Oozi: Earth Adventure Ep. 1

As I already said in my review for Akane the Kunoichi, 16-bit platformers had their time and place but died for a reason.  I feel like I’m Jeff Goldblum in Jurassic Park, trying to explain to people why nature selected games like this for extinction.  You know what?  I was bored sick by New Super Mario Bros. on both the Nintendo DS and the Wii.  Mario games were favorites of mine when I was young, but gaming has gotten so much better since then.  After absolutely loving the innovative Mario Galaxy titles, going back to the same old shit that I played to death when I was six years old felt like multiple giant steps backwards. Any developer, be it a juggernaut like Nintendo or some hack indie wannabe who attempts to recreate the magic of the straight-laced hop-and-bop genre is fighting windmills because the genre is as dead as Operation Rainfall.

So here we have Oozi: Earth Adventure Ep. 1.  If it was a breakfast cereal it would come in a plastic bag instead of a box.  It’s just that generic.  You play as an alien that looks like rejected concept art for Toejam & Earl’s midget sidekick.  He crash-lands on Earth and you have to help him find the pieces of his spacesuit and his spaceship.  Well, not really the spaceship part.  That’s being saved for Oozi Episode 2: The Legend of Curly’s Gold.  Along the way you encounter pretty much every platforming convention known to man, from double-jumping to butt-stomping and beyond.  There’s absolutely zero creativity on display here.  Zero.  None.  Zilch.  There’s five levels that each take around 15 to 20 minutes to complete, plus a boss battle.  Overall it took me about 90 minutes to complete, which is about 85 minutes longer then I would have liked it to have.

I’ll get to the good stuff first: the graphics are really well done.  Mr. Jon Cooper and his lovely girlfriend, who follow me on Facebook (like you should be doing), suggested this to me by saying it brought back some good 16-bit memories.  Truth is, Oozi looks more like the type of 2D games found on the Saturn or original Playstation to me.  It’s bright, colorful, and very well drawn.  Given how poorly the rest of the game turned out, it makes me wonder if the people at Awesome Game Studios should give up developing their own stuff and instead farm themselves out to other developers as graphics guys.  They have talent for art.  Everything else?  Not so much.

If you so much as dip a toe in the water in Oozi, you die. At this time I would like to point out that it's FUCKING RAINING on the stage. Continuity, people!

The chief problem is the control is terrible.  This is not a joke: when I first started playing Oozi I briefly thought I had spilled something on my controller.  Every action was so sticky and unresponsive that I figured something sugary had somehow worked it’s way into the buttons.   As it turns out that wasn’t the case.  Oozi’s controls are just shit.  The worst offender is the act of simply turning around.  There’s a full second delay in doing so.  When you can’t even face the other direction in an expedient manner, you have a problem.  There’s also delays in jumping and movement.  Sure, they are very minor, but noticeable enough to sometimes be an annoyance.

The level design is too bland and boring for anyone over the age of ten.  There’s just no excitement here.  And while the developers nailed the game visually, the audio leaves a lot to be desired.  The sound effects especially are worth mentioning because they really aren’t there.  Even after I muted the music and cranked up the effects AND turned my surround sound to full blast, the sounds were either near-muted or not there at all.  It’s a fucking hop-and-bopper.  It needs boings and baps and all that shit.  It’s stunning to me they could make the game look this pretty and forget something as fundamental as decent sound.  As far as the music goes, its way out-of-place here.  There’s only one track and it sounds like a mournful lullaby.  It was depressing and a very poor choice in my opinion.  Something more comical and lighthearted would have been more fitting.  But no, boring orchestral shit that could make even the most cheerful person on Earth contemplate suicide.

Speaking of which, in the really nit-picky department, the game has sections where you can drown but they neglected to include a comical death animation for it.  There is a small grunt, but that’s wrong too.  It should have been a glug.  Don’t underestimate the value of a good comedic drowning.  It can make even the most mediocre shit feel like it belongs in the Smithsonian.

Ultimately, all the little controller issues paint a broader picture of Oozi, and not a very pleasant one.  If they had been more fine-tuned, I would have at least recommended Oozi for a younger set.  Even with the control problems the game is easier than shooting fish retarded enough to get stuck in a barrel.  It would have been the perfect introductory game for young kids.  And hell, there’s some added challenge levels that, for me at least, were the highlights of the game and would have pleased the little shitheads’ parents.  But with the control problems, if you give your kid Oozi, it will taint their perception of games as being difficult to work with and boring.  Hmmm, actually it might be the perfect training for their future careers in middle-management at Gamestop.

Oozi: Earth Adventure Ep. 1 was developed by Awesome Games Studio

80 Microsoft Points so did not need to see alien plumber’s crack in the making of this review. 

About Indie Gamer Chick
Indie game reviews and editorials.

5 Responses to Oozi: Earth Adventure Ep. 1

  1. Pingback: Doc Logic « Indie Gamer Chick

  2. After your comment, I came here to see how strongly you disagree with me about Oozi only to realise I’ve read it before. Hmm.

    The music doesn’t bother me in the least, and I haven’t had any problems with control. Interesting how people can experience the same thing so differently.

    I haven’t suffered a drowning yet though. Maybe the lack of glug will completely change my perspective.

  3. Pingback: Oozi: Earth Adventure Ep. 2 « Indie Gamer Chick

  4. Pingback: Oozi: Earth Adventure Ep. 3 « Indie Gamer Chick

  5. Pingback: Oozi: Earth Adventure Ep. 4 « Indie Gamer Chick

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