Review: King Oddball
After the pleasant surprise that was 10ton’s Sparkle port to PlayStation Vita, they’ve ported another one of their mobile games, King Oddball. Controllable by either the touchscreen or Vita’s buttons, you control the King Oddball as he slings and throws rocks at enemy tanks, troops, and helicopters with nothing but his long tongue and three stones, getting more by special feats like slamming stones back into the King’s head. Progress is slowly made over a simple stage map, unlocking new stages every time you beat an old one, with a square of 16 required to be cleared before you can progress. There’s bonus levels to unlock as well as secret ones to find.
The port itself is of a surprisingly high quality – King Oddball runs at a full 60fps constantly, and the smoothness lends itself to the graphical style. Controlling the Oddball is relatively easy via either a tap on the touchscreen or the Vita’s Cross and Triangle buttons, with the buttons being the heavily preferred control set due to their overall precision. Swinging a rock into an enemy tank to have it bounce into two more and set up a third for another easy strike does feel oddly satisfying. The game does come with over 140 levels to unlock, and to get the single Gold trophy in the game requires replaying all the levels and not using all the stones you’re given, so there’s a fair amount of content to go through. Especially when you factor in the special levels that only give one shot, or give you grenades to use, adding a little variety.
Unfortunately most of the content feels a bit underwhelming, with the game feeling kind of repetitive in both presentation and gameplay, until it becomes entirely overwhelming – one or two of every dozen or so levels often has a difficulty spike that goes through the roof, requiring multiple retries and gritted teeth / screaming to pass. It’s a physics game, so there’s often situations where the landing of your stones feels more like luck than it does any sort of individual skill, with the difference between pressing the button a tenth of a second later often feeling like the needless difference between missing and taking out half the targets in one shot. This is slightly compounded by the price – the $6 charged for the game on the PS Store is three times the amount charged to remove the ads from the Android version.
While King Oddball is well done on the PS Vita and has a fair amount of content to it’s name, the frustration created by its physics based game roots along with incessant difficulty spikes leads me not to be able to recommend it outright, but maybe if it drops below $5 then maybe it’ll be a nice timewaster.
A copy of this game was provided by the publisher for review purposes. For more info on our review policy click here.
What I Like:
- Port of the mobile iteration is very well done
- Translates well to button controls
- Fair amount of content to play
What I Dislike:
- Sudden difficulty spikes go from annoying to infuriating very quickly
- Suffers from that old physics game feels-more-like-luck-than-skill syndrome
- A bit pricey, especially when you factor in the Android version only costs $2