When Oddmar hit iOS and Android in 2018, it prompted many to proclaim its beautiful cartoon graphics and tight 2D platformer gameplay worthy of the Nintendo Switch itself. Now that Oddmar has hit the Nintendo eShop, we have a chance to put those lofty claims to the test.
Do you know what? Those people were right, at least for the most part. Oddmar's bright family-friendly style feels perfectly at home in its new surroundings. Indeed, with a solid set of physical controls behind it, this is arguably the best the game has ever been.
Oddmar takes its name from the young, lazy Viking warrior that falls under your control at the outset. With your tribe snatched away by the nefarious Norse god of chaos, Loki, it's on you to win back their freedom. There are no real surprises in how this is achieved. Virtually all levels will see you running from left to right, jumping on enemy heads or slashing them with your bladed weapons. There's a currency to be collected, which can be spent on new weapons and shields at the merchant that crops up periodically. New weapons grant new bonus attacks, which is one of the ways the game keeps things interesting.
Otherwise, most of the variation here comes from the level layouts, which contain some delightful touches. One particular standout is a series of balloon rides through spike-filled airspace, requiring you to chop away ballast to adjust your altitude. Another level contains snaking vines that simultaneously provide a threat and a means of escape. You'll also get to ride fantastical creatures now and then, and there are several delightful variations on the classic moving/temporary platform theme. Occasionally, you'll encounter optional bonus levels, accessed through a deep whiff of a suspiciously potent purple gas. These palate cleansers cast you as a plaything for the Norse Gods, who chase and prod you through otherworldly obstacle courses.
Our main qualm in all this is that the Switch isn't exactly short of bright, characterful 2D platformers. Shantae: Half-Genie Hero, Rayman Legends: Definitive Edition, and Donkey Kong Country: Tropical Freeze spring to mind off the top of our heads. All of these are flat-out better games than Oddmar, and we'd hazard a guess that at least a couple of them directly influenced its development. Still, there's no denying that Oddmar is an awful lot of fun, and at a far more accessible sub-£10/$10 price point (albeit for a mere 24 levels) than the aforementioned trio.
Aside from its compact size and some overwritten (but nonetheless beautifully-rendered) story scenes, there really isn't much to fault with Oddmar. Its cartoon-Norse universe is richly drawn and beautifully animated, while its classic 2D platforming is sharply executed. Of course, the game finds itself in a significantly more competitive field now that it's on the eShop, which lays bare the lack of anything genuinely new or exciting about it. But the simple fact that it provides such a pristine bite-sized example of the format is impressive enough.