Oozi Earth Adventure PC Review

When Oozi: Earth Adventure hit my desk, I honestly didn’t know what to expect. The title itself looked like it had been put together well, but it’s an independent platformer. For those of you who are oblivious to the world of indie gaming, indie platformers are like AAA shooters – there’s too many of them. This fact put Oozi at a disadvantage before it even left the starting gate. It was a new title being thrown into a saturated genre. Fortunately, it knew exactly what it was doing.

Oozi is a very simple title. The story line provides a basic introduction and justification for the title. Oozi -the main character- is running a delivery when his fuel gauge hits empty and he plummets to earth. Upon impact, his ship broke and he is given the task of collecting all the pieces (see Pikmin). It’s not much of a story, but Mario and Sonic haven’t pulled off anything more in depth in the last 25 years. Then again, Oozi seems to derive much of its inspiration from an older generation of platformers.

Perhaps the most interesting part about Oozi is the fact that it knows what it’s doing. The game starts simple with a jump command being the only action available to the player. Once you’ve become comfortable with jumping, the game introduces a double jump, a wall grab, and so on and so forth. Ultimately, this leads to a whole arsenal of skills that the game builds around. Every time a new skill is introduced, Oozi makes it a vital part of the game and makes the player feel like they’re always doing something new. To add to this, the game makes sure that every level is unique and that players never get bored of their scenery.

If nothing else, Oozi is a beautiful platformer. Not only are all the characters and levels unique in their own way, but it feels like the developers took time to design each one. Everything serves a purpose in Oozi, and it’s very rare to see repetition. Additionally, the soundtrack, while not perfect, was entertaining enough that I never turned down the volume in favor of my favorite German radio stations.

Unfortunately, there were many times where the game had too much going on. It may be entirely possible that I’m a weak minded individual who’s completely incapacitated if more than four things are happening around me. While that’s a possibility, I do believe that Oozi tries to cram too much into itself. I remember one particular scene where I had to jump from one vine to another to get to the next stage. The platform where I was standing had an invulnerable enemy guarding the vine, and the vine itself was populated by an invulnerable enemy. Additionally, the same vine was covered by stationary spikes and taking damage would correlate into me plummeting into water (a situation which invited instant death), with my only refuge being a small landing I’d have to hit with pin point accuracy. The whole situation was  frustrating, and there was too much going on for a world-1 level.

If Oozi has one problem, it’s a complete lack of pacing when it comes to the difficulty curve. The first level, while meant to serve as a basic tutorial, can quickly become a nightmare to those who have limited patience towards dying over and over again. What’s worse is that Oozi has a nasty tendency to put bottlenecks (places where the game becomes exceedingly difficult) right before check points rather than right after. This means that the player has to work their way to the hard parts before they can fail and start all over. While this may sound like a small bug, dying for the 29th time because you didn’t have enough health to survive the plethora of enemies becomes rather tiring. However, these complaints – while annoying – can’t wholly dim Oozi’s brilliance.

Oozi does very little wrong, and it’s a title that remains manages to maintain enjoyability. While it may not have much to offer beyond its visuals, it’s a safe game. It’s a title that won’t leave you disappointed. Granted, it may not be a title you remember as vividly as say Super Meat Boy or I wanna Be The Guy, but it’s a loyal game that will entertain you for the time you play it.

7 out of 10
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