Odo Odo Oddity

Odo Odo Oddity (おどおどおっでぃ) - PlayStation (1997)

Odo Odo Oddity (おどおどおっでぃ)
Developer: Digital Kids
Release Date: 1997
Platforms: PlayStation

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At the beginning of Odo Odo Oddity, three kids open a book and find themselves transported to an alternate fantasy dimension. Two of them, Funifuni and Hoyoyo, are kidnapped, while the remaining one, Gikugiku, straps balloons to his back and takes to the skies to rescue them.

This game could almost be classified as a rail shooter, except there’s no real shooting. Taking place from an over-the-shoulder perspective, the environments scroll by 3D while the characters and certain parts of the scenery are sprites, animated with scaling effects a la Space Harrier. Gikugiku wields a wand, which can be used to smack anything that comes near. When you pick up one of the many floating bookmarks, you can also charge up the wand to reflect objects away from you, potentially hitting other enemies, or get a small burst of speed to help dodge attacks.

It’s quite novel, almost laid back in a way, especially considering its attitude towards non-violence. The only time you ever have to kill an enemy is in the boss fights, which usually requires reflecting their attacks or knocking bits of scenery into them. Otherwise, you can dodge pretty much everything else.

But this simple act is made very, very difficult by the controls. You’re not flying any sort of vehicle, you’re floating on balloons, and your slow movement reflects this. The levels scroll by very slowly, and it takes about a second or two to change direction, plus several seconds more to make it from one side of the screen to the other. The hit detection makes this even worse, as it’s very difficult to determine what will hit you and what won’t. Even collecting items proves to be frustrating, as it may seem like you’ve grabbed something, only for the game to determine that you’ve actually missed it. You begin each new life with three balloons, essentially allowing you three hits before dying, sending you back to an earlier checkpoint. Lose your lives and you must restart the whole stage. Considering the cutesy atmosphere, it has a curiously high difficulty level.

Odo Odo Oddity still manages to keep a sense of whimsy despite its frustrations. The characters are all cute, round little things, the enemies are all adorable, and levels consist of colorful, diverse landscapes including skies, caverns, lava pits, and oceans. It’s a fun world to float around in for awhile, even if staying too long can be quite stressful.


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