Review: Ohno Odyssey (Nintendo 3DS)

Ohno OdysseyOhno Odyssey
Publisher: Big John Games
Developer: Big John Games
Genre: Action/Puzzle
Release Date: 11/21/2013

Ohno Odyssey is a physics-based puzzle game where you guide little aliens (called Ohnos because they say, “Oh no!”… Don’t ask.) to UFOs so they can go back home. Basically, a ship of Ohnos crash landed on Earth, and they want to get back home. That’s it. That’s the whole plot. You don’t need to worry about anything else. To be fair, I’m not sure I’d want much more of a story, because the game is pretty barebones, and adding cutscenes and a stupid story would not improve it. Though it feels light, it is probably for the best that Big John Games focused on the actual levels, rather than the bells and whistles.

These aliens are surprisingly cute, with one large, expressive eye and round bodies that just roll around. You’ll guide these aliens through five overarching levels, each with sub-levels. The gameplay is exactly like many other physics-based puzzle games, in that your job is to get an item – in this case, the alien – to an endpoint, a UFO. To do this, you’ll use a variety of items (for which you’ll get disappointingly short tutorials), from springs (which help you jump) to cannons to peppers (which make you go faster). This part of the game is well-balanced; the aliens move pretty consistently, for one, so you can accurately plan out where they will go through the level while you plan. The graphics overall are pretty nice, though I don’t see a point in using the 3D for them, but the soundtrack is surprisingly uninspired, if serviceable.

It’s everything else that feels hard to handle. The game uses A and B to zoom in and out, and the rest of the game uses the touchscreen. While this should probably feel fairly intuitive, given we’re playing on the 3DS, the experience feels clunky, especially if you’re trying to place items near one another, as the cursor tends to jump to the nearest item instead of moving where you want it to move. This can lead to some annoying situations where you can’t quite get what you need set up.

The game is relatively addictive, as you’ll find yourself achingly close to getting to the UFO. “One more try,” you’ll tell yourself as you try again and again and again. The game totals at 35 levels of varying difficulty, though I don’t know that I’d say there’s much replay value. Technically, someone could attempt to go through each level with as few tools as possible, but I honestly didn’t see much point in that as there doesn’t seem to be a reward for it. Regardless, you’ll likely blow through this game in four hours or less (probably less). Regardless, it’s a casual gaming experience that won’t stress you out too badly, so if you’re jonesing for a puzzle game, this isn’t the worst choice out there.

Short Attention Span Summary
While there are definitely better physics-based puzzle games out there, this game may just hit the spot for those who really want more puzzles in their lives. Don’t get too excited though, as the experience will be over before you know it. For $6, the game feels a little lean, but you probably won’t miss the money anyway.

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