The endless high score game is a popular genre in the App Store, as Doodle Jump and it's 5 million downloads will attest to. One of the more recent titles to catch our eye is Oddy Smog's Misadventure by two-man developer Medusa. At first glance you might just dismiss Oddy Smog as a clone of Glu Mobile's Jump O'Clock, and while true they share similarities at the very basic level Oddy Smog offers a pretty different experience that we're finding hard to put down.

Oddy is just a small bit of a much larger mass of smog working it's way upward to expel out of the machine that created it. He decides that he doesn't want to be a part of this pollution any longer, and so breaks out on his own ahead of the rest of the smog. He must use the different gears inside the vent to propel himself upwards faster than the mass can follow him, and one wrong move will engulf him back in the dirty blackness from which he came. It's a charming premise with equally charming graphics and music to accompany it. The vent you travel up is rendered in 3D giving it some depth, and Oddy himself is a billowing, lively little puff of smog that manages to have a lot of personality for being essentially a black circle with eyes. There's just something endearing about Oddy, and you find yourself rooting for him to escape his smoggy pursuer.

Holding the right side of the screen latches Oddy onto a gear he comes into contact with, and letting go launches him using the spinning gear's inertia. You don't shoot straight off the gear like you would in Dizzypad for example, and this aspect takes a bit of getting used to when you first start playing the game. Touching the left side of the screen makes Oddy jump in midair, and you can only jump once between touching either gears or the walls of the vent. If you do launch yourself into the wall, Oddy will climb a short distance and then jump off by himself and from there you can latch onto another gear or perform a midair jump to get where you need to go. Occasionally another errant smog blob like Oddy will be chained to the wall and if you jump into these guys you can release them. This acts as the score multiplier, and will multiply your total height by the number of prisoners you catch.

There are different types of gears to latch onto, some can only be grabbed for a short period forcing you to act quickly, and others will propel you high into the air letting you easily cover a good stretch of distance. Other special items do similar things, like a spaceship or teleportation pod that will advance Oddy for you. All these game elements combine to make for a really engaging experience. It's a great feeling to quickly hit a series of gears or narrowly escape the impending doom of the approaching smog, and the risk/reward aspect of trying to free prisoners adds a lot to the formula. There's some hints that this might not be such an 'endless' game, and that there's the possibility of Oddy actually escaping the vent, although I have yet to make it that far.

A couple of small gripes about the game are present, and the most notable is the lack of high score tracking. A game like this is just meant for such a thing, although the ability to post your scores to Twitter helps somewhat. The dev has conceded in the game's forum thread that this is due to waiting and seeing how Apple's Game Center will turn out, and likely a social platform of some type will be added down the line. Another problem I had was due to the random generation of the level, and every so often a section would be too barren for me to latch onto any gears and I'd helplessly fall back into the pursuing smog. Finally, there's no screen flip option which can be pretty annoying for a game that encourages the use of headphones. None of these issues should deter anyone from trying Oddy Smog's Misadventure, and for randomly generated high score game enthusiasts this is one that's not to be missed.

TouchArcade Rating

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  • Mr. Gates

    I will Buy this one.

  • CassieTheChaoticCupcake

    My god, it's so cute ^^;
    It reminds me of Agumon in his earliest stage when he first hatched and could do nothing but blow bubbles. Yes, I found a Digimon reference.
    Looks like a swell game for the price; The artwork is fairly original and the gameplay looks rather simple and fun. I think I'll have to get my hands on this one. :}

  • Shibuya_109

    Hey Touch Arcade guys - any chance of you marking out games in future if they support iOS4 (fast app switching) and Retina Display?

  • http://www.nitako.com Noam Abta

    Thanks for the tip! artwork reminds me of Feist (a unity game which unfortunately didn't port to the iPhone yet).

