Odium to the Core Review
Odium to the Core is the kind of game that will appeal to a small subset of the gaming population, and that subset will really enjoy it. It's a simple game in concept, controlled by a single button, but it's one of the most challenging side-scrollers you'll play. You control Odium, something that looks like a comet with a big eyeball, through a series of caverns with the goal of making it to the end of each cavern alive; no easy task considering that contact with the floor or ceiling of a cavern, or with any of the numerous obstacles within, will result in your instant death.
The only control that you have is the A button, which when pressed gives you a boost upwards. Stop boosting and you'll begin dropping towards the floor. Simple enough, but the key is knowing when to tap or push the button and for how long, and that key is where the challenge lies. It can be tricky to keep yourself on the straight and narrow when the cavern is strictly horizontal, but the levels also like to throw twists and drops at you as well. You'll also need to hit switches to open gates as you travel ceaselessly rightward, and if you miss one you'll hit the gate and lose your life.
Making it to the end of a level in a single life is extremely challenging, but the game is kind enough to include checkpoints. If you die, you'll restart at the last checkpoint that you passed through. The checkpoints are spaced far enough apart, though, that it takes skill to cover the space between them and you won't be able to use them as a crutch to brute force your way through the levels. If you think checkpoints are for wimps, though, there is a hardcore mode that gives you only one chance to make it to the end.
When you reach the end of a level you're given a score based on your performance and on how many of the floating pickups that litter the levels that you were able to snag. There's a high degree of replayability to the levels as you strive to top your best scores or push towards perfection.
Odium to the Core is certainly tough, but in a good way. The game never feels unfair and each death feels deserved. The game's presentation adds to the fun, with graphic novel style cel-shading using colors that really pop combined with an original D&B soundtrack with tracks crafted to fit each level. If you're easily frustrated, then you should avoid this game completely - I unlocked the achievement for 100 deaths faster than I'd care to admit. If you enjoy putting your skills to the test in simple but challenging arcade games, then you're going to love Odium to the Core.
Final Rating: 80% - Odium to the Core is simple to learn, but very, very difficult to master.