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King Oddball (PlayStation 4) artwork

King Oddball (PlayStation 4) review

"The Mad King did as he liked...."

Imagine a sort of planetoid, maybe, with a big long purple tongue, a golden crown sitting cockeyed on its head, and a propensity for destruction. Imagine that purple tongue reaching out and grabbing the nearest boulder, swinging it back and forth for a while, then releasing it toward some sort of machine of military destruction. A tank, perhaps. Or a tank encased in ice (?). Or maybe a helicopter. Or maybe some brickwork supporting a tank. Or maybe a weird sort of bouncy ball that will deflect the boulder in a physics-like way, as in ďthe angle of incidence equals the angle of deflection.Ē Like we learned in high school science class, you know, or late at night in a bar somewhere at a pool table.

Imagine that, if you can.

This crazy scheme is the center of King Oddball, a game I downloaded for free from the Playstation Network on my PS4 (itís also available on PS3 and the Vita and on the Switch and on Steam. Maybe itís available on the roll of toilet paper in your bathroom, I donít know. It seems to be WIDELY AVAILABLE).

Wherever you get it, I hope you get it for free, as I did.

At root, King Oddball is a physics game, much like Angry Birds. You destroy things by tossing boulders at them. On King Oddballís tongue, the boulders trace a nice arc in the sky. Release them at just the right moment, and they will loft into the air, hopefully into one of these destructible objects. (If youíre like me, youíll often loft them impotently OVER such objects). If you destroy all the engines of war with your three allocated boulders, you win! If you get a good combination, destroying several objects at once, youíll even get another boulder to toss. And maybe a nice trophy.

The game has lots of levels of increasing difficulty. About eleventy billion of them. Well, less than that, but still a lot. Hopefully, youíre getting smarter as you go, and more skilled. And, there are added levels where you earn a diamond for using one less boulder per screen. And, there are levels where you toss grenades instead of boulders. There are variants, in other words. They donít vary by a LOT, but they vary a little bit.

This game is stupid fun for a couple of days. Who doesnít like diminishing their surroundings to rubble? We're all rock stars at heart, destroying the occasional hotel room. Tossing rocks, throwing grenades, itís great. Especially when the target collapses of its own weight. Or, better, explodes. Sometimes, with a lucky toss, the damage only increases. A boulder will shoot up in the air as a tank explodes, and knock a helicopter out of the sky! Maybe that burning helicopter will crash into another tank! Yeah!

Unlike Angry Birds, though, this game is sort of a one-trick pony. You *can* keep playing it, you just wonít want to. You come back, you complete a few levels, you get the occasional satisfaction of a great toss, and then get frustrated and go back to Star Trek (at least thatís what I do).

Download it if you can. Especially if itís free. Even if it costs a few bucks. But only a few. I guarantee that youíll have a blast. And a blast and a blast and a blast, and then...well, probably another blast, but only because there is a box of explosives there to hit, and yeah, thatís great fun. Hopefully, youíll take out a tank or two. But eventually itís just the same thing over and over again, except more tedious.

Tedious tedious tedious. Crap. Thatís too much like life.

I still recommend it. Just not perhaps for the long haul. I canít imagine anyone not having great fun for a while.


dirtsheep's avatar
Community review by dirtsheep (May 18, 2018)

jeff white is an old guy who came to gaming late. He plays mostly RPGs. He'll play on any of a number of devices or consoles, but is particularly fond of the Nintendo 3DS.

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