Review: Widgets Odyssey

Widgetsodysseypromoboxart.jpg Widgets Odyssey, the first episode in a two-part PlayStation Minis series from Frima Studio, tells the charming story of five robots that have lost their home planet to the Cosmic Sneeze and embark on an epic intergalactic journey to prevent the evil Yagor from conquering the universe.

With its colorful presentation and oddball characters and sense of humor, Widgets Odyssey would fit right in on the Cartoon Network, and its 2D puzzle-platforming gameplay is a fun, mini-sized throwback to console greats like the early PSOne Oddworld games.

As five quirky robots – Cosmo, Helmut, Monk, Bruce and their fearless captain, Spad — you play through four stages of simple platforming, item collecting and puzzle solving, with a closing fifth stage “mini-game” playing out as a side-scrolling shoot-‘em-up. This shooter stage is by far the weakest part of the game, though, unfortunately.

Each of our five widgety heroes here gets to star in their own mission, using their unique talents to complete a variety of objectives. Cosmo, for example, is a floating head with arms, and in his level you visit an asteroid to rescue his pal Helmut, collecting his scattered body parts and putting him back together again. Then there is Bruce, who motors along on two wheels driving up ramps to reach higher ledges and flipping switches to raise/lower platforms in order to reach and deactivate a magnetic barrier surrounding the planet. Monk, the team’s engineer, stars in the strongest level of the bunch, bouncing around on his plunger body through the S-Pace’s (the team’s spaceship) plumbing system in order to connect a series of twisted pipes in such a way that it flushes out a gang of scrap iron mercenaries that has boarded the ship.

The controls and puzzles are all pretty straightforward, but the real challenge comes from environmental hazards such as acid drips and falling ice spikes, enemies who are best left avoided, and the gradual drain of drenalin, the robots’ energy source. If you run out of drenalin before finishing a stage, you start over from the beginning, and in my case I failed at least once on my first attempt at each stage until I figured out the lay of the land.

At five levels and roughly an hour and change in length on the first playthrough, Widgets Odyssey is a short adventure. But it is right-priced at only $2, and already I’ve replayed it three times just for kicks. Overall, this is exactly the type of breezy, lighthearted experience the Minis platform was established for.

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Pros:
+ Lovable, quirky characters
+ Cartoonish graphics and presentation
+ Clean, simple puzzle-platform fun
+ Only $2

Cons:
– Short game length
– Clumsy shooter mini-game

Game Info:
Platform: PlayStation minis (PSP and PS3)
Publisher: Frima Studio
Developer: Frima Studio
Release Date: 7/6/2010
Genre: Puzzle/Platform
ESRB Rating: Not rated
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!