Game Review: King Oddball (Switch)

Last year Finland-based-development studio 10tons released Neon Chrome, a top-down cyberpunk sci-fi styled twin-stick-shooter, onto a variety of platforms; and now this charmingly difficult game has arrived onto Nintendo’s hybrid console – the Nintendo Switch! Is this a good thing? Well that all depends if you like Twin-Stick-Shooters; but there is no denying that Neon Chrome finds itself as a welcome addition to the Nintendo hybrid console.

  Title: Neon Chrome
Publisher: 10Tons Ltd
Developer: 10Tons Ltd
Platform: Nintendo Switch
Resolution: 1920 X 1080
Audio: English
Subtitles: English (White)
Local Players: 1
Online Players: N/A
Install: YES (60mb)

Our View:

As of late 10tons, the Finland based games developer which originally started off developing mobile titles, have been porting their back-catalogue of games to the Nintendo Switch with rapid succession. King Oddball is no different; a game which was previously released onto mobile devices before being ported to the PlayStation Vita has now been redeveloped and published onto the Nintendo Switch via the Nintendo eShop. It’s not just a simple port either as the game has undergone some visual improvement with native 1080p support for that crystal clear picture.

So what’s King Oddball all about? Well the player takes control of King Oddball, a giant rock face (that somehow reminds me of Megatron from the Transformers TV Series) who decides to conqueror earth, but in order to do this the earth’s army must be destroyed. In order to destroy the army players must drop rocks onto the tanks, helicopters, robotic soldiers and various other defences that pop-up during the campaign.

Interestingly unlike other physics based puzzle games, which see players able to adjust the angle and speed of the thrown object, King Oddball simply drops the rock onto the ground. Basically King Oddball will grab a rock automatically and swing it from side to side (by using his tongue) and all the player must do is “tap” the screen (or press A) for the rock to be dropped. It sounds simple but it’s actually rather difficult as it requires timing and some calculation, as by pressing the button too late (or too early) will mean that the rock misses its target. Furthermore with only 3 rocks per level it can become difficult to hit all of the targets, especially in the later levels with multiple enemies protected by shields or rocks.

Despite the 3 rock limitation per level players can obtain additional rocks by performing combos, for instance if a rock dropped hits three or more targets it will be classed as a combo and an extra rock will be awarded. Furthermore to aid players in destroying the targets are explosive boxes, hit these and it will send anything nearby flying and if used correctly you can destroy everything in the level with just one rock. Amusingly the game has no individual level rating, whereby you are rated on how well you have performed, which means you don’t have to get yourself stressed over about not getting 3-Stars, something which used to annoy me in Angry Birds and other games of this time. Unfortunately this also takes the competitive nature of the game away as after beating a level you simply move forward onto the next.

As King Oddball features a story of sorts, which the objective being for King Oddball to conquer the world, the games main menu is one big map whereby players move King Oddball around the map in order to access new levels. As per the norm completing levels  will unlock new locations and new challenges for you to take part in. For instance a challenge mode (which features grenades as opposed to rocks) will be unlock and a Diamond mode (which allows old levels to be replayed with a new twist) will also be unlocked. The further you progress the more variety you will find. Naturally a nice variety of gameplay modes is available; but you do have to play through a large portion of the game before they become accessible.

It’s these additions that make King Oddball vastly different to anything already available on the Nintendo Switch (or any other devices for that matter) and as you’d expect the further you progress the harder it gets, Which is where the problems can arrive. Players have no control over King Oddball (other than dropping the rock) and as such may find themselves getting annoyed at not being able to progress forward, also while the soundtrack has a “professor Layton” vibe it does get annoyingly repetitive during longer playthroughs.

For me the biggest issue is not being able to replay the ‘original’ levels once you have passed them, the only way to replay them is via Diamond mode which (although virtually the same) has a slightly different set of rules and annoyingly has to be unlocked.

What you see is what you get with King Oddball; it’s a physics based puzzle game that has a uniquely different approach to what similar games, such as Angry Birds, offer and while it may have some flaws it does provide a lot of fun and works impressively well with the Nintendo Switch in both docked and handheld modes. Whichever playstyle you choose, King Oddball offers the same type of experience throughout and is great for short bursts of fun on the go.

Score: review-stars-3

King Oddball is now available within Europe as a digital download from the Nintend Switch eShop. King Oddball is also available for download on iOS, Android, PC and PlayStation platforms.

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About Scott Emsen
Scott is the Founder and Executive Editor of AnimeBlurayUK but in the past he has worked at ZOMGPlay, Rice Digital and Funstock and was once a Community Moderator for the Nokia N-Gage forums. Based in the UK, he loves anything related to Games & Anime and in In his spare time you'll mostly find him playing on one of his many gaming consoles; namely the PS Vita, PS4 or Xbox One.

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