I’ve reviewed a lot of simple games in my time and King Oddball is right up there with them. A physics-based puzzle game, this is 10tons’ take on the genre popularised by Angry Birds. It’s a nice different game from them since their trilogy of twin-stick shooters.
You control the titular King Oddball as he takes on the puny humans and their weapons. As a moon-like ball in the sky your goal is to take out all of the enemies in each particular stage. Like all physics-based games, it can actually be more difficult than you’d think.
What’s interesting about this title though is that it’s even more simple than most. King Oddball automatically swings his boulders too and fro without any input from the player. The only input you have to do is press the release button. In that regard, it’s a game entirely about timing rather than precise aiming or power. You can use the A button to release or, as it’s a port of a mobile game, you can use the touch screen if you like.
There are well over a hundred stages spread out over a grid, completing one will grant you access to a few more. The content is quite generous and included are some bonus Halloween themed missions which put a skin over enemies to give a more monstrous look to them. If you want even more of a challenge there is the Hall of Diamonds to attend. This lets you repeat previous levels but the requirement is to have at least one stone (this time a diamond) left at the end. Then there’re the grenade levels where you have a few grenades to blow things up, which plays fairly differently.
As with any game of this kind it’s 50% skill, 50% luck, there’s no getting away from. Even if you think you’ve timed a throw to perfection, it can still go completely awry. This can lead to a bit of frustration at times and, especially if you fail over and over again, lead to you being careless when you play. The Y button is an instant restart button which you’ll be using often. I was very generous in its usage, especially if my first throw wasn’t useful. It’s good that there’s an instant restart button, but it’s a double edged sword because, as stated, it makes you carefree and you start throwing rocks willy nilly.
Obviously it totally depends on each individual person but I found the difficulty curve to be all over the place. Some levels I could easily do the first time where as others I had to try a dozen or so times, even early levels. So in that regard, I’m not entirely sure it’s a good one for kids to start out at as they may get stuck pretty early on.
What I actually really liked about King Oddball is the personality and quirks it has. There are just little touches that I enjoyed so much, for example, if you throw a rock and it bounces back up and hits King Oddball, he will catch it and be able to use it again. One time he randomly grabbed the pause icon and started swinging that as a weapon to be thrown too. Despite these quirks, it’s not the best looking game, especially in the destructible environments department. The backgrounds are nice, but the things that actually move and blow up are slightly on the generic side.
Of course there is a caveat that King Oddball is available on mobile platforms for a cheaper price. Obviously the Switch is slightly more adaptable in the fact it can be played on the TV as well as the portable screen, with physical controls. For me, I’m not a phone gamer even in the slightest, so this edition would be a no brainer, and honestly the price difference isn’t that large.
I feel a little odd, but King Oddball has got me. It’s not everyday I’d give a solid recommendation to a cheap-ish Angry Birds style game that’s available cheaper elsewhere, but today is the day. Obviously these type of games can offer a little bit of frustration and need a bit of luck at times to get places, so it’s not for everyone, but I really enjoyed the simplicity King Oddball offers with its generous content and I was happy to keep playing level after level and I’m sure you guys will too.
Game provided by 10tons.