Teutonic thinker Nietzsche said life is a choice between boredom and suffering, he didn't warn us that sometimes we have to endure both at the same time. Because Odama, this fusion of pinball and military strategy, this confusion of flippers and feudal soldiering, is a game you have to approach philosophically.
|When proper pinball moments breakout, the game is dramatically better.|
We wanted to love it, we really did. The whole idea is just so outlandish, so painfully weird that it just had to be enjoyable? Didn't it? Otherwise why did Yoot 'Seaman' Saito even attempt to create a voice-controlled real-time pinball/war game unless it was going to be truly brilliant? Why? But if understanding the man maverick's motivation is nearly impossible, explaining the rules of the game is only marginally easier. For each
|While the sound remains in Japanese, the text is in English.|
The result is painfully slow.
But trying to splice Kessen and Kiss Pinball together hasn't resulted in the rise of an uber-game, more the birth of a tragedy. For Odama is simply a mess from the high concept right down to the screen blocking squawking of each lowly soldiers. And while your army of the brain-dead mostly recognise your orders, and notions of tactical planning are continually rolled over by the blind stupidity of the Odama itself. For even this primitive pinball itself rarely works as advertised often popping off screen, defying physics' laws at a whim, wiping out your own army with one false flipper-stroke or ending your game.
|The soldier's comments might get a laugh, if they|
didn't block out the action.
Combined with a difficulty level so cruel that Social Services should be told is the way that winning or losing can seem as random as tossing a coin. Although at least if a ten pence landed heads up you'd know why you've won as with Odama's shallow lack of strategy and variety, you'll always feel that fortune played a greater role than your planning or pinball wizardry.
Now add a save system that wipes your progress if you go back to retry a previous stage, a sneering voice-over that mocks your failures, cheap and tedious cutscenes, repetitive level design and somewhat clumsy controls and just see if your ambivalence turns to anger:
ANY NOTIONS OF TACTICAL PLANNING ARE ROLLED OVER BY BLIND STUPIDITY
But that is Odama, it combines things that should probably never be put together: pinball and military strategy; ill-conceived ideas and poor execution; and yes, Mr 'Oddball' Saito and three year's worth of development time.
|'Advance' isn't the only word you'll shout at|
these troopers. The others are all bad.
Command them or crush them. Accidentally of course.
+ The enemy generals are fun. / Utterly original / The mic is included.
- Painfully hard / Confusing and messy. / Everything else.
Somewhat dull and static, it also suffers from slowdown.
Japanese voices, somehow less than memorable.
Not exactly a technical marvel but the mic works.
Cruel difficulty will turn off the casual and depress the hardcore.
VERDICT: Cross-breeding between a pinball table and strategy game hasn't lead to a thoroughbred. This one is pure ass. 48/100