Okunoka Madness Review

When the OkunoKA Madness review request landed on my desk, I had to do a double take. Having looked at this game in preview less than a month ago, I thought my time with it had ended. But this wasn’t the case, and my groundhog day has just begun. For anyone who missed my original article, I’ll save you the effort of finding it, just click on this link and you will be able to fill your boots OkunoKA Madness Preview. During my first time with this title, I was restricted to writing about my experience with only the first 2 worlds. Luckily, this time around the shackles have been lifted, and I’m free to discuss everything that you will see when you purchase this one for yourself.

So let’s go over the basics OkunoKA Madness is a side-scrolling platform title that is as colourful as it is brutally difficult. Developed by Caracal Games and published by Ignition Publishing you are going to need to be made of strong stuff to survive your playing time with this game. I swear that I have lost weight and gotten greyer whilst trying to complete each stage. (Though that could just be a mixture of 3 young kids and a puppy, so maybe I shouldn’t put all the blame on the developers.) You will be asked to finish over 100 challenging stages, where the action is split over many worlds. As you progress, you will unlock further usable characters, each with their own special ability.

The gameplay is split into 3 distinct modes; Story, Time Attack, and Madness. There isn’t a choice of a difficulty setting, and though the opening stages are simple enough, the action soon becomes controller smashingly difficult. This game is a test of patience as much as it is your skill in competing in the platform genre. You might think, “Why the hell would I want to play a game that will enrage me?” It is pretty crazy, but there is something rewarding about passing a stage that you’ve failed for the nth time. Even when you are successful, you know in the back of your mind that you are setting yourself up for the next tough challenge. So, when you start trying this, get comfortable as it’s going to be a spectacular bumpy ride on the way to victory.

Let’s look at these game modes in a little more detail.

Story mode – This is the heart and soul of the action. From here you will learn the fundamentals of all the game mechanics, unlock the playable characters, and take on the bosses of each world. The levels are set out on a flowchart style map, and once one is unlocked, you are free to play it at will. On completion of a stage you will be awarded a rank based on how quick you make it to the finish, S to F. You gather purple souls that act as a collectible, and certain levels will allow you to enter a monochromatic land via a swirling vortex. These weird and wonderful areas demand that you collect a set amount of souls, with only a few lives available. Once you hit the limit, it’s back to the main stage and the vortex world is closed.

Time Attack – This is as it sounds, it’s a time measured competition that takes place over all the stages you’ve experienced in story mode. The difference being that your score is a culmination of the results of each level, so one bad run can ruin a perfect attempt. You are also confronted with how you have performed compared to the global audience. A high score is no longer a personal matter such as achieving an S rank throughout, but it is now wanting to be better than some random person in Germany or Japan. As much as I’d like to say that I ignored the urge to be the best, I couldn’t help it. The developers have created the perfect competitive game.

Madness – Just thinking of this mode and I have my head in my hands. I genuinely didn’t think the difficulty could increase from what you experience in the main body of this game, but how wrong was I! Madness is infuriatingly tough, with a whole new set of levels, and an introduction to new death inducing traps, failure is all but guaranteed.

You now get how the action is broken down, but what about the gameplay, what’s that like? Hard, frustrating, and enough to drive you insane. I cannot emphasise how tough this game is. Think of Super Meat Boy or Ghosts ‘n Goblins, and you are kind of on the right lines.

“So, what makes it so difficult?” Pretty much everything, but more specifically the lack of lives. One mistake and its restart at the beginning of the level. “How can I overcome this then?” Practise certainly helps, but using the correct character for each level eases the pain a little. You’ll note that each will have different attributes, whether they can; run faster, jump further, or they weigh less, each will have an impact on certain obstacles, and through trial and error you’ll discover the right solution.

As the game progresses, you will be given more game mechanics to master, each with their own special power. You can manipulate certain surfaces around you, changing them from a gas to a solid area. Timing the cycle from one to another is crucial, as you will be required to pass through the haze, and then land on a sturdy platform afterwards. If you time it wrong, you are likely to fall to your doom, and have to start over from the beginning. This mixed with moving platforms and deadly projectiles is a recipe for disaster, and one you must overcome on your way to victory.

OkunoKA Madness is a fantastic game to look at. It’s spectacularly colourful and vivid. The landscapes throughout each of the worlds are beautifully varied, and even the stages within each of those realms differ slightly. The monochromatic stages are dramatic, and the use of shade brings them to life. Each of the character models is also crisp and distinctive to look at. At times the action is hectic, and I had concerns that the game engine wouldn’t keep up with the demand. There was no need to fear, it didn’t miss a beat. There was never a frame drop, and unfortunately for me, I had no additional excuses to bolster my arsenal to cover up my many shortcomings.

This is a game about quick thinking, and even faster reactions, so it was a little surprising that the audio is as calm as it is. Instead of the expected upbeat electronic tunes, you are accompanied by a folksy soundtrack, it gives the title a weird mellow feel that’s at odds with how you feel as a gamer, and the action unfolding before you. You will encounter a rather annoying mumbling yellow bird thing that constantly sounds. There is no way to shut it up, and other than block the noise out in your own mind, you will just have to put up with it. When you eventually make it over the finish line, you will be welcomed with the rapturous sound of “Yeeeeeeeeeeee”. It was a nice end to each stage.

The control system on paper is straightforward; run, jump, cling to walls, and cycle through special abilities. But somehow combining this with what is going on in front of you proved increasingly difficult. It’s rare that I wish that I have an abnormal number of fingers, but on this occasion an extra 3 a hand would have certainly given me the dexterity I required to succeed. I could not compute the required inputs to progress, and a lot of my success was down to luck rather than judgement.

I’m sure by now you get the idea that this is a hard as nails title and completing it is going to be a mission and a half. The developers have insisted on an extremely tough achievement list to match the difficulty of the gameplay, and I doff my cap to anyone that gets the 100% completion. With vortex stages, souls to collect, and several game modes, this is a game that will keep you coming back for more, if you have the patience to do so.

On release, I predict that controller sales are going to go through the roof. This is because a session of OkunoKA Madness is a guaranteed one-way ticket to the land of rage quitting, and controllers will get smashed in the process. This is a title that will test your skill as a gamer, and your resolve as a human being. With all this being said, do I recommend it? It’s torturous, and anger inducing fun. So, I absolutely recommend that you buy it. Install this and be prepared for the madness, take KA as his friends on a platforming trip of a lifetime, just remember to stay calm. After all, it’s just a game.

REVIEW CODE: A complimentary Microsoft Xbox One code was provided to Bonus Stage for this review. Please send all review code enquiries to editor@bonusstage.co.uk.

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Okunoka Madness Review
  • Gameplay - 8/10
    8/10
  • Graphics - 8/10
    8/10
  • Sound - 7/10
    7/10
  • Replay Value - 9/10
    9/10
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User Review
0/10 (0 votes)
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Comments Rating 0/10 (0 reviews)
Overall
8/10

Summary

It’s time to devour those souls in this brutal and challenging platform adventure.

Pros

  • Crisp and clean graphics.
  • Losts of gameplay options.
  • Plenty of replay value.
  • It will challenge even veterans of the genre.

Cons

  • Potentially too tough for new players of the genre.
  • The audio is at odds with the action.
  • Quick reactions, and high dexterity are a must for latter levels.