Coming up with original ideas can be tough. There’s a good reason why successful writers are always asked where they get their ideas from; no one else really has a clue. Sometimes, borrowing from others — if done in a respectful, subtle manner — can work out for the best as long as it’s executed well. Landflix Odyssey isn’t subtle in the slightest; not only is it heavily reliant on existing brands for its story, but the gameplay is a mish mash of tried and tested mechanics with not a single idea to call its own. That said, it is well executed.
You play as Larry, an ordinary guy who loves nothing more than a relaxing night in with his favourite TV shows and a cold beer. After his remote gives up the ghost, he replaces the batteries with phosphorescent batteries (as you do, right?) lying under his sofa. Naturally, things go a bit haywire, and Larry finds himself sucked into the Landflix realm, where he must visit the worlds of his favourite TV shows and recover the lost batteries.
Built by Italian developer Fantastico Studio, there are some immediate translation issues right from the initial cutscene. The text doesn’t flow in the slightest, and its structure is almost comically poor. We can’t criticise this too much, but if you’re hoping for a coherent, engaging story, you’re not going to find it here. The game is ultimately billed as a parody, but can we really class it as a parody if all it does is take recognisable brands and slightly change all the names? We don’t think so. Thankfully, the gameplay itself makes up for this in spades.
Each world you visit is based on a popular TV show: in order, there’s Peculiar Stuff, Elder Thrones, Blindevil, Going Mad, and The Standing Zombie. Split into several levels, the worlds all boast their own unique gameplay mechanic: for example, Peculiar Stuff lets you visit a parallel dimension filled with monsters, and Going Mad lets you slow down time at the press of a button. There’s nothing here that hasn’t been done before, but the separate gameplay mechanics really suit the theme of each world.
Ultimately, your goal is to make it from A to B, avoiding enemies and obstacles, and collecting as many coins as possible along the way. These coins are then used to open up more stages, and what’s good is you can jump around from one world to another, provided you can afford it. There are a few boss battles dotted around here and there, along with some rock solid ‘Special Features’ levels that are unlocked one-by-one when you complete each world.
Despite the lack of a single original idea to call its own, Landflix Odyssey is saved by its gameplay, which is both challenging and fun. Each stage is just the right length if you want to drop in and out, and there’s enough here to keep you busy for a good four or five hours altogether. If you’re willing to forgive the poor translation and weak attempt at parody, then Landflix Odyssey is a solid 2D platformer worth checking out.