In ‘Oozi: Earth Adventure’ you play as Oozi, a little yellow alien courier who crash lands on a “strange green planet” (or Earth, as we humans like to call it). In the midst of the crash Oozi somehow manages to lose his entire suit, save for some striped underwear, and it’s up to you go out into the world to find his precious space suit and find a way to get back home.
Before the gameplay even begins you’re engaged with the opening cutscene. Not because of a beautiful pre-rendered movie, or a soundtrack of the gods, but simply down to witty writing. I found myself laughing aloud at censored language used by Oozi, and even the idea of running around in nothing but your pants for the first couple of levels is a joke in itself. Sadly you won’t get much more than this, as in-between levels you get nothing more than a screenshot and some sort of variation of the sentence “There are very hostile creatures here” or “I’ll keep on with my search for my suit”. This is a bit disappointing as the first impression made me think this game would have a couple of laughs, but it seemed the humour fizzled out quite quickly.
The gameplay is drizzled with platforming staples that have been generated over the years. You must jump on an enemy’s head to dispose of it (Plumber suit not included) and to jump higher you must hold down the jump button, much a like a certain fabric woven hero from another kind of planet. Sadly the gameplay doesn’t translate as well as its predecessors. That’s not to say that it’s bad however, it functions well enough, and when you get the flow of it you seem to breeze through the colour filled levels with ease. It just seems that some gameplay mechanics were given a lot of polish and attention, whilst others were just thrown together and rushed. The idea of having hooks that Oozi locks onto and then jumps off of was fantastic and a little more original. But for every great sequence there would be a frustrating one where I’m forced to tic-tac from one wall to another as a way of climbing up a shaft. Whilst this idea works great in a game like Fancy Pants Adventures, in Oozi it just feels very clunky, and one mistake means having to start from the bottom again. A slightly sloppy mechanic like this can be really badly placed when it’s in a game that’s so unforgiving. Spawn points are far and few between, and you have to recollect stars you’ve already picked up if you die. Some people would like this challenge, as it will really separate the men from the boys, but I found my craving for exploration was put down by the fact that I simply couldn’t be bothered to go into all the secret areas, because of the fear of having to go back through it if I drown 2 minutes later.
When I first crawled out of the crash, I was greeted by an original soundtrack which was more than good enough. It’s no Dovahkiin and I didn’t feel particularly epic, but it was certainly decent. That was until I was near the end of the first world, and I had the same tune follow me all the way from the beginning. It didn’t grind me because it was bad, but even some of the greatest songs on earth start to irritate you if you’ve heard nothing else for a couple of hours. You do get a different song for each world, but I feel that the game could have been delivered better if the music was switched up more frequently.
For completionists there are a lot of extra things to do if you wish to still play on as Oozi. There are an extra 44 Challenge mode levels that give insane difficultly and zero checkpoints, which defeated me easily, but for a hardened platforming veteran it would be enjoyable challenge as long as they master the bloody walljump.
I find that Oozi is at its core an enjoyable game. It would be a great game if there weren’t a lot of little things that took it apart little by little. I found that I would thoroughly enjoy it for 5 minutes, but then spend 2 minutes muttering curses under breath and promising Oozi that I will make it look like an accident. My advice would be to give it a go if you’re a platforming fan, but if this is your first platformer then are there are better options for you.
3 out of 5