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Oddhop in Review – Peg Solitaire Done Right

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Sometimes, in what I suppose is an attempt to quell your frustrations that your order is taking too long, restaurants will happily supply you with the “peg game” at your table.  You know, the one you want to throw across the room before too long because you can never get it down to just one peg, at which point you read the description and find that you’re “one peg shy of being a moron”.  Luckily, unlike its inspiration Oddhop has a bit of class and doesn’t resort to name calling should you happen to not clear away all of the pegs (which in this case are cool looking monsters).  Oh, and this variant of the peg game is a whole lot more fun as well.  I just wish there was something nifty to listen to in the background as I was contemplating the best way to clear off each stage.

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As you might have surmised, the goal of Oddhop is to have only one monster remaining at the end of each level.  To do this you simply have one monster jump over another, and keep repeating until there are not enough monsters close enough to each other to perform any jumps.  One thing you’ll notice right off the bat is that instead of the levels being designed like geometric shapes with a bunch of lined up holes across the surface each board is a set of hexagon squares.  This already adds an interesting dynamic to the game, as it opens up more possibilities for directions you can jump in.  Also, not all monsters are created equal.  Some must be jumped over twice before they will go away, while others have the ability to jump over two monsters at once.  In and of itself these changes make quite a difference in game play.

However, that’s not all you have to look forward to.  The game is divided into four worlds, each with 18 levels to conquer.  While you have to play the levels in a given world in order, you can skip to any world at any time, thus getting the opportunity to sample new game play elements.  It appears that each world adds at least a couple new items to the roster, which is always a nice approach to take.  There are wells that allow you to teleport between them (though only for a one way trip), and swirling teleports that let you pick any empty spot on the board.  You can hop on a gear and use it to rotate your monster to a different part of the board.  Lily pads disappear once you leave them, flowers move when you land on them, and swamp land causes your creatures to sink, ending their ability to move (they still have to be cleared from the board).  These are just some of the game play mechanics you’ll run into.

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Besides making sure there is only one monster left on each board, several levels will have fruit to collect.  Of course you don’t need to get them, but it helps bolster your score, and might even make a difference in whether you get two or three stars on some levels.  Via Game Center there are 4 leaderboards, one for each world.  There are also 22 achievements to earn.  Of course the real achievement is finishing the game with only one monster on each level.

The graphics are cute.  The monster designs are silly and each character is well animated.  There are also nice little touches to go along with each of the different themed worlds.  The sound effects are decent, with a nice combination of ambient background noise and sounds to go with your actions.  Unfortunately, while there’s a nice little jingle when you’re navigating the interface stuff, the music goes silent during actual game play.  This is a big pet peeve of mine, especially in games like this where you sometimes have to sit and think for a bit before making your moves.

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Conceptually, Oddhop is nothing new.  In fact, the core game mechanic far precedes the first electronic devices.  All of the added game play elements manage to transform it into an extremely entertaining puzzle game, even pushing it to the top of the pile as far as its peers are concerned.  The presentation is not too shabby either, though some background music would be greatly appreciated.  Oddhop should definitely make the jump into your puzzle game collection.

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App Summary
Title: OddhopDeveloper: Mika Halttunen / MHGames
Reviewed Ver:1.00Min OS Req: iOS 8.0
Price:$1.99App Size:55.38MB
  • Excellent interpretation of a mundane game mechanic
  • Plenty of levels to master
  • Additional mechanics introduced frequently
  • Cute visuals
  • No music during game play

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