Monday, June 18, 2007

Oddictive Review

Oddictive, developed by Tapout Games and published by Garage Games.
The Good: Interesting unique gameplay with simple controls and suitable difficulty, lots of levels
The Not So Good: Repetitive due to the lack of level variety
What say you? An original but dreadfully monotonous puzzle game: 5/8

As more and more games get released, it becomes increasingly difficult to come up with original ideas. This is exacerbated by the fact that a lot of video gaming is driven by sales, and sequels will rake in the dough more than an original idea that’s not as well known. Thankfully, the PC is rife with original titles thanks to online distribution of games developed by small companies. This is one of the reasons I like the PC, since a lot of these games would never see the light of day on a console, overshadowed by high production values and big companies with deep pockets. I like reviewing smaller titles, especially puzzle and arcade games, that don’t even get covered on “major” PC gaming websites. Oddictive is one of those titles, a game where you guide falling objects into color coded jars by drawing pathways for them. We’ve seen similar ideas in the past where mouse input is used to drive the gameplay (see Sonoro TV). How will Oddictive differentiate itself from other titles?

The graphical design of Oddictive is good but not great. There are a lot of special effects that occur at the end of the level, but the general presentation is quite bland. The background is a static black and the containers you are guiding your balls towards are just that: containers. There isn’t any innovative or unique design elements present in Oddictive that makes the game memorable from a graphical standpoint. The few special effects that are present in the game are good, but these occur few and far between and the graphics just end up being too simplistic. The sound is a lot like the graphics: some nice touches but generally uninteresting and ordinary. The background is a little bit catchy and the effects are generally successful, but, like the graphics, there’s nothing too memorable about the sound. There’s a lot more potential in Oddictive to come up with some overall theme that makes the game stand out, but the title comes up short.

The object of Oddictive is to guide falling balls into their color-coded container by drawing paths with the mouse. The balls start from the top of the screen, and you get more points for the longer a ball is in contact with one of your platforms. You can also get bonus points for sending a ball off the edge of the screen (it will reappear on the other side). All of the game’s levels are available from the beginning, and there are a lot of them to choose from. Each level is different in the placement of immovable blue platforms that you must work around, but other than this, each level is the same as the previous one. There are no power-ups and no special abilities that you gain along the way; the only things that change are the ball speed and the fixed platform placement. As you can imagine, this makes the game quite tedious over time and it feels like you’re playing the same level over and over again. Oddictive lacks the replay value present in other games that add some variety in successive levels, introducing more advanced moves or concepts along the way (examples being Pathstorm and Eets). While the basic gameplay is solid and entertaining, there isn’t much beyond the first few levels to shake up the game, and this makes Oddictive too repetitive to be entertaining for a long period of time.

Oddictive is a solid puzzle game that sorely lacks variety. You can tell by the relative short length of this review that there isn’t too much to the game: once you learn how to draw lines, the game never adds anything new to the equation beyond speeding up the action and adding stationary walls in different positions. While Oddictive is entertaining for the first half hour or so, the game becomes too repetitive to maintain interest in the long term. If you really like puzzle games, you’ll enjoy Oddictive, but most people won’t be interested in the game too long after the introductory levels.