Odama (Hands On) (GameCube) Preview

By Alexi Messeramo 17.05.2004 2

Odama is perhaps one of the strangest and most well hidden games at E3 this year. Hidden amongst samurai armour and large weapons, this is a game that Nintendo have labelled 'war-pinball'. We have to admit that we were a tad questioning of this games credentials, but having spent a little while with it we can happily confirm that whilst a little odd, it plays really well indeed!

This is basically a mix of real-time strategy and pinball; the fact that this actually works is more amazing than the game itself. The screen set up is quite confusing, but it all comes down to a battle map with a large ball, some flippers and various challenges to overcome. The bottom right contains a large cannon that upon a tap of A releases the Odama ball into play.

Screenshot for Odama (Hands On) on GameCube

The Odama ball is hugely powerful, it destroys anything in its path with some awesome powers. So to avoid it killing all your troops you have to think a bit in order to get the game to work.

Screenshot for Odama (Hands On) on GameCube

On the demo, the first thing we had to do was dam a river by destroying a water-wheel. By doing this, it allows the two opposing armies to come together and begin combat. With flicks of the C-Stick you can move about your troops and suchlike. The Odama ball is constantly in play, and using the huge stone flippers at the bottom of the screen you can fire the ball towards the enemy and other areas with huge pace and masses of carnage! You also have to knock down enemy towers and buildings, which are constantly being built and rebuilt.

Screenshot for Odama (Hands On) on GameCube

You status or 'war-tastic-ness' is rated on a bar at the bottom of the screen. Like in most games of pinball, if you lose all three of your balls its game over, we had to strategise to protect a ladder with our lives, and with a small army against seemingly unlimited opposition it is very tough. But thankfully this game has balls, large stone ones to be precise. The Odama has some very fine special properties.

Holding X will allows the ball to convert enemy troops to your side, and also prevents the Odama from squashing your own men into submission. The control stick tilts the screen meaning you can roll the Odama about with some very nice amounts of precision and accuracy. Of course when you have a huge stone ball the size of house it is very difficult to be subtle...

Screenshot for Odama (Hands On) on GameCube

Final Thoughts

Purely odd. Hidden away in a distant corner of E3, and we should imagine that is where it will remain when it releases (well, a distant corner anyway). How will it form a whole game? Is the sort of thing that will see? We're sceptical to say the least...

Developer

Vivarium

Publisher

Nintendo

Genre

Table Games

Players

1

C3 Score

Rated $score out of 10  7/10

Reader Score

Rated $score out of 10  10/10 (2 Votes)

European release date Out now   North America release date Out now   Japan release date Out now   Australian release date Out now   

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