Odysseus Kosmos and his Robot Quest (PC) Review

By Renan Fontes 04.12.2017

Review for Odysseus Kosmos and his Robot Quest on PC

In the deep reaches of space, upon the San Francisco, Odysseus Kosmos and his robot friend, Barton, await the return of the rest of the ship's crew. Unfortunately for them, their crewmates have been on a planet where time moves incredibly slow. For them, it's as if no time has passed at all. For Oddy and Barton, years have gone by in isolation. It's a premise that lends its character to deep examination, one that inherently demands reflection. With such an intimate premise and setting, the point and click genre is the perfect fit for Odysseus Kosmos and his Robot Quest. Though, one has to wonder whether the decision to make the game episodic was completely necessary.

Odysseus Kosmos and his Robot Quest does have a legitimate reason for being episodic in its defence: the art. Due to the high quality of the art design, and some of the best sprite work in recent memory, Oddy's quest is a rather time consuming one. According to the development team, the art takes roughly four to five months to complete. Instead of holding onto the project for years until it was entirely finished, the team has opted for a full release split over a few instalments. This is a fine workaround, but it results in the first episode spending a long time on introductions, exposition, and setups.

Screenshot for Odysseus Kosmos and his Robot Quest on PC

This is a necessary evil for any episodic video game, but it's an evil nonetheless. Zoning in too much on the setup can lead to the pay-off either coming off underwhelming in comparison or simply not showing up. As the first in a season, this episode can't fully go into the crew's past, the exact story behind their mission, or fully develop Oddy - which is a shame, because these are the three most compelling facets of the story. In traditional point and click fashion, Oddy gives a little descriptor when examining any given item and many of his blurbs refer back to the grew or give some context on who he is as a person. Oddy puts on a humorous front, but he's clearly someone lonely and introspective and his arc will surely bring him to a point where he no longer overcompensates for his feelings. Unfortunately, that arc cannot happen here as this is just the start of a grander story.

It's entirely likely that Oddy's arc will have impact when it's finally done, but, starting out, the player isn't given much outside of an idea of the man Oddy was and the man Oddy can be. While the main reason is because the story can be barely considered a first arc, it doesn't help that much of the actual adventuring is spent doing odd jobs and chores. In truth, this is a double-edged sword that does as much good as it does bad. On one hand, very little is established outside of what Oddy's average day is like. On the other hand, this is a good thing to establish, as it sets up the breaking of the status quo. Status quo is something often mishandled in video games, and that mishandling can be seen best in RPGs. The protagonist lives in their quaint town, tragedy strikes within the first half hour, and they're set off on an adventure. Here, Oddy's day-to-day is properly established, so when things start to go off track, there is a mutual feeling of unfamiliarity for the character and the player.

Screenshot for Odysseus Kosmos and his Robot Quest on PC

One of the first things established about Oddy is his clumsiness and forgetfulness. Many of the puzzles, which should be simple to handle for someone maintaining a ship on their own for years, are challenging because Oddy either doesn't remember where he's left his equipment or because he's simply forgotten trivial information. In establishing these traits for the protagonist, the need to suspend disbelief over his ability to handle his job is quelled. The forgetfulness also ensures constant exploration as Oddy has seemingly no regard for where he leaves his tools or ID badge. The back and forth can feel tedious at times, but it allows for a deeper bond to be formed with the San Francisco. By the end of episode one, it's easy to feel an intimate connection with the ship.

The puzzles themselves are fairly standard. Oddy reaches a roadblock, he needs to explore and find an item so he can make progress, and the process repeats until the end. The San Francisco's rooms are all fairly unique, and the art allows the player to process all the information they need to on one screen, so puzzle solving is never too frustrating for anyone paying attention. Unfortunately, there are moments where the art is perhaps too subtle, potentially leading to frustrating moments. In the first screen, Oddy has to find his screwdriver to repair a mixer, but the screwdriver is lodged gently on top of a speaker. It's actually visible on top of it, but it's so difficult to see that it's entirely possible to take quite a while to even recognize that it's there.

Screenshot for Odysseus Kosmos and his Robot Quest on PC

Artistic subtlety is nothing, however, compared to Odysseus Kosmos and his Robot Quest's biggest problem: the writing. Grammatical errors and typos litter the script with the wrong forms of "its" and "it's" being used interchangeably, and no mind being given to the differences between "to" and "too." If the text isn't incorrect, then it's usually long winded. While Oddy's descriptors are mostly good, his dialogue with Barton drags far too often. They squabble back and forth at each other for what feels like an eternity at times. It makes sense that these two characters would get on each other's nerves, but they speak so much without saying anything. The best example of this style of writing is shown right at the beginning. Barton promises doughnuts for Oddy if he finishes his chores, and the two go back and forth basically repeating the same basic information that Oddy wants doughnuts.

Even though the actual writing can be disappointing most of the time, the story concept is strong enough to carry it, at the moment. Going forward, however, careful attention needs to be given to the dialogue. Trimming out the fat and another round of proofreading would have made episode one a far more palatable experience.

Screenshot for Odysseus Kosmos and his Robot Quest on PC

Cubed3 Rating

7/10
Rated 7 out of 10

Very Good - Bronze Award

Rated 7 out of 10

Odysseus Kosmos and his Robot Quest is by no means the perfect introduction to an episodic series, but it's one that still manages to thrive thanks to high production values and a genuinely interesting premise. The artwork is beautiful, featuring gorgeously animated sprites and well-drawn environments, and the puzzles build an intimacy with the environment. The script is lacking, and far too much time is spent establishing the story with little payoff, but Oddy's quest being episodic means that this can be remedied going forward. Odysseus Kosmos and his Robot Quest isn't the best it could be, but it lays down the foundation for a point and click adventure with a lot of heart and soul.

Developer

Pavel Kostin

Publisher

HeroCraft

C3 Score

Rated $score out of 10  7/10

Reader Score

Rated $score out of 10  0 (0 Votes)

European release date Out now   North America release date Out now   Japan release date None   Australian release date Out now   

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