Oozi. A star-collecting alien with a creepy grin
Every great video game character has their own personal motif. You know, something unique that makes them stand out amongst the crowd of stereotypical protagonists. Take Mario’s moustache, or Link’s green garb. Ratchet has his wrench and Sonic his shiny red shoes. Oozi the alien? Well, Oozi has a toothy grin that’s out of this world – not to mention it’s also kind of creepy.
Smiles aside, Oozi: Earth Adventure from Awesome Games Studio is a fun PC platformer in which you play a lost alien named Oozi who is striving against all the odds – snakes, spiders and slimes included – to find his space gear and return home! Unfortunately, 24 levels of forest, cave, laboratory and outer space stand in his way and it isn’t going to be easy.
When you start off in story mode (story being used in the most rudimentary sense of the word) the focus is on getting to grips with the basic mechanics and controls of the game. At first gameplay is that of any very simple platformer, so was frankly a little boring at first, however as I progressed into later levels more obstacles, mechanics and other things to remember were gradually introduced. Before I knew it I was jumping, sliding and stomping my way through level after level, but had to learn the hard way that aliens can’t swim.
The goal of almost every story level tended to be much the same – simply reach the last checkpoint. I was provided a maximum of three hearts at a time, however upon death was almost instantly returned to the previous checkpoint so there was no huge reason to worry. Each time I completed all the levels in an area, I was thrown into a refreshingly entertaining boss fight in which I had to use what I learned in my most recent adventures to defeat a huge and terrible beastie and progress to the next theme.
There are stars spread throughout each level that you can collect to increase your overall score, that once over certain thresholds can earn you a heart back. Other than that these seem to have no other use besides acting as a score. I would have liked the ability to use those hard earned stars to customize Oozi’s appearance (I’d do anything to wipe that smile off his face) or maybe purchase some form of upgrade but that’s just my personal opinion. For those who like to brag about having the highest score, collecting stars gets the job done.
In each story mode level (with the exception of boss levels) there are also five very special stars hidden in every nook and cranny. Completing story mode levels unlocks their arcade mode counterparts, however if you have also collected all five secret stars in any one level you will also unlock an additional, extra tricky challenge mode level.
In arcade mode, you must complete the level in a limited time and accumulate as high a score as possible to achieve a greater star ranking. In challenge mode on the other hand, there are secondary goals such as to achieve a certain score or even not to lose a single heart whilst still reaching the last checkpoint in time. Challenge levels, as the name would suggest, are often even more difficult with quirks such as dangerously rising water levels that pile on the pressure to put your platforming skills to the ultimate test.
Both of these modes tend to be more challenging and add a good sprinkling of fun for any player. In particular, these are likely to appeal to the completionists out there who obsess over finishing every challenge and earning every last star, as well as satisfy the seasoned platformer fan much more than the story mode might.
As for graphics, Oozi’s adventures on Earth are displayed in beautifully crisp and colorful 2D. Each theme had its own cartoonish charms, with various traps and nasties to avoid. Animations felt fluid, and I think this helped make Oozi feel responsive to control too.
Music on the other hand was decent in small doses but quickly became repetitive. The tracks were just too short, especially for the number of levels and challenges you’re likely to be playing through with the exact same music. Thankfully this can easily be fixed in the game’s options by your good friend the volume slider.
Oozi: Earth Adventure is filled with fun, and perfect for when you’ve got a bit of time to spare. I can see myself attempting to conquer a couple of challenges now and then when I feel like some simple and cheery gameplay. Mind you, this probably isn’t a game I’d play for hours straight, but it did run beautifully on my laptop so could be great for a spot of platforming on-the-go.
Review copy supplied
Tested on PC