There are times when you want a game to draw you into its world and let you get lost in its depth and details. Other times though, you just want a game you can pick up, play, and enjoy. King Oddball is a great example of the latter. It’s very simple to pick up and play, but make no mistake, it will challenge your brain cells.
What Is It?
What you get here is an apparently simple physics-based puzzle game. You play the role of King Oddball, who has decided that he will end the world and destroy all the humans. Why would he do this? I couldn’t tell you. Maybe he’s disgusted by the humans’ fashion sense, or maybe he’s just a jerk. Either way, he takes it upon himself to slurp up rocks with his tongue and fling them at the humans’ tanks and helicopters. Sadly, the humans haven’t figured out how to move with those vehicles, so instead they’ve devised other ways of protecting themselves.
Why Should I Care?
Playing King Oddball is about as easy as can be. King Oddball himself will appear in the sky somewhere in position to attack the human fortifications. He’ll lash out his tongue and pick up a giant rock, then proceed to swing It back and forth. All you have to do is press the button to release the rock and knock the fortifications down. It starts off easy enough, but as you progress through the 100 or so levels the humans will get more clever about the placement of their defenses. They’ll even figure out ways of deflecting your improvised projectiles back at you. Unfortunately for them, if you get King Oddball to catch a rock again, you can reuse it. If you manage to destroy at least three objects in one throw then you’ll also get another rock to hurl at the mobility challenged humans.
All of these mechanics work well together. The complexity comes in at a nice even pace and none of the levels ever feel like they’re impossible. It can get challenging when there are tanks placed in re-enforced bunkers, but stick with it, there’s only a 180 degree arc of motion to play with, after you get your head around that, you’ll quickly start to see exactly how to get your rock where it needs to go.
King Oddball started as a mobile game. Because of that it has a few elements that don’t quite sit well with me. The first is the addition of challenge modes that effectively just amount to playing the same levels over and over again. With over 100 levels already available, I don’t feel like this was really necessary. The other issue I have with the game’s mobile roots is how it will have you spam your friends to play a game they don’t own in order to unlock stuff for yourself. Neither of these shortcomings hurt the game that much, but messaging your friends does feel a bit annoying.
What Makes It Worth My Time And Money?
This is a game that would be much better played on the Vita or a Phone or Tablet. The bite sized levels lend themselves better to on-the-go gaming than to marathon couch sessions. King Oddball isn’t a game you’ll likely want to play for six hours straight. That’s totally fine. You can pay $7 on PS4 and have a game you can continually come back to. It’s fun in short bursts, and you won’t feel like you wasted your money. Whatever platform you choose to play King Oddball on, I think this is a game that is worth checking out.