  • MrMuesli

    Nice atmos: ) Game play seems a little like a mix of Dizzy Pad and NinjaTown: Trees of Doom, which is a good thing. I'll bite. And Mel, your two posts above were class. Thank you; )

  • Farick

    cool review!

  • sammysin

    My favourite game in a long, long time.

  • sven

    I like this game in my opinion very good!
    And a comparison with an itunes mega seller like doodle jump is crap!
    Doodle jump is the biggest dump in itunes.

    • Ben!

      That's your opinion because you're a contrarian.

      • sven

        ...go take your iphone with your 08/15 doodle jump and stay the rest of your life alone on a island.

  • cranker

    This game needs leaderboards !!!!!

  • cfda

    TouchArcade really needs to add notes about iOS version and compatible systems when reviewing games. Doesn't matter if it's compatible with the first generation iPod touch if the game runs at 5fps.

  • cranker

    Does this game have local high scores at least?

  • http://www.israelcastro.es IsraelCastro

    Hello! I'm the artist in Medusa.

    First of all, we want to thank you for this great review, and thank you all as well for your comments and support, we are glad you are enjoying the game!

    We'd like to inform you about one important thing about the screen flip: although there is no visible option to flip the screen, it will automatically flip depending on if you are using an iPod or an iPhone, so you can connect your headphones with no problem :)

    Thank you people!
    Greetings from Medusa.

  • Mav

    That looks just like Gish.

  • CassieTheChaoticCupcake

    So I'm writing another comment to confirm my initial impression. I bought this as soon as I saw the review for it and I'm glad I did! The game is absolutely adorable and really competitive to keep getting a higher score. :) I do wish there were leaderboards though...

  • MrMuesli

    I have to say after playing for a while, it's no Doodle Jump. There is a brutal nature to this game that I'm still deciding if I like or not. So many times I've flipped up only to fall back down to my doom with nothing to grab onto, and because my trajectory was straight down, the extra bounce didn't help much. Still, can't help but love it all the same; )

  • Castor

    Really liking this one, music is great, controls work well. As mentioned by others, my only gripe is that I find myself with nothing to grab onto sometimes. Guess the little smog bastard had no chance.

    • MrMuesli

      I wonder if the devs might consider being able to manually direct the trajectory of the bounce. That might help. Maybe when you press the left button, an arrow could appear in the vein of NinjaTown: Trees of Doom (when you are on a branch), which you can quickly direct, and on release...off you go! My only other gripe is that there are also a few blind jumps which are not all that much fun. Maybe if the gear is not yet visible, a small indicator at the top of the screen could let you know where it is? Just a thought. Otherwise, I love this game.

      • Castor

        Yeah, some good ideas there. Definitely being able to direct the extra jump will help when you are thrown directly up. For the blind jumps, I think maybe instead of having indicators, they should just fix the camera placement, if the camera just moved back a bit, we'd be able to see where the next wheel is.

  • Mintey

    The video brings back the nightmares of one of the worlds in Little Big planet :P

    An instant buy for me tho.

  • David

    'Jump O'Clock' has been out for weeks and has exactly the same mechaincs but is a lot slicker.

    • Jared Nelson

      Maybe same idea but definitely not exactly the same mechanics. Jump O'Clock is more like Dizzypad, this one doesn't feel like either of them despite looking like the same thing. Oddy Smog is definitely my favorite out of these types of games though.

    • MrMuesli

      Oddy's jumping machanic is MUCH more fun that Jump 'o Clock. He/she/it jumps in the diretion of the spin rather than just point and shoot. It leaves more room for error and requires more skill imo. I was wondering, to solve the 'nothing to grab' problem, whether the devs could perhaps use the accelerometer temporarily when you get flipped/rocketed/teleported straight up, so that you can guide Oddy to one side or the other where you may have spotted a gear to land on. Just a thought. Not even sure if the accelerometer can switch on/off like that anyway.

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Oddy Smog's Misadventure Reviewed by Jared Nelson on . Rating: 4