Solid controls, simplistic gameplay
Plodding, repetitive, some music choices are annoying after a while
If you’re not a fan of 2D platforming and colorful, creative art, you won’t like Oozi: Earth Adventure. Developed by Awesome Games Studio, Oozi: Earth Adventure would fit right in with any of the great platformers out there, and with the exception of a couple of small-yet-noticeable flaws, is a fantastic way to waste a few hours.
Oozi: Earth Adventure previously debuted as a four-part game on Xbox Live Indie Games, before now being released as a complete title for PC direct from the developer’s website (you can also download a demo there), though they’re also trying to get it featured on Steam. The story is simple: you play as an alien who crashes on a strange planet, and need to collect your gear and spaceship to go home. Sounds easy, right?
Visually, the game is very striking. Bright colors abound, and whether you’re playing on a monitor or an HDTV, the visuals are very eye-catching. Enemies seem to draw some inspiration from the Rayman series, and the environments themselves are truly a sight to behold. You may have someone stop and watch you play, not for the gameplay itself, but to just admire the art.
Speaking of gameplay, Oozi: Earth Adventure supports keyboard and mouse controls as well as USB gamepads, which are really the way to go for me, as I can’t seem to ever get comfortable using a keyboard to play a 2D platformer. It handles well, with quick and precise responses to your input; if you die, it’s going to be your own fault… but you shouldn’t worry about death too much, since the game features three difficulty settings for you to choose from. If it seems too hard, knock it down a peg. “Easy” difficulty is quite literally a walk in the park. Boss fights in particular are fun little “memorize this enemy’s pattern” tasks. It’s not without nitpicks, though: while the levels are well-designed and the gameplay is indeed tight, some of the levels seem to drag on and on, especially if you choose to hunt down the optional “secret stars” in every level, which unlock levels in the game’s Challenge and Arcade modes. It seems unfair to compare to the Mario series of titles, but unlike with Nintendo‘s series, I grew bored during a few levels, and that shouldn’t happen.
Speaking of those extra modes, Challenge and Arcade do add quite a bit of replayability to the adventure; in Arcade, you see how many stars you can collect in a set amount of time, while Challenge dares you to complete certain objectives – like finishing a level without taking damage – while racing from checkpoint to checkpoint. Definitely a highlight that adds value.
As for the game’s music, the instrumental pieces that accompany each level are appropriately moody and tuned to whatever environment you’re in, but also are another weak point for the game; on more than a few occasions I noticed an obvious stop and start to the level’s soundtrack, which implies that whoever edited the music loops either didn’t try very hard or wasn’t very good at it. Also, since some levels seem to take too long, you’ll hear that loop more than a few times, which could force you to turn down your speakers and grab your iPod.
Overall, though, Oozi: Earth Adventure is a safe choice if you’re looking for a 2D platformer to add to your library. It does a lot of things right, and it’s worth your time to at least try the demo.