Hail to the King, Baby!!
By Brett Wolfe
Reviewed on Xbox One
Released on September 9th on Xbox One, also out on mobile platforms
Publisher: 10tons Developer: 10tons
Oh boy! A Duke Nukem game, I have always wanted to write a review on the Duke. Slightly motioned off to the side and whispered to. Wait what do you mean this is not Duke Nukem. But I already made the title…but, but. Well the title is staying! Hello everyone, I am Kings! Welcome to the King Oddball review. Enjoy!
King Oddball is a puzzle game with similar style to the Angry Bird series without the star system. The only objective in each level is to destroy all of the enemy units without running out of projectiles. The game starts out with King Oddball, a floating head alien, descending down from space and being attacked by military units . The rest of the game is your attempt to rid the planet of these human even though they do not fire back. There really is not much more story as there are no cutscenes or anything like that. This title, nonetheless, is a complete experience for a game of this caliber. This title has nine different worlds with fifteen to sixteen levels in each of those worlds. There are also four different bonus worlds that contain between twenty and forty stages.
The gameplay of King Oddball is easy for anyone to pick up. The controls can be as simple as one press of a button. When the King is throwing the rock, he swings his tongue in a semi-circle pattern and lets go when the button is pressed. The game does have some physics to his swing. For example, if the rock is released at the peak of the swing it will most of the time just fall straight down and if released in the middle will give you the best distance for the throw. The controls can be more advanced due to the fact that the player can manipulate the speed of his swing using the analog sticks; however, this is not necessary as the projectile can result in the same effect if without this guidance. Even though the layout of the level can change from stage to stage and the challenge does increase for each world you travel to, this game does suffer from a bit of repetition. Do not get me wrong it does not make it a poor game, but each level has the same objective and after a while it might make you want to put it down for a bit. The thing that does give some variety to the game is the aforementioned bonus worlds that unlock within some of the other worlds. There are four different bonus worlds that King Oddball has to offer. They are Grenade World, Hall of Diamonds, One Rock, and The Extra Quest. These worlds change the gameplay slightly by changing the rock to a different form of projectile. Starting with the Hall of Diamonds as it is the first bonus world that you will encounter during the game. The Hall of Diamonds is forty levels that you throw diamonds instead of rocks. It seems that diamonds might get thrown a little slower than the rocks, but it is not a huge difference. The Grenade World is the next one that you encounter and is made up of twenty levels in which you throw, you guessed it, grenades. The grenades are my favorite and the biggest change from the original rocks. The grenades will do damage upon impact like the other projectile in addition to exploding. The explosion does a tiny bit more damage, but it is more damage nonetheless. The Extra Quest is the next and contains forty levels and the only thing that is different is the projectile that is fired is a horn/shell like object that has the ability to fall through cracks. The One Rock World is what you would guess. Not really much to go into as you get one rock to throw and have to either destroy all of the enemies in one throw or manage to obtain a bonus rock. Bonus rocks are earned throughout the game in two ways. They are by hitting multiple enemies with a single rock, earning you a bonus rock at every multiple of three. The other way to earn a bonus rock is to hit the King with that rock. Once the rock hits the King or the multitude of enemies the rock will just add to your list. One thing that is added to the game mechanic to make the puzzles more challenging is the addition of shields to various enemies. These shields will require a second hit to be defeated, which changes the way you approach certain levels.
The visuals in this game are simplistic in nature, which I feel pair with this game very well. It is worth noting that this game is a mobile game that was ported to the Xbox One. The backgrounds do not vary much and the enemies are the same most of the time; however, the visuals are not the selling point of this game. The visuals give the game a surreal addition to the title and make it just look right. This game does not have the best visuals you will ever see, but they are not awful. What works in King Oddball’s favor are the enemies and the animations that go with them. There are three different units: the soldier, the attack helicopter, and the tank. Each unit, while they look the same as every unit of that variety, has a special effect that they pose in the level. The solider will slow the rock upon hits and the tank causes the rock to bounce off in a certain direction. The helicopter is my favorite, for when the rock hits it the helicopter will fall out of the sky and deal additional damage if another enemy is hit by the falling debris. These special effects are probably my favorite aspects that add variety to both the gameplay and the visuals. The soundtrack, on the other hand, does not have many redeeming qualities. It is quite bland and does not have much variety in both the sounds in the game and the background music that plays. Even for a mobile game port, I feel that there is not much to be desired with this soundtrack and it rates pretty low.
The biggest gripe that I have with King Oddball is the lack of replayability. There are a lot of levels that will give you a good amount of play time, but once you beat a level there is no going back. The level just disappears once you have finished it. The one exception is the bonus stages in which you can play all of the levels over and over again if you would like. This is a nice addition, but I feel that the entire game should be like this. If I run into a level that I really enjoy, I would have to replay entire game over again to get back to that point. I feel that this is probably the biggest downfall of this game as eventually you will run out of gameplay unless you want to delete your save.
King Oddball is the epitome of what a mobile game that is ported to console should be. While the sounds and visuals are sub-par, I would still recommend picking it up. It is on cheap side, being priced $5, and I feel that that makes it shine for what it’s worth. For five dollars this game has a great amount of gameplay and you will not be disappointed. So if you are ready, grab a couple rocks and prepare for the battle of your life against those annoying humans!
*Note: A copy of the game was provided for the purposes of the review
Final Score: 6.5/10
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