Game: Oozi: Earth Adventure Ep. 2
Creators: AwesomeGamesStudio (Facebook) (Blog)
$1 (80 msp)
All right, time to come clean. I do not really play a lot of platformers. By platformer I mean get to the end, restart at checkpoint if you die platformers. Games like Super Meat Boy and VolChaos being a different breed of game in my opinion (Which is all that matters here, and if you think otherwise haha de haha). Platformers have just never really appealed to me in the ways that other games have. Oozi is different. The game had me clamoring for more all the way until the final boss fight. I feel like every thing was polished and fine-tuned to make a great platformer. There are positives, and there are negatives, but that doesn’t stop Oozi 2 from being a must play for all people who are at least indifferent to platformers.
Let me start out with this warning. Oozi is not meant to be played like a fast paced game in the main story. The game is perfectly laid out so you can leisurely stroll through the game and take minimal damage. For some reason the speed crazed, suicidal maniac in me decided that going through the game as fast as humanly possible was a good idea. It is not a good idea at all. Take the game slowly and enjoy the ride. If you want fast paced, check out Arcade Mode, which is basically a time trial of every level.
Standard Platforming Procedure: Dodge those rocks
How about we discuss level design? Sound good? Well since you have no objections… The level design in Oozi is solid to say the least. There are plenty of little side paths and treasure holes to seek out. One issue I did have was the length and difficulty between checkpoints. Rarely you would come to a difficult part in the game, and that part always seemed to be right in front of a checkpoint. Frustration tends to occur when you do the same two minute sequence over and over just to die at a very hard part. Maybe if I would have been on normal mode as opposed to Hardcore I might not have experiences these troubling experiences. Because I am such a thorough reviewer, I completely forgot to check and see what the difference between Hardcore and Normal is. I assume it has nothing to do with the level or enemies and has all to do with the amount of health you start with from the beginning of the level and after each checkpoint. In the end just know that the game is completely playable and fun on Hardcore, so playing on Normal should be no different. I seem to have gotten off of the topic of level design, which is what the topic sentence of this paragraph is about. Put that in your pipe and smoke it english class, I don’t need your fancy rules.
All right, now onto my favorite portion of the game: star collecting. Each map houses 5 hidden stars that you must track down and recover. Apparently these stars went to Harvard or something and are more important than the other bajillion stars on each map. If you manage to collect all 5 hidden stars on each map, you will unlock a special challenge map. I found all 5 stars in three out of five levels on my first playthrough, and then went back to pick up the ones I missed. I found searching for the stars on each level to be my main motivation to continuing the game. Don’t get me wrong, everything else is solid, but I am not a big enough fan of platformers to have finished the game without the stars. The bonus missions you receive from said stars are great additions to the game, For example, one level has your main goal to get to the end, but your secondary goals are to kill all enemies and not take damage. The little things like that are what make this game truly enjoyable.
Those bats look so menacing
Now time to talk about the graphics and audio. I usually spend next to no time on graphics or audio or anything else in that department. Here is where I break the rules. The graphics in Oozi are some of the most polished graphics on XBLIG, if not the most polished graphics on the entire service. The completely hand-drawn artwork is pretty incredible. The animation is flawless, the character models are great, and the environments are well put together. Basically this game has everything down in the visual department. Check out the trailer down below or the images scattered throughout this article if you do not believe me. Also the audio is pretty awesome. I have the main menu music playing in the background right now as I furiously type this review.
I should probably cover controls at some point considering this is a game. It is solid and polished in almost all departments. My only two complaints in that department are the fact that wall jumping feels clunky and that your character does not turn around fast enough in mid-air for my liking. The other things you can do, like jump, ground pound, punch, etc. are all very fine-tuned.
One element of the game I was worried about going in was the progression of the gameplay. How would the levels change? Well early on there was not much difference and the obligatory ice level was the weak point, and that level was still pretty good. As the game moved past the ice level it just continued to get better and better. There were “puzzles” added into the mix, as well as new objects to use and enemies to deal with. The progression throughout the game was very well done in my opinion. It was so well done, I did not notice it until I forced myself to think about it for this review, so obviously it is doing its job. The entire game felt cohesive and… just right I guess. The constant addition of different level layouts and puzzle types made the game feel fresh all the way until the end.
I apologize if you have already played the boss battle
The extra stuff thrown into the game like challenge mode and arcade mode are just icing on the cake. The main game took me maybe 90 minutes to finish, plus 15 minutes to back track and find the stars I missed. There are 11 challenge maps, which is more than enough to tide you over until Oozi Episode 3. The challenges range from evading lava to just finishing the level, but with secondary objectives. Only a true Oozi master will 3 star all of the challenges. The arcade mode is just a speed run of the main game, but you have to get a certain amount of points to get 1, 2, or 3 stars. Arcade mode is insane because you have to beat the whole level without dying. Not for the faint of heart. It should also be noted that the challenge maps are completely different from the main game maps.
Now we get to the end of the game… the boss fight. Quite possibly the worst boss fight in a game I have ever played. If at all possible, just do not play the boss fight. Unless you have some physiological need to torture yourself with terrible boss fights. It is not necessary for anything. It might unlock another bonus stage, so it might be worth it if you need another bonus stage. Honestly the boss fight is what leaves bad memories of this game in my mind.
In the end, without the boss battle, Oozi is one of the most polished platformers on XBLIG. But as the guys over at GameMarx said in their trail of the game, it just feels like it is missing something. That unidentifiable something is what is keeping Oozi from being one of the best games all around on XBLIG.