Sunday 19 May 2019

Oddmar review: Odd man out beats the odds


(iOS) ★★★★ Age: 3+

Ronan Price

Ronan Price

The journey from game console to touchscreen device is an arduous one. Many developers have come unstuck in trying to translate ideas best suited to a console controller.

But Oddmar beats the odds to join a select band of quality platformers on iOS that wouldn't look out of place on a Nintendo machine. The attraction of this Viking-themed platformer starts with the charismatic art.

Crucially, though, the touchscreen controls - a virtual thumbpad coupled with taps and swipes for jumps and attacks - have been generously calibrated for precise movement of Oddmar himself. The gameplay conceits take obvious inspiration from genre classics such as Rayman but even though there's no reinvention here, it's all executed with admirable panache and humour.

Another developer might have been tempted to weigh down Oddmar with in-app purchases but the temptation has been resisted and this €5 buy is all the better for it.

Hyper Sentinel

(XO/PS4/PC/Switch) ★★★★ Age: 3+

Oh dear. Can be it really be 32 years ago when it seems like only yesterday to me that Uridium took the Commodore 64 and Spectrum world by storm? Built by the same studio, Hyper Sentinel recycles the seminal 2D shoot-em-up into a more frenzied version. It remains brutally simple: fly across a space dreadnaught to destroy its ground defences.

What it gains in new-fangled concessions to modern gaming - a recharging health meter makes more sense than vulnerability to instant death - it loses by inexplicably removing Uridium's manoeuvrability. A button combo used to flip the ship sideways to fit through narrow gaps into otherwise inaccessible areas. The whole concept of jinking around walls has more or less vanished and Hyper Sentinel is the poorer for it.

Still, with new end-of-level bosses and power-ups, this descendant has enough nostalgic pull to make me want drag my old Speccy out of the attic.


(XO/PS4/PC) ★★★ Age: 3+

A little bit WipEout, a little bit Splatoon, Trailblazers mixes genres with a twist to produce an intriguing racer capable of welding a smile to your face. It presents as a fairly familiar speedster - all dayglo colours and wacky characters fighting it out on hover-ships around extreme tracks.

But it slipstreams a new gimmick into the action with the idea of laying down a paint trail to act as a boost strip on the next lap. It's a notion that proves far more fun in co-op multiplayer whereas in solo mode it feels like a gloss on a fairly ordinary racer.

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