With all of these shooters cropping up, it’s easy to miss out on titles that are trying to stand out by adding a peculiar twist or unique spin to their gameplay. ODIA, designed by Captain Bear Games, has taken a notably different approach, and is instead much slower and less forgiving in comparison to the usual retro-chique shooters that we’ve been seeing often. While it can be easy to dismiss it straight away for these very things, if you persevere, you’re bound to find some enjoyment in this methodical and slow-paced title.
After starting the game, you’ll be dropped straight into the action with no backstory or explanation. The first few things that appear is a chain up in the sky, with a shield in one of your hands and a laser gun in the. As you drop down to the surface, you’ll find yourself staring at a fortified beachhead, like a homage to Normandy in WWII. Some spooky looking cultists will follow suit, albeit slowly, as they attempt to storm the land… only to be mercilessly gunned down by enemy fire.
Your allies aren’t particularly useful here. They’re rather dim-witted, and mostly are there to act as cannon fodder. Luckily for you, you’re competent enough to perform a simple roll and can block attacks with your shield, despite your agonizingly slow pace. The chargeable laser gun is ineffective at dispatching foes. Seriously, it’s about as effective as a wet fart to the face, and couldn’t hit a barn door from five feet away, unless you charge up the shots.
Pro tip: get used to dying. A lot. It’s only possible to soak up a few shots before going down for the count, and that shield is of limited protection. Luckily, you’ll be reincarnated as another cultist, and none of the progress made will be lost. If an enemy was killed before you died, they’ll stay dead. Death is but a setback – still an irritating one at that – but it doesn’t spoil the overall experience entirely. It’s more like a kick in the shin.
In any case, it’s up to you to find a way onto the island and to reach the citadel stationed in the middle of the island. Keys will unlock alternate paths, and red gems are required to open the tower’s door. As you make your way onto the island, you’ll notice some large inscriptions on the ground. If you get close to them, you’ll be able to turn it into a respawn point for you and your brethren. While you can return to the other ones and reactivate those, instead of being able to pick from a list of unlocked respawn points, only one can be active at any given time.
They’re spaciously placed around the map, which is full of spacious areas to explore, such as a town, chapel undercroft, a field, forest, and so on. Some areas are locked behind gates, which require a key to unlock. Slain enemies may drop one, thus saving you needing to do too much excessive backtracking. Having to stumble around to find these keys is a time-waster, as it’s easy to get lost due to a lack of a map.
To enjoy ODIA, you’ll need a fair bit of patience. Having to respawn a good five or ten times in a row just to kill that one pesky guard with an automatic rifle isn’t exactly an enthralling experience. Then again, that sense of achievement you get from figuratively crawling your way through enemy lines, etching bit by bit closer to the goal, does make it somewhat worthwhile. As janky as it is, if you can cope with the slow pace and harsh difficulty, you may end up appreciating this one a fair bit.
Review code supplied by developer.