Norse mythology is so in right now. Between God of War, Hellblade: Senua’s Sacrifice and now Oddmar, the gods of old Scandinavia are hot gaming property.
Oddmar is a beautiful, traditional 2D platformer that takes some of the best lessons from console platformers and translates it onto Apple’s mobile devices. For owners of iPhones or iPads, its an essential addition to your mobile gaming retinue, at least for the short time it takes to complete.
One of the most striking aspects of Oddmar is its presentation.
It’s stunning and frankly far above almost every other mobile game that I’ve played. It appears as if the developers have adeptly reverse engineered Ubisoft’s UbiArt framework, used to make the excellent recent Rayman games. What this means is a sumptuous painterly feeling, like concept art has come to life in the actual game.
Oddmar’s art is luscious, and looks extremely high quality throughout. On my iPad Pro and iPhone 7 Plus every element was high resolution, and it was only a disappointment that it isn’t available on the Apple TV as well, where I could truly appreciate the art style. On top of that, animations are top notch, and it all runs at a smooth sixty frames per second.
While the story is a bit more involved than your traditional Level-based platformer, it still isn’t much to write home about. But it does give you four worlds to explore each with five Levels, and, for almost every platformer that doesn’t concern me terribly.
The Levels are generally fairly straightforward to get through, though like all great platformers to collect all the triangles, coins and bonus Levels will require a good level of dexterity and determination. There are also plenty of checkpoints in case you fall in to a pit or run in to an enemy, and restarts are fast. Some of the auto run sections, where the screen automatically scrolls and you have to keep up, were a bit poorly planned.
For example, if you get a little bit too ahead or behind exactly where you were supposed to go, then it almost guarantees a restart. At least lives are infinite, and once you know the path it generally isn’t too hard to get through.
I mainly played using a controller, the Steelseries Nimbus, the controller that Apple themselves promote.
Playing platformers on mobile devices is always a bit tricky (though it’s obviously a lot easier than full 3D games like Fortnite or PUBG), especially when there’s a lot of tight turns and twists. The controller set-up was great, and is definitely the best way to play Oddmar, especially on a bigger iPad like my iPad Pro 10.5”. I did use the touch controls on both the iPad and iPhone, and they were serviceable, and for most people they will be a perfectly fine way of playing the game.
In the constant flood of games and apps to the iOS App Store, it is rare to find a true diamond in the rough. But that’s exactly what Oddmar is. Every aspect of the game screams care and attention, and it’s a shame that it didn’t release more widely, such as on Android or Switch. I hope though, that Oddmar is a huge success, and the developers can use the money earned through the iOS versions to reach a larger audience on new platforms.
It’s risky these days to launch an iOS game, especially one with an upfront cost greater than than a snickers bar. But Oddmar has done just that, and it’s worth every cent that it asks for. A gorgeous, fun and entertaining platformer, the only downside to it is that not everyone can play it. If that’s the worst I can throw at it, it must be doing something right.
Released: April 2018
Platforms: iOS (iPhone / iPad)