After a handful of levels of Okunoka the first game that comes to mind is of course Super Meat Boy, but sprinkled with just enough of Ikaruga to make power management interesting. The concept is substantially identical to that of the Team Meat title, that is, we are talking about an ultra-difficult platform divided into more than a hundred small levels, fragmented in turn into various worlds, in which you die ... you die ... and you still die ending up against obstacles, traps, enemies, falling into bottomless ravines or exiting directly from the map. We imagine that the folks at Caracal Games wouldn't be afraid to confess Okunoka's conceptual debt to Super Meat Boy and the like. Fortunately they managed to endow their work with a very marked personality, which allows them to overcome the inevitable confrontation unscathed.
Okunoka tells the story of the world of spirits and of the evil Os, who wants to turn all its inhabitants into machines, so as to form a real mechanical army. Opposing him is an unblemished and fearless hero with exceptional powers. Let's say that the powers are there, but on the rest you have to work a little, since Ka, the protagonist, is a lazy and greedy being who spends his days sleeping and eating black souls. Despite sleep and hunger, Ka is able to make huge leaps. It can also solidify water, fire and electricity so as to create makeshift platforms to overcome the most insidious obstacles. Too bad that it can act on only one element at a time and has to constantly choose which one to keep in the solid state, with often only short fractions of a second available. However his goal is always the same in every level: to reach a black soul, usually placed in the most inaccessible and dangerous area. Unfortunately Ka is not particularly resistant and it is enough for him to simply be touched by a trap or an enemy to dematerialize and reappear at the beginning of the level.
If you have played Super Meat Boy or any of its clones you will not struggle to understand Okunoka's gameplay, made up of millimeter jumps, breathtaking races, sequences of platforms to jump on and walls to climb. The further you progress through the levels, the fewer pauses you can take between leaps and the more you have to get faster with the controller to overcome dizzying sequences of dangers. Based on the time it takes to reach the end of a level, you receive a score that indicates our degree of skill. At the end of each world, however, one must face one of the terrifying bosses, usually linked to extremely difficult challenges. To finish a single level it takes a few moments, but to get the best times you have to fight a lot more: you have to study them to perfection so as to be able to anticipate the jumps in the mind, before looking at the screen. The bottom line is that you often have to make a lot of attempts to move forward, which is not a problem given the type of game. Note the care taken by the developers in introducing the different mechanics with very simple tutorial levels, which allow you to understand them immediately.
It is an excellent, although not unprecedented, found to accompany the user towards the real challenge and to break the rhythm of the game a little, sometimes really punitive. Also interesting is the level design, built in such a way as to show an obvious path to follow, but also equipped with a series of shortcuts for the most skilled players, excellent for lovers of speed challenges.
Excellent artistic direction
Overall Okunoka it works perfectly, even if in some cases you can perceive a certain slipperiness of the controls that can cause unjust deaths. In truth, the pace of play is so fast that it is often difficult to notice and it certainly does not spoil the gaming experience. In short, dying once more or one less in a title that plans to kill you thousands of times is not really a drama. How long does it all last, you may be wondering? Difficult to say exactly, because a lot depends on the player's ability.
Completing all the levels is certainly not a walk in the park, but the best from Okunoka is obtained by trying to beat speed records, linked to online rankings that greatly increase the sense of challenge. In short, for the price it costs Okunoka offers a lot and does not make you regret the shopping. The best part, however, we left for the end, which is the masterful art direction. Caracal Games has done an excellent job not only from a technical point of view, but also from a stylistic point of view, outlining a colorful and convincing game world, characterized by really particular cartoon shapes and by a general care that does not make you regret international productions. The characterization of the different worlds is also successful, all with some peculiarities and often represented with simple but very effective solutions in rendering a certain atmosphere or a certain idea. The bosses also deserve praise, some really big and capable of creating interesting situations, as much as they are spectacular and new compared to what is the normal gameplay of the game, such as a mad race to the top of a tower chased by a giant mechanical beast.
Moreover, these are very difficult sections, often much more than the levels themselves, which bring the rate of swearing per second to inhuman rates. In closing, we would like to warn you, even if we imagine that we understood from the article, that Okunoka is not a game for the faint of mind, but for those who want to test themselves and are not afraid of having to repeat a single pattern over and over again. . In short, if you don't like difficult challenges, forget it.
CommentTested version Nintendo Switch Digital Delivery Nintendo eShop Price 14,99 € Resources4Gaming.com
Okunoka is one of the best Super Meat Boy clones on the square, there is little to discuss. It is also a title with a great personality. It is not very original, but it compensates with a solid realization, especially in level design, and a successful artistic direction that we do not struggle to define as important for an independent product. In short, if you own Nintendo Switch we advise you to buy it immediately not so much for parochialism (it is made by a Spanish team), but because it is a really good game and deserves to be successful.
- Great level design
- High level artistic direction
- A great clone of Super Meat Boy
- Occasionally we notice some inaccuracy in the controls
- Not very original