Date: 11/21/2013
Obtained – Courtesy of Big John Games
Some aliens’ mother ship has crash-landed on Earth! It is up to you to rescue them before they are discovered by transporting them to a pod in this action puzzle game.
Gameplay & Controls
The gameplay is quite challenging yet addicting. In Ohno Odyssey the player must assist some aliens known as Ohnos by completing a track to transport them to a waiting pod. Each level is track-based and the player will eventually acquire an arsenal of tools to use. Each world begins a few simple levels to introduce new tools that help the player complete the objective. These tools can range from gas canisters, ramps, mudd, oil, fire, wind and springs, among others. The player places these tools along the track to ensure that the Ohno makes it to the pod safely. Before the Ohno is rescued, the player pre-plans the level by placing any or some of their available tools on the track. Then when they believe that the combination will work, they release the Ohno. Gravity will guide it down the course slopes and will come into contact with each of the placed tools. Each tool has a different function and some work with others. For example, the oil will cover the Ohno completely and will it to be set on fire. While on fire, it can burn wooden crates that may be preventing progress along the track.
Most tracks will have some tools automatically placed and those cannot be moved. The player can almost place their tools anywhere on the course whether they be mid-air or along the track. If the Ohno does not make it, the pre-plan edit mode will open and the player can make adjustments to add/subtract/modify placement of tools. This allows the player to learn where they went wrong or provide new ideas how to progress through a particular area. The player has infinite time and lives, so main goal is to just make it across safely. Some of the tools allow player interaction such as the spring and gas canister. The spring allows a one time jump per tool to jump a gap and the gas canister provides a limited jet pack – like tool. It can help propel the Ohno forwards or backwards along with upward or downward for a short time. So even though the player placed the tools correctly, they may not have activated them at the proper time to really make the player think what they did incorrectly.
I thoroughly enjoyed the unique gameplay as the game is surprising difficult. It’s not always a clear-cut method to solve the level the same way. More advanced levels allow the player to take different routes and when multiple tools are available it allows different combinations of tools to be used to reach the end goal. I felt a lot of the enjoyment being able to make changes in between attempts since it did not work out like I had originally thought.
The controls are mainly based on the touch screen for the edit mode prior to the rescue. The player can tap the tool they want and then use the circle pad to drag it to the exact location. There is also a touch button to remove the tool when it is selected, but this only works on the tools from the players inventory. While the Ohno is in motion, the player can use A to jump if they picked up a spring or use the circle pad to control the direction of the Ohno while they have a gas canister. While some tools like the ramp or the wind cannot be rotated, the game usually provides both directions of each for the player to use. Overall, I had no major issues with the controls as it seemed simple and easy to use and get adjusted to.
Visuals & Sound
The weakest points of the game are both its visuals and sound. The visuals are incredibly simple which doesn’t provide a negative experience. The art style is very simple the character models lack details, features and do not add have any personality to them. All of the tools are also simple icons that do not contain a high level of detail. The 3D effects neither add nor take away from the experience. They only provided a simple level of depth which was not required in this 2D puzzler. The music and sound were just simple tones and tracks. There was not anything particularly catchy for music. If the Ohno failed to make it it would scream out “Oh no!” which was fine at first, but later lost its initial charm.
Final Score: 8.5 out of 10
I always enjoy a good puzzle game and I can say I was pleasantly surprised to enjoy this game. With the ability to have puzzle elements in the placement of the tools and also to make sure the player’s timing is perfect creates a strong puzzle. Without lives or a time limit, it keeps the players enjoyment as they can go back and make changes and continue trying as many times as they need. While the visuals and sound are nothing spectacular or fancy, it keeps it simple enough as the most important aspects are the gameplay and controls. While the visuals may make it look for a younger audience, some of the puzzles can get on the difficult side. I would recommend this game to fans of puzzle games. With thirty-five puzzles it should keep the player busy for hours.
+ 35 different puzzles
+ wide range of tools
+ some puzzles with multiple solutions
+ dual aspect of puzzles
+ perfect level of difficulty with it increasing at a good pace
– simplistic non-detailed visuals
– non-memorable soundtrack
– “Oh no!” can get old quickly