Oozi: Earth Adventure Ep. 4
September 7, 2012 3 Comments
And that’s a wrap on Oozi. One game. Four chapters. $4 spent. Four boss fights that made me question the existence of evil on this Earth. Zero attempts at originality. But is the overall experience worth it? Kind of. Let’s start by recapping the previous chapters.
Part One: AGGGGGGGGHHHHHHHHHH!! Well, that sucked.
Part Two: AGGGGGGGGHHHHHHHHHH!! Oh hey, wait a second, it stopped sucking.
Part Three: Not bad.
Part Four: Still not bad. Oh wait, I have to feed this thing fruit? AGGGGGGGGHHHHHHHHHH!! This is boring.
Oozi’s problem is and always has been how unambitious it is. It does the graphics thing really well, but does everything else so much by the book that the book is now claiming royalties on the series. Oozi is the poster child for generic 90s platforming mascot. Like Serpentor, its creators borrowed the DNA from such soulless, design-by-committee, me-too cash-ins as Aero the Acro-Bat, Bubsy the Bobcat, or Crash Bandicoot. I was going keep that going all the way to Z, but I figured you guys would hire ninjas to insert burrowing cockroaches into my ear canal after I listed Donkey Kong Country and Earthworm Jim as soulless. Which they are, but I probably shouldn’t say it. Fans of those games take it too personal.
I’ll grant Oozi this: it’s not original, but it does what it does well. Paint-by-numbers levels, almost too easy platforming, hop-on-heads cruelty to animals, double jumps, butt stomps, and every other stand-by of the genre. If the subject is anything but sound effects, Oozi is decent. Not spectacular. Not memorable. Not something you’ll enthusiastically tell your friends to try. Just a good solid waste of 90 minutes per chapter. All four chapters are more or less the same, with the same scaling of difficulty, same principles of level design, and a hugely tedious boss fight to cap it off.
That’s probably the thing that pisses me off the most about Oozi: so many of the tasks of the game are busy work. In chapter four, there’s a couple of sections where you have to feed fruit to a monster. To get the fruit, you have to butt-stomp the ground by the fruit. Then, you have to carry the fruit, tossing it between enemies, over gaps, and up platforms. You move slow when carrying the fruit, and you can’t jump. If anything touches the fruit, you get to start over. It’s sooooooo boring, not at all difficult, and takes way too long to accomplish. But, and this is the thing that almost drove me towards taking up genocide, these sections don’t immediately place checkpoints after completing them. So let’s say you spend ten minutes getting this entitled mother fucking critter its food. Then, a random volcano spits up a fire-ball and you die. Guess what you get to do? That’s right, start all the way fucking over. And that happened to me. Twice. After the first time, I almost rage quit. The second time, I seriously wanted to personally strangle a species into extinction. I don’t care which one, but something fluffy and adorable would have been swell.
Oozi did end on a bright note: the very final boss was probably the least annoying of the series. As a result, Oozi 4 finds a spot on the leaderboard. It’s not as good as parts two or three, but it’s way better than part one. Then again, so is gonorrhea, so that’s not saying much. Ultimately though, if Oozi is remembered for anything, it will be for being the ultimate uncanny valley of XBLIGs. Oozi is a game you’ll swear you played on your SNES back in the day. Depending on your level of gibbering nostalgia, that might be a better thing than I experienced. As a child of a different era, I would like to put out this challenge to Awesome Games Studio: you guys are better than this and you know it. You created a series that is amazing to look at, but when it came to gameplay you settled for functional. I’ve seen artwork made out of feces that is more inspired. So next time, try something new and weird. Think of every fucked up thing you ever thought of doing with a platform game and give it a shot. The best case is you’ll have a game that people talk about as something other than a lifeless 90s platforming clone. The worst case is, well, you end up with a pile of shit. But hey, your mascot already looks like the bastard offspring of the Great Mighty Poo, so the status quo remains intact!
80 Microsoft Points don’t really think the final chapter takes place on Earth in the making of this review. Well, maybe in Oakland.
Three out of four games in the Oozi series are ranked on the Indie Gamer Chick Leaderboard. Where do they fall?