As we play offers the thought strands of the reviewer as they’re going through the game. This offers unique content for the reader so they can come to understand the conflicting feelings of the reviewer as they’re playing a game for the very first time. All feedback on this concept is welcome.
The game fires up with some kooky old Russian sounding music and your dumped straight into the action with the titular King Oddball floating above the battlefield. Three boulders float to his left and there’s a tank to the right, presumably you must destroy said tank to aid the King in his destruction of the world; but how? It soon becomes clear when the king opens his mouth, unleashes a tongue Gene Simmons would be proud of and proceeds to swing the boulder back and forth with it. Touch the screen and he drops the boulder, sending it tumbling towards the tank which explodes on contact like a henchman’s car in the movies.
Level one complete; the King pops-up with some words of praise and you’re dropped into the main map with lots of black and a couple of tanks. Tap a tank and the King hops over with a satisfying rocky noise and you’re back in the action…
So it’s kind of like angry birds, but instead of birds you get a disembodied rock monarch throwing boulders with his disturbingly long tongue; you can’t say erm, weirder than that.
King Oddball is physics-based puzzle-em-up that starts off simply enough; you have three big-ass boulders with which to destroy a couple of tanks and claim a square of the earth for the titular monarch. King Oddball grabs a boulder with his tongue and swings it back and forth with a tap of the Vita screen or a press of a button. This sends it tumbling across the screen in an arc of destructive power. The difficulty soon ramps up though; with more and more enemies appearing on each level but the King still restricted to just three boulders. This is when a bit of thought is required; the only way to get more ammo is to start building combos. If you manage to kill three birds with one stone, you get a bonus shiny gold rock to rain destruction on the puny defenders of the earth. The only other way to get more ammo is to get a boulder to bounce back up and hit the King, but be careful. Bash him too much and he will be knocked out and that is game over for the level.
Once you get into the swing of things, you will find the levels passing pretty quickly as the surprisingly static defenders tumble before the power of your mighty boulders. They may not move or fight back, but they will hide in crude buildings or crack out futuristic force fields in an attempt to foil your megalomaniacal schemes. So the further you get, the more crucial it is to score those all-important combos and take advantage of those staples of gaming: exploding boxes to clear the way. It doesn’t quite have the depth of its avian flinging competitor, there’s no variety in boulders and at points it did get a little samey. However, persistence is rewarded with new challenges; completing levels not using all your boulders in order to earn a diamond, for example. There’s also levels where your boulders are replaced by grenades, naturally requiring new tactics to master.
There is also plenty to like in the quirky art style and funky music and in a refreshing change to the norm, there’s no sign of micro-transactions or social interaction anywhere; sweet as candy. Solid core mechanics and bite-sized gameplay make King Oddball perfect for gaming on the go and another solid addition to the burgeoning line-up of indie games on Vita.
A fun and surprisingly strategic puzzle game with tons of replayability, King Oddball Ends the World manages to topple Angry Birds from its perch; even without Rovio’s frankly ridiculous pricing model.
Technical Competency – 8/10
Graphical State / Sound Quality – 7/10
Network Stability – N/A.
Overall – 7/10
Time Played: Three Hours
If you have any specific questions about the game, noticed any problems or don’t feel we’ve answered something specifically enough, sound off in the comments below and we’ll get right on replying.