Ancients of Ooga review
Ancients of Ooga is a side-scroller with puzzles and combat thrown in - just like NinjaBee's early title, Cloning Clyde. In fact, it has been called a "spiritual successor", and features 50 levels of platform-puzzle gameplay for people who like to think a little bit while they're jumping around and climbing up ladders.
The plot revolves around the Oogani tribe, which was tricked into eating some "bad snails" by the evil Boolis. During their stupor, most of the leaders of tribe were killed, and the tribe was separated. It is your job to round up and motivate the remaining Ooganis, use their special powers to solve puzzles, and ultimately drive away the Boolis to reclaim your jungle home. Unfortunately, the charm of the story is held back by its boring presentation. The cut-scenes and dialogue between each level move slowly and feature no voice-overs, which effectively limits the game's wild personality and low-brow, cartoon-style sense of humor.
Aside from age-old side-scrolling platformer ideas like exploring, jumping, and collecting goodies, Ancients of Ooga's levels challenge you with puzzles that require you to to use your tribal powers in order to reunite your tribe and combine their powers to make progress.Typically you'll need to possess another Oogani so that he can stand on a door-opening switch. If your path is blocked by brambles or lava, you will have to locate an Oogani that is immune to those obstacles in order to pass through. Some of the powers are more exciting, like the ricochet Oogani. Item-gathering feels more like fetching random junk throughout most of the game, but it is just another part of most of the puzzles. Naturally, there are random collectibles as well as health items. In this case, the Oogani beverage of choice is sludge.
Unfortunately, the occasional combat situations with the Booli monsters are never much fun. The Oogani are not a threatening race by any means, and their puny attacks are even harder to use due to the generally-slippery feeling of the game's controls. I had problems sliding into Boolis, jumping over them, missing melee attacks, and so on.
Fortunately it is never much of a problem to restart from the beginning of a level. The scattered Oogani NPCs are always happy to give you a hint, and the in-game map highlights the location of your objectives very clearly. In fact, hand-holding is generous in Ancients of Ooga. None of the puzzles are hard enough to stump an experienced gamer, but the younger crowd may not complain.
To put it best, NinjaBee's latest title falls just above the "average" category. It is hardly a bad game by any means, but its limited appeal will only interest long-time fans of the genre or younger kids looking to experience something different. The gameplay is solid, but aside from a few quirky twists, it won't blow you away. Perhaps if the potential for the characters and story were properly represented by exciting cut-scenes with spoken dialogue, Ancients of Ooga would be a bit more exciting.