Games TM - - CONTENTS -

Ode should be pitched as the game with the best butt. this game is mainly about the evo­lu­tion of sound and mu­sic, but for the first few mo­ments it’s re­ally about a great der­rière. you play as a chubby, hu­manoid blob nes­tled in­side a clear ball. Game­play merely asks you to roll around at first, ex­plor­ing your neon en­vi­rons. as you bounce from rock to rock, you’ll start col­lect­ing glow­ing fallen stars and be­gin to build a large, ro­tat­ing mass around you as you roll around in the glo­ri­ous, alien land­scape. each par­a­disi­a­cal level is a mad mix­ture of glit­ter­ing auras, flu­o­res­cent waters, bright flora and strange, bul­bous crea­tures that de­mand to be fed.

But the real ap­peal of Ode is in the lis­ten­ing. as you move you’ll no­tice that when you roll over a rock it’ll emit a light drum tap, while over there a stretch of sand rip­ples like the gen­tle stroking of an xy­lo­phone. the more you ex­plore, the more fallen stars you col­lect, the more the mu­sic swells and builds around you. the world is full of hum­ming, whistling, beats and boops that all weave to­gether into an elec­tronic mas­ter­piece. But it’s you that’s con­duct­ing it all. as you start amass­ing the fall­ing stars – which ei­ther trail be­hind you, help­ing to cre­ate your sym­phony, or can be thrown out to col­lect more from hard-to-reach places – the noise builds and gath­ers in more sounds from the land­scape.

the fallen stars aren’t just mem­bers of your or­ches­tra though, they’re there to feed the green lumps hungry for ethe­real mass. you need to feed all the smaller green lumps with stars un­til the big­gest green lump turns gold and fills the air with even more mu­sic. all those tin­klings and trum­pet­ings start to make sense as more green blobs turn gold. it’s just a shame that there are only four lev­els to ex­plore – plus one par­tic­u­larly de­light­ful christ­mas-themed time trial. Dis­cov­er­ing the wa­ter-based sys­tem of skills is won­der­ful, giv­ing your clus­ter of stars the abil­ity to trans­form into a speed­ing wheel or give you ex­tra bounce for ex­am­ple. But as soon as you start get­ting into the rhythms of Ode and mas­ter­ing its liq­uid con­trol scheme, it’s all over.

thank­fully, ex­plor­ing each level is more of a gen­tle me­an­der than a race to the fin­ish – in fact, you re­ally won’t want each one to end. it’s an­other ge­nius game from the ubisoft reflections team though, aka the brains be­hind Grow Home and Atomega. it’s be­com­ing a stu­dio known for cre­at­ing games that feel like lu­cid dreams, in the very best ways. it’s not quite what this is an ode to aside from mu­sic, light and a re­ally great arse, but it’s cer­tainly an ode to joy to play.

The fallen stars clus­ter around you and are pretty much the key to your power. Push them away to col­lect more and trig­ger green mon­sters, or keep them around you to move slower and with more pur­pose.



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