Straight to Valhalla.
Over the last ten years, we’ve seen a resurgence of 2D platformers in all shapes and sizes. While most small developers tend to lean towards an 8-bit or 16-bit aesthetic, partly due to nostalgia and the ease of development, there are few that have a style all their own. And while Oddmar doesn’t reinvent the wheel, it certainly polishes it to a fine shine.
Oddmar is the titular Viking of this game. While dreaming one night, he’s visited by a fairy who leaves him a magic mushroom that gives him the ability to grow mushrooms everywhere. Returning to his village, he finds his fellow Vikings slowly disappearing off to Valhalla, like his old friend Vaskr before him. This leads him on a quest to Valhalla to save not only his village, but possibly the world.
The game has a gorgeous, almost hand-drawn art style that is reminiscent of other platformers like Rayman Legends. While most of the gameplay consists of running, jumping and attacking, you also have access to several weapons, which you can purchase by trading in the triangles you collect. Each of the 24 stages also hides three hidden talismans and a secret fourth talisman that can be obtained by completing an additional challenge. This challenge consists of a time attack mode or a hidden level that is either a gauntlet of enemies, a chase, or a hard platforming challenge. This variety also gives the game some room to breathe and can really test your abilities.
What made Oddmar stand out, aside from the visual style, is the great feeling in the movement and platforming. Oddmar’s jumps feel a tad floaty but can be combined with ease in order to reach higher ledges. This makes long stretches in the early levels a great way to get used to the gameplay. Bosses also provide some good variety. One level is a chase through a forest by a giant Troll, while the other is a fight on the high seas with a Kraken that you defeat by shooting at it with cannonballs.
While Oddmar is visually impressive, I found the music to be a bit generic and harkening back to standard Viking horns and adventure music. In addition, the game really gets going from the second world onward. Here, there are multiple new elements introduced, such as climbing vines, guiding enemies to switches in order to activate gates, and using balloons in order to move platforms. These are the levels where Oddmar truly does its own thing and doesn’t feel too much like the previously-mentioned Rayman Legends. For the die-hard platformer fanatic, completing the entire game will give you some good replay value. Collecting all the talismans, hidden levels ,and triangles provides a nice challenge after finishing the story.
Oddmar surprised me quite a bit; I was expecting another simple 2D platformer. However, I found a charming, beautifully animated, and above all fun platformer that even managed to challenge the completionist in me. It takes a little while to get going and is a bit rough around the edges. But I think that platform-fans looking for a short but enjoyable experience, will get their fill with Oddmar.