Fans of platform games, listen up. There's a new game in town that I think you're going to like. It's called Oddmar and it's fantastic. It's got everything you love about a solid platformer: lots of skills-based jumping, plenty of baddies to destroy, and a storyline that makes you want to make it all the way to the end.
The story of an odd duck Viking
The game starts off with the story of Oddmar, who is just a little bit different from the rest of the Vikings. He's not a fan of pillaging and destroying. He's worried that he won't make it to Valhalla if he doesn't do as he's told and burn the forest to the ground so his village can grow and prosper. I'd be concerned, too.
After the prologue and intro finish, you're dropped out into the mythological world of Midgard where you control Oddmar across 24 levels of platform goodness.
Things start out slowly. You can only move and jump in the first two levels. Don't worry, though. There's a lot more to this game than jumping from platform to platform. You'll gain some additional abilities along your journey. Remember, you're trying to secure your place in the Viking's heaven.
By the time you get through the final level on the first world, you'll be attacking bad guys, collecting secret items, and running from destruction like a true Viking.
As you complete levels, you'll unlock more of Oddmar's story. Is he really charged with burning down the forest? Or is there something more to life than just destruction?
I found myself compelled to try to complete levels if for no other reason than to find out what's happening to Oddmar.
A pure platformer for true fans
Oddmar is weighted heavily on platform skills. You're not going to spend a whole lot of time searching for the right pattern to unlock a door. You may have to push a cart here and there to move something so you can jump, but it's pretty standard fare.
Your point score is determined by 1. how fast you get through the level, 2. how many coins you collect and 3. whether you find the three secret coins.
It reminds me of early platform games that require impeccable timing and exact aim for jumps. It's definitely a game for fans of a pure platform experience.
It does, however, also have an outstanding visual component. We're not talking about pixelated, simple graphics. The world around you is filled with lush, green forests, jagged cliffs, lava-laden mines, and all kinds of wonderful landscapes.
Little Oddmar will eat mushrooms and cry, "For Valhalla" if you wait too long to move.
On screen controls vs. MFi controller
The on-screen controls leave a little to be desired. I can see why they're designed the way they are, and they work perfectly (which is very important for a game that requires precision timing), but they felt just a bit backward, to me.
You move Oddmar by swiping to the left or right on the left side of the screen. The right side is for jumping and attacking. To jump, you swipe upward. To attack, you tap the screen. You can also trigger a fast downward slam by swiping down.
By the time I was playing the "boss" level in the first world, the fifth level of the game, I had to switch over to using an MFi controller.
Thank goodness Oddmar supports MFi controllers. Once I was playing with something more akin to a traditional grip controller, I was much more at ease and could play with better timing.
That's partly to do with my own inadequacies at playing mobile games using touchscreen controls. I'm more comfortable with a game controller, and when it comes to skills-based platform games like this, it's just a bit awkward for me.
Which speaks volumes to the designing behind the Oddmar. The on-screen controls never skip or lag. They're as smooth as can be, but if you have a controller that you can connect to your iPhone, the experience is just as smooth, and for people like me, more comfortable.
Is it worth the price?
If you like platform games, the only right answer is yes. It's a perfect homage to games like Super Mario Bros. without being just an old game in a new skin. The storyline is riveting — enough to make you want to keep playing so you can unlock another plot point.
It's got significant replay value because, once you've completed a level, you can replay it to find those secret coins, get all the available coins on a level, and try to beat the best time. Your score is registered with Game Center, so you can become the top of the leaderboards with enough practice.
I wouldn't be surprised if Oddmar ended up on Nintendo Switch within a year at twice the price of what you can get it for on iPhone and iPad. Don't pass this up if you like platform games.
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