Oozi: Earth Adventure opens up with a pseudo comic book style with poor Oozi’s fateful story. Oozi, an alien from an unspecified location was hurtling through the galaxy when he unfortunately crash lands on what must, going by the title, be Earth. During the crash, he loses his special space suit which he requires in order to get home.
Playing like pretty much any old-school 2D platformer, you start out running and jumping to the level exit, with new obstacles thrown up as you progress. Enemies start off simple, with a simple jump on their head enough to finish them off, but as the story continues the enemies require different tactics. One foe requires jumping on his head to stun him for a short time which gives you the chance to knock him off a ledge. Others are invincible against Oozi’s powers but can be destroyed with bombs that can be found through the levels.
Apart from the enemies that patrol the areas in a patterned way, there are also environmental elements to watch out for. Spikes, fire, slippery ice and puddles of acid litter the levels. There are also walls that impede your progress and these need to be destroyed by the previously mentioned bombs. As is the case with the moving foes, the environmental elements are not that difficult to overcome. Indeed, even on the Normal difficulty setting I rarely died more than once through the levels, even with the less than stellar keyboard controls.
Heaps of Challenges
Apart from the story mode, there are two other game modes to play – the Challenge Mode and the Arcade mode. The Arcade mode plays out on the story mode levels, but you are given a time limit in which to complete the level. The checkpoints act as a means of regaining time. Points are awarded for completing the level in a quick time as well as collecting as many stars and secret stars as possible.
The Challenge levels are somewhat different. Each of the specific challenges takes place on specially designed levels or, like the Arcade Mode, take place on the standard levels, but require a certain objective to be met. The Challenges each have a relatively simple primary goal but also have two more difficult secondary goals. Completing each of the goals grants a Completion Star with three stars being a perfect performance for that challenge. As is the case of the story mode, the challenges get more difficult as you progress. Challenges range from collecting or catching stars, running through a level without killing a creature, killing all enemies on a level, surviving for a period of time against a series of enemies, or even completing a level within a time frame. Each are quite varied and provide an extra challenge for those that find the story mode a tad on the easy side.
Bonus Challenge levels are also unlocked whenever you collect all five Secret stars on each of the Story Mode levels. I say Secret stars, but they aren’t that difficult to find. Most are just off the main path. There are often sections of the levels that branch off in two directions – one will lead you towards the level exit, whilst the other will lead you to the secret location of the bonus star. There are 100 bonus stars to collect over the 20 levels.
Probably the most frustrating experience I had with Oozi: Earth Adventure was the control methods. There are two control methods – keyboard and gamepad controller, although it seemed like the game wouldn’t recognise my Logitech controller so I was forced to play with my keyword which was probably the less responsive method. Having said that though, the keyboard controls do a more than adequate job.
The visuals look like they could have come straight out of a 90’s arcade platformer. The locations are vibrant and colourful and the characters have a cute cartoon feel to them, not unlike the original Sonic the Hedgehog. The music and sound effects also have a retro feel, with looping musical tracks and simple ‘beeps’ and ‘boings’ used as sound effects when squishing enemies. They may be somewhat plain, but they certainly suit the style of the game well.
For casual gamers as well as those looking for a challenge
Oozi: Earth Adventure looks like it is a simple casual game, and it is, particularly on the easier levels. It is one of those games that you waltz though, with little frustration. Yes it is easy, but it helps to keep the game flowing. There are enough checkpoint throughout the levels as well, meaning that if you do fall off a ledge or stumble into an enemy, you won’t need to complete the level from the start again. But for those looking for a challenge, the Hardcore difficulty is perfect. Add to that the Challenges and the Arcade mode, and you’ve got a game that has something for everyone.
Bright, colourful visuals. Fun platforming action at various difficulty levels
Gamepad controller wouldn't work