Review: Oozi: Earth Adventure is a fun throwback to platformers like Earthworm Jim and Ristar

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The difference between a platformer that’s fun and one that's boring often depends on how clever the actual running and jumping gameplay can be. Oozi: Earth Adventure from developer Awesome Games Studio is anything but boring. Well, most of the time. This is a 2D platformer that relies on classic tropes such as stomping on enemies, jumping off walls and bouncing off springs. The themes and art seen in Oozi are quite charming, and the cleverness that’s witnessed throughout is reminiscent of older action-platformers such as Earthworm Jim and the original Rayman games. The game does drag on a bit at times, but overall, this is a title that fans of platformers can certainly have a lot of fun with.

Levels in Oozi are quite lengthy. As a matter of fact, they can be a bit too long at times. It’ll likely take you between 25 and 30 minutes to clear individual levels. While I was certainly able to appreciate that aspect of the game at first, the more I played, the more I wished for some shorter, Mario-length stages. Thankfully, the platforming is fun throughout the entirety of the levels. You’ve got countless obstacles to overcome as you make your way to the goal. Projectiles, spikes, lava, and armored baddies are just a few of the hurdles that stand in your way.

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Platformer fans will notice plenty of familiar elements in Oozi. A lot of the time, the game requires you to perfectly time jumps as you climb vines, traverse moving platforms, and avoid hazards. Additionally, there’s a great deal of pattern memorization. Enemies move a bit sluggishly, but because they’re often grouped together, overcoming them and making your way around other elemental obstacles can be pleasantly tricky. Speaking of enemies, there isn’t too much variety in this department. While a few of the alien creatures you come across can’t be touched, most of them are easily disposed of with a stomp on the head.

Each of the game’s four worlds throws a boss fight at you. Like so many action games from previous console generations, these battles are based entirely around attack pattern memorization (and three hit points). While these ordeals are generally challenging, they can be a bit frustrating. This is due to how slow-paced they are -- bosses take their time dishing out offense, so if you fail at one of these encounters, expect to deal with the obnoxious length until you clear the stage and claim victory.

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There are a total of 20 levels in Oozi, not counting boss battles. It’ll take you about five hours to get through the game, but there’s plenty to do to keep you occupied for much longer. Collectible stars are strewn about each of the game’s stages, and finding these requires a bit of exploration off the beaten path. Grabbing these trinkets unlocks objective-based challenge levels for you to sink more time into. The idea of exploring the world of Oozi is okay at first, but I grew bored of it halfway through the game due to the long nature of the levels.

Graphically, this is a really pretty adventure. Levels consist of bright colors and pleasing backgrounds. Sadly, there’s not much variety within each of the worlds, so you can expect to see a lot of the same themes for long stretches of time. That one gripe aside, Oozi is just a really nice game to look at. It should also be noted that the main character has a goofy grin and distant look on his face reminiscent of just how silly platformers used to be. As far as the music is concerned, it’s also pretty fun to listen to, but it loops a bit too often and gets repetitive fast.

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Oozi is a great attempt at providing an entertaining alien land to jump around in and explore. It’s not without its flaws, but this game delivers some wholesome gameplay that’s just a heck of a lot of fun. A little more variety and some shorter stages could’ve made for a much more enjoyable experience, but there’s no denying that the fun factor in this intergalactic platformer ranks pretty high.  This isn’t the next big 2D platformer, but it’s still worth playing if you’re a fan of the genre. It’s especially worthwhile if you grew up on these types of games back in the days of the Genesis, where Oozi would’ve felt right at home alongside titles like Ristar and Earthworm Jim.

Want to talk about indie games, Kirby, or cheap pizza? Follow me on Twitter @dr_davidsanchez.

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