Review: Widgets Odyssey II

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Spad, Bruce, Cosmo, Helmut and Monk are back in the second episode finale of Widgets Odyssey, Frima Studio’s intergalactic puzzle adventure series for PlayStation Minis.

Widgets Odyssey II, available today via PSN download for one penny shy of $2, picks up right where the first episode left off, with the band of five heroic robots fighting to put an end to the evil Yagor’s tyranny once and for all, flying from one dangerous planet to the next in their trusty S-Pace spaceship.

Everything that was so wonderful about the first installment is back in episode two, and this time there’s even more diversity to the gameplay and even more fun to be had. This time there are four main stages and three different mini-games, altogether taking around an hour or so to complete depending on whether or not you get stuck on any puzzles or have to replay any stages – my total runtime clocked in around an hour and 15 minutes with a few retries on the last stage.

Overall, the levels in episode two offer a bit more complexity and challenge, though the game as a whole is still fairly easy. The final stage in particular really stands out. In it, Cosmo and Helmut break into Yagor’s temple of doom, where you must then guide them through a series of switch puzzles to rescue kidnapped robots. Cosmo can fly around on his own or attach to Helmut’s body to work as a single unit — when separate, Cosmo can fit through tiny crevices and fly off to reach raised switches, and when the two are united Helmut can fire Cosmo like a cannon to take out guards and break statues holding keycards. This switching mechanic is used to get the two through various gates and barriers leading to the tower’s control room, and the level as a whole is really well laid out.

And that’s just one example. The other three stages are much more involved than those of episode one too. Another involves sneaking past a surveillance robot by hiding under a box and riding through conveyor belts lined with mashers, and in another you break into an assembly plant, destroy a series of generators with TNT barrels, fight evil doppelgangers of the widgets crew, and then board a little bubble ship to escape the area before the timer runs out. The 2D environments are also more vivid and detailed, which I wasn’t expecting to see.

Like the first episode’s shoot-‘em-up level, the mini-games in episode two, while decent accouterments to the main levels, aren’t anything to write home about. There’s a dancing rhythm challenge in which you time button presses to notes that scroll up the screen, and one of the other mini-games has you bouncing Spad down a spiked hill inside a green bubble of goo. Problem is, the jumping controls for this section aren’t responsive enough for the exact timing that’s required to leap over the spiked obstacles — and there’s really no fear of failure even if you do roll down the hill without avoiding the hazards. Episode two also ends with a side-scrolling shooter level and boss fight, and it is definitely the best of the three (and better than the previous shooter mini-game).

Really, the lone disappointment I have with Widgets Odyssey II is that it fails to close the adventure in a satisfying way in terms of storyline. For a two-part series, I expected to get closure, but instead the game ends loosely with a tease for the possibility of future adventures. I’d love to see the Widgets Odyssey continue into additional episodes, but I do wish the story of this two-parter ended with more of a bang.

Regardless, Widgets Odyssey II is a goofy puzzle-adventure romp priced just right at $2. Grab it and the first part, and kick back for a couple hours of silly fun.

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Pros:
+ Lovable, quirky characters
+ Cartoonish graphics and presentation
+ Clean, simple puzzle-platform fun
+ Levels and puzzles are more detailed and involved than the first episode
+ Only $2

Cons:
– Story ends on a cliffhanger
– Mini-games are weak compared to the main levels
– Short game length

Game Info:
Platform: PlayStation minis (PSP and PS3)
Publisher: Frima Studio
Developer: Frima Studio
Release Date: 8/3/2010
Genre: Puzzle/Platform
ESRB Rating: N/A
Players: 1
Source: Review code provided by publisher

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About the Author

Matt Litten is the full-time editor and owner of VGBlogger.com. He is responsible for maintaining the day to day operation of the site, editing all staff content before it is published, and contributing regular news, reviews, previews and other articles. Matt landed his first gig in the video game review business writing for the now-defunct website BonusStage.com. After the sad and untimely close of BonusStage, the former staff went on to found VGBlogger.com. After a short stint as US Site Manager for AceGamez, Matt assumed full ownership over VGBlogger, and to this day he is dedicated to making it one of the top video game blogs in all the blogosphere. Matt is a fair-minded reviewer and lover of games of all platforms and types, big or small, hyped or niche, big-budget or indie. But that doesn't mean he will let poor games slide without a good thrashing when necessary!