Here at GameCritics we review all sorts of games. First-person shooters, turn-based strategy, sexy dating sims and more… but one type of title we don’t often cover are student games! Today we’re making an exception.

We were sent a copy of The Odyssey for coverage purposes from East Norfolk Sixth Form College in Great Yarmouth England, and it was produced by Kacey (programmer), Hannah (environmental art) and Jack (characters.) – last names withheld for their privacy.

(Editor’s Note: I was strongly tempted to write that as Yharnam…)

This game is a final project for their level 4 course. Teams had to work on a title for three months for the purpose of eventually showing their game at a local rotating gallery with the theme of retro games, retro consoles and arcade games. This game will be featured there and available for the public to play.

So, The Odyssey.

It’s a 2D pixel-art action/platformer with a Greek theme, and controls as pictured.

The first thing that struck me was that the art was appealing. The backgrounds and title screen were both well-done, and the characters’ animation is quite nice as well.

In terms of gameplay, it’s a simple premise where the player must find three keys by platforming and then proceed to a boss, but hey – like the old saying goes, if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it. That said, controller support would have been great since action gaming with a mouse and keyboard (for me, anyway) is not ideal.

Design-wise, I have to curse FromSoft a little bit for infecting the game-o-sphere with stamina obsession. A stamina meter doesn’t make a lot of sense here and I didn’t find that it added to the gameplay in any meaningful way – I was able to strike with the sword quite quickly, and the mechanics aren’t tuned enough to be able to task the player with significant management.

I like what I saw of The odyssey and would have liked to finish it, but unfortunately I had a few technical issues. My character fell through some platforms that (I assume?) were supposed to be solid, but worse than that, the game kept freezing in spots and I was not able to progress past the minotaur battle. I’m told there are three areas in total, but I could only play the first.

Apart from the bugs preventing me from progressing, this project tells me these folks have great potential and I had a lovely time taking this little retro trip — hacking and slashing mythical creatures is always welcome in my book, and I have to admit that the bloody decapitation (pictured above) was pretty excellent.

Congratulations to the team on a great start!

Brad Gallaway
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