As the title states, King Oddball is… unusual. Sure, the Angry Birds comparison comes to mind quickly, but King Oddball stands on its own handsomely.
Like Angry Birds, King Oddball is about clearing the level of enemies by squashing them with lobbed objects. And the way it’s done is all about physics.
Unlike Angry Birds, King Oddball’s levels fit in single screen, and there’s (basically) only one kind of ammo to lob: rocks. And you don’t get to throw them around any way you please, either. Oh, no. The King automatically picks up the rocks and swings them back and forth by his tongue, and the player merely releases the rock by pressing X or tapping the screen. That’s it.
It may sound easy, and it is… until it gets hard. It may also sound simple, and it is… until it gets complicated. The beauty of the gameplay mechanics lies in the fact that we’ve tightened the physics engine’s precision screws as tight as they go. That way we achieve accuracy and predictability with the way the rocks bounce and roll. You really need that predictability, because typically there are many more enemies to take out than you have rocks for, so you need to take out several targets with each rock. That, in turn, requires perfect timing when releasing the rock.
I guess it’s difficult to explain well. Try the game yourself — there’s a free trial!
When we developed King Oddball, we had the gameplay down early and knew it was good. We had a whole lot more trouble coming up with the theme and related bells and whistles which would fit the gameplay. All we were sure about was that it wouldn’t be about cartoon animals.
Eventually, the design became a bit surreal, and we soon realized more surreal is the way to go. We’re really happy with how it all turned out. Who, or what, is King Oddball? We all have our own pet theories. Why does he want to destroy the world? Your guess is as good as mine. What the heck is the tongue and the rocks about? Not sure, make what you will of it!
The icing on the art style cake is the awesome soundtrack (which was recorded live, by the way). There’s not nearly enough accordion in games.
So yeah, King Oddball. Try it. And collect the moustaches.