King Oddball Review – Even Free Games Can Hurt

There’s a literal taste that comes to me when I can’t handle the levels of boredom I’m experiencing. It tastes like ash, dead taste buds, room-temperature water, and whatever bitter chunks of food are still stuck in my teeth. Never am I more stagnated nor apathetic than when I have my hands on something that transcends boredom, and I have King Oddball to thank for letting me know that price is not a factor in throwing myself down this well.

My experience with the game, in all seriousness, has been a derivative drag. You, as the titular character, are taking over Earth one continent at a time and have to destroy armies along the way. Taking on the military means your swinging tongue is armed with a boulder that you have to time to hit as many vehicles as possible amongst some explosives and structural obstacles.

Does it sound like Angry Birds? It’s worse than Angry Birds.

I have a lot of issues with King Oddball but two that commit regicide: level designs repeat and you have no control over the swing of your tongue. In order, we’re not talking about complicated stacks of enemies that you have three – or more depending upon skill shots – projectiles to knock out, but simple, small numbers at or near ground level. There’s very little nuance in enemy type; the sole variation that doesn’t involve the height of release is a shield that tanks can receive sometimes. That’s your curveball. Throw on top of that the fact that you will see multiples of the same enemy configuration within the first 30 minutes and it breaks the roof on repetitive gameplay.

The King’s incessant tongue swinging is at least the same speed all the time despite it taking away any degree of control, power, or anything but timing. You can see where developer 10 Ton thought, with very well-meaning intentions, this was a simplified approach for the Vita crowd to take on the go, speed through a few levels, and leave again. It just feels like they went too far and took away any and all engagement, making it a clicker game with no upward mobility.

King Oddball
That’s the face!

Graphically, King Oddball isn’t anything impressive for any current console. It’s a waterfall of the same bouncing sprites, the same static backgrounds, and the same insipid musical loops you can’t get away from fast enough. I do appreciate the exaggerated animations on the King, especially his “daw…” frown. At least he seems to be having fun.

Even as an intended portable title, there are far too many misdirected concepts taped together to make an entertaining product. For those looking for mind-numbing, King Oddball will bring the beer to that party. Me, I’m just going to go wash my mouth out with something refreshingly cool.

King Oddball Score


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