Developer 10tons have been pretty busy in the past year or so. With their past offerings such as Sparkle Unleashed
and Baseball Riot
winning gamers over with their cheap and cheerful gameplay, could their next release do the same? In jumps King Oddball
, a circular shaped king who seems hell bent on destroying everything in his path, namely the army personnel and vehicles coming up against him. Does the game earn its crown though?
How many cannons can you take out with one shot?
If you came here thinking this game looked similar to Angry Birds
, then you'd be right. You take control of King Oddball, a creature with an unusually long tongue and a vendetta against the army. As you take control of the King, your aim is to take out all of tanks, army men and helicopters that are scattered about the one screen based levels. In order to do this, you are given three rocks, which the King will grab with his tongue one at a time. You choose when the King lets go off the rock, and so have some control of the angle and direction as to where it will go. Your aim is to take out all of the enemies before you run out of rocks, otherwise it's game over. This type of gameplay has been done before, not just with the likes of Angry Birds
, but has been attempted before by 10tons with Baseball Riot
, which was a largely similar style. This doesn't stop it being simple yet addictive.
One of the best things about a game like King Oddball
is that due to the short levels, you can jump in and out very quickly, and it's actually best suited to this kind of gaming. With 9 sections of the map filled with 16 levels each, there's a deceptive amount of gameplay here. Some levels make take you seconds, whilst others might find you replaying them again and again, so the best way to experience this game is probably to jump in and play a few levels before coming back at a later time. If you start to play too many levels in a row, especially if you start struggling to progress, the gameplay can easily start to get annoying and repetitive. The fact that the levels can be done so quickly means that you may run through large chunks of the game very quickly, but the developers have counteracted this by adding in special stages as well as hidden levels for you to complete as well.
One set of hidden levels sees you armed with grenades instead of rocks
Even if you complete the 144 basic levels on offer here, there's a whole lot more for you to complete along the way. You'll first come across the Hall of Diamonds, which unlocks more the further you progress in the game, and challenges you to finish the level without using all the rocks available (as the last one will now be a diamond to collect). On top of that, you have levels where you use grenades instead of rocks, as well as one rock levels, which should be pretty self explanatory. If that wasn't enough, you've also got the hidden moustache mode, in which you'll be looking to complete all the levels again but back to front (and whilst wearing a moustache). All these extra modes add on a whole load of hours to the game time, and offer some variety and new challenges while still utilising the same basic gameplay.
In all of the actual levels themselves, you'll be coming up against tanks and people, which stay still, and helicopters, which can sometimes move about. The skill comes in trying to land your rocks in the best possible place, where they'll take out as many enemies in one go as they can. Taking out 3 enemies with one rock will earn you an extra rock, as will hitting the King on the head with one of your rocks, so the game does offer you a helping hand in that sense. There are exploding boxes in some of the levels, as well as normal brick boxes and sand boxes, which may be a help or a hinderence depending on how good of a throw you have. On one hand these may ricochet into enemies and knock them out, but other times they'll send your rock flying off the screen, so you have to find the best way to use them to your advantage.
Utilise those exploding boxes to take out extra enemies
The main issue with the game here is that so much of it is simply luck based. With all the skill and will in the world, you could throw two shots near enough exactly the same, and chances are they will result in completely different outcomes. This can lead to you struggling on a level for ages, and then fluking a shot and completing it with ease. While this is all fine and good when it's working in your favour, when the shots simply aren't going your way, the game gets very annoying very quickly. Trying to figure out which enemy to hit first and at which angle is the first tough question, and then actually trying to make the shot is a whole different one. One time an exploding box might take out an enemy for you, but the next time you hit it it might not, and this is where the frustration starts.
The actual game itself has a sort of "rough around the edges" look to it, but it seems to work well, and fits in with the rough army based setting. The backgrounds of the levels provide some much needed colour to the sometimes dull foregrounds, with streaked colours across the skies. The accompanying soundtrack is light and upbeat, but don't be surprised if it gets stuck in your head and begins to annoy you when you get stuck on a level. The game is designed for a phone, and has originated from a phone game, and this is pretty obvious from the basic kind of luck to it. For a price of £3.99, it is hard to expect much more than exactly what we've been given though.
There's a nice variety of achievements in the game's list of 16. You'll be able to earn one for simply finishing the game
as well as completing some of the extra levels
as well. You'll be wanting to pull off a few trick shots to hit the King with some rocks, as well as try and take out as many as 6 enemies with one rock. Finally, completing the hall of diamonds and the secret moustache worlds are the ones that are probably going to take you the most time. While there is nothing too difficult here, you will need a fair amount of time on your hands, as well as a pinch of luck along the way.
For a game priced at £3.99, King Oddball
offers you a fair bit for your money. On top of the base levels, you have a multitude of extra levels to complete, even though the levels themselves may only take you a matter of seconds. If you don't want anything too serious, and you need something to fulfill your Angry Birds
craving, then this is a perfect offering. For some, the gameplay might get a little too repetitive too quickly, and the amount of luck that comes into it means that this game probably will make you angry along the way. If you can get past the need for trial and error, and just take this game as a bit of fun, then no doubt your journey with the King will be an enjoyable one.
- Simple to jump in and play but takes time to master
- Upbeat look and sound throughout
- Bonus levels add to gameplay time
- Can start to get repetitive after extended sessions
- Luck based outcome of shots is annoying
The reviewer spent approximately 6 hours throwing rocks at tanks, helicopters and army men, destroying them in their thousands, and unlocked 13 of the game's 16 achievements in the process. A download code for the game was provided by the studio for the purpose of this review.