Far be it from me to judge, but I honestly didn’t expect a game about a giant rock chucking other rocks with its tongue to really be any good. Enough levels that I’ve lost count later and I’m seriously hooked on King Oddball. The silly premise and cool visuals are enough to draw you in, while the simple mechanics and challenging levels will keep you coming back for more. I’m already a big 10 Tons fan, and this game not only furthers that relationship but it has cemented a place firmly in the top 3 titles of theirs that I like.
You are an evil alien rock king trying to take over the world by hurtling rocks – possibly your minions, I suppose – at the armies of every nation. Apparently the best way to do this is with your freakishly long tongue, so while you slowly rock back and forth with boulders attached to the end of your unsightly appendage you can tap the screen to “fire” at the enemy. You get three rocks per level though you can earn more, and the level is beaten only once you’ve demolished all enemy presence. You can, of course, destroy anything else that gets in your way as well. Just make sure the good guys all fall.
The key to this game is timing and chain reactions. You have to know when to let the rocks go, and since you only potentially have three on each level you’ll need to take out multiple targets with each toss. Besides, it’s actually quite medicinal watching boulders bounce off of everything in just the right manner to remove many obstacles at once. It doesn’t take long for things to get challenging, with indestructible barriers, barriers that cause rocks to really bounce, and things that simply take more than one try to break. Some enemies will even start coming equipped with force fields. On some levels you’ll get dynamite boxes to help in your demolition efforts, but generally it’s just you, the rocks and your sense of timing.
Beyond just the mechanics, the whole presentation feels different than most physics puzzle games. You select levels by jumping around a world map, with multiple possible levels available at one time. Once you’ve completed a level you can’t revisit it, though several of the map areas have special squares that you can return to for various reasons. There are no achievements until you “unlock” them by hopping on a square in the second level set, and even the scoring system is a simple verbal ranking like “nice” or “superior” instead of a three object system like most games use these days. In short, King Oddball is a refreshing change from the norm.
The graphics certainly do the game justice. The king looks great, though regal probably doesn’t suit him. The various vehicles and humans look good, and there are nifty little special effects when things get blown up or bricks and other obstacles are destroyed. The background is a combination of silhouetted buildings with almost painted looking skies and works quite well. The sound effects are just about what you’d expect from a bunch of boulders being tossed around and heavy machinery exploding all the time. I love the music, though I don’t really even know how to describe it. As a whole the aesthetics in King Oddball are polished and spot on.
If you haven’t guessed by now, I really like this game. Yeah, there are a few levels that make me want to grab my iPod Touch with my tongue and chuck it at something. Even those aren’t insurmountable though, and in the end there’s great satisfaction from completing them. If physics games are your thing there’s no doubt you’ll want to try this, but if you’re one of those who just hasn’t gotten into the Angry Birds and clone phenomenon, I think you’ll enjoy King Oddball too.
|Title:||King Oddball||Developer:||10tons Ltd|
|Reviewed Ver:||Min OS Req:||4.3|