King Oddball from 10tons developers of the competent Sparkle, comes to PS Vita. Another of their iOS games to make the jump.
Upon initial inspection, it appears to be another Angry Birds clone, but it does try to differentiate itself with a different approach to the tried and tested gameplay mechanics.
Unlike Angry Birds, King Oddball seems to rely less on luck and a lot more on planning and proper puzzle mechanics. With Angry Birds you can aim the same shot time and time again, only to achieve different results, the layout of the levels can mean it is difficult to know where your aim is going.
Here though it is different, the levels are single screen, no scrolling across to access the layout, it is all there on screen. You control King Oddball from the top center of the screen and by using his long tongue, you fling rocks at the ‘enemy’ which consist of tanks, choppers, soldiers, etc.
It uses a swinging mechanic to launch the rocks, with a simple tap of the screen. The rock must then hit the items on the screen with the objective being to clear the level of enemy targets. It is fairly standard stuff, but it does work, you do feel in control of what is happening. Fail a level and you can go back and take another approach. You know what actions will work and what won’t.
You start with three rocks, but you can earn bonus efforts in numerous ways, such as getting combos, or hitting King Oddball in the head. Working out a strategy to earn extra rocks becomes vital in later levels, as clearing with three becomes impossible, but that does add to the depth of the mechanics somewhat.
There a tons of levels to play, consisting of the basic levels, followed by specialist levels, that require you to complete levels with a single rock, or detonate all the grenades, collect the diamonds, etc. Whilst finishing the standard levels may only take a few hours, the extra content will really challenge you.
What is interesting is that the game does away with any type of scoring system, there is no star for completing levels, no value to how much of a level you clear. It is simply, pass or fail. Initially it seems a bit odd, but in all honesty it is kind of refreshing, you clear a level and move on, it is as simple as that. There is no real need to retread older levels, which is perfectly fine.
It isn’t a game that particularly stands out in terms of visuals either, it isn’t a bad looking game, but neither does the art style set it apart. It has a simplicity about it that works for what it needs to do.
It isn’t a game with much substance, it isn’t one that will eat all your time, but it is a fun little time waster for when you have a spare five minutes. It won’t take up much space on the memory card either, coming in at a very low 23MB, it can sit there on the card for as long as you have levels to complete. It’s not an essential purchase, but you could do a hell of a lot worse and you will have some good times with an interesting take on a tiered genre.