Oozi: Earth Adventure will immediately catch your eye with its goofy looking hero, Oozi. After all, his yellow skin, large grin and striped underwear make him hard to miss. Oozi is an alien delivery guy who crashed landed on Earth, which has certainly changed a bit since aliens started delivering packages. In order for Oozi to get back to his surely amazing courier job, he must recover pieces of his spacesuit and ship.
The controls are like that of many platforming games that have come before it; simply use the arrow keys to move and space bar to jump. Unfortunately, controlling Oozi isn’t always as simple. Jumping is easy, but walking around and changing direction in midair proves more difficult. As a form of intelligent life, you would think Oozi could respond to quick movements of the arrow keys. Perhaps due to an unfamiliarity with Earth’s gravity, he never lands where needed. Quick changes from left to right also seems to trip him up. Don’t let his appearance and clumsiness fool you; Oozi still has some smooth moves. He can grab onto walls, double jump, ground pound, and throw bombs or fruit. All of his skills are accurate and easy to use except when jumping from the wall grab, which takes some getting used to.
Within each area are stars to collect. Stars translate into points while refilling (if necessary) one of three hearts in ‘Story Mode’. The points don’t grant any bonus besides contributing to a high score. Additionally, there are 5 special stars to find throughout each location that will unlock a level from ‘Arcade Mode’. If easy mode doesn’t prove challenging enough, a “hardcore” setting is available. With only one heart available, though, prepare to be frustrated; even the first level is hard. If that’s not enough, there are two more modes to play through. ‘Challenge Mode’ gives you set of tasks to complete within each level, while ‘Arcade Mode’ challenges players to beat a level and be rewarded with completion stars based on the score.
Each environment has beautiful background art with cool features hiding around. There are eyeballs, creatures and billboards in the levels, making it feel as if an audience were watching. Animated to keep levels lively, they’re a nice addition to the various plants and objects that decorate the world. Levels include a forest, cave, secret lab and an alien planet filled with various hazards and enemies. Some of the music does match up with certain levels but not everywhere. Boss battles and cave levels should have dark, brooding scores, but instead featured light and airy music. The secret laboratory even had an inexplicable techno/dance beat. Sound effects are average, as nothing in the game warrants much in terms of explosions and electricity A nice touch to move the story along were the loading screens between each level featuring a little comic-style interaction or thought that Oozi has. It’s a great way to keep the game focused on the action instead of interrupting the flow with cut scenes.
Awesome Games Studios wanted to create a fun, casual, goofy game and that’s what Oozi: Earth Adventure is. Despite issues with the controls and musical selection, there isn’t much wrong with it. The abundance of levels and challenges make it creative enough to earn recognition along with its asking price. It’s not the next Mario, but that’s okay. Oozi’s future can still be very bright if given a few changes moving forward.
Version Reviewed: PC