Vomiting on demand.
The Ooganis have it rough. Besides the fact that they have some serious dietary problems and that they have been repeatedly hit with the ugly stick, they have been enslaved by the larger, more powerful Boolis. As the ancestral spirit, it is up to you to possess the bodies of various Ooganis, re-unite the tribes and lead them to overthrow their oppressors. Sounds simple enough.
NinjaBee and J. Kenworthy Entertainment, creators of previous XBLA hit Cloning Clyde, bring Ancients of Ooga to the Xbox Live Arcade. Offering a classic dose of platform puzzle-solving fun, Ancients of Ooga has more than fifty levels of slightly bizarre fun.
Each level consists of various levers, buttons, switches, ladders and creatures that want nothing more than to harm your Oogani. To get through all of these levels, the player will have to employ the powers of each different type of Oogani. There are seven tribes in total to find and use, with each tribe having their own special ability. Reminiscent of the minions from Overlord, these abilities are wide ranging and required for progressing through the levels. For example, the Harvester Ooganis can travel unharmed through thorny brambles that block the way, whereas the fire based Ooganis can travel across lava.
Perhaps the biggest feature of the game is the already mentioned Oogani diet. These guys can, and do, eat anything. But, rather than just eating for the sake of it, there is method to all of this feasting madness. Throughout the game, certain items will be needed for progression, beyond the abilities of the different tribes. Your Oogani is able to not only swallow these items, but can also regurgitate them on request. Again I have to question the sense of their diet. Anyway, this keeps their hands free for doing other stuff, such as climbing ladders. The player is even able to swallow other Ooganis in order to carry them to where they are needed.
Some of the edible items actually imbue the Oogani with special abilities, such as the Chilli Pepper allowing them to predicatably breath fire. As with almost everything in this game, these abilities are a requirement to proceeding through a level.
Not required for advancement, however, are the collectibles that can be found on each level. These random items can be gathered for points and online leaderboard places, allowing for a bit of healthy competition with friends.
The graphics and visual style of this game are all well done and finished to a high standard. But the Ooganis, and the world in which they live to a degree, are ugly and far from pleasing to the eye. Whilst I can understand that this is simply the style that the developers decided to go with, I would have preferred something a bit cuter. Maybe then I would have felt something other than pity for these poor creatures. Also, they don’t really do themselves any favours with their disgusting habits. but this is all just personal taste. I can’t deny that the game looks good, but it is just not to my taste.
The same can be said of the level design and the puzzles found within. I can understand that there will be plenty of gamers out there who get a lot of entertainment from the game. But I found that the levels and the puzzles lacked variety. The puzzles also suffer from a lack of complexity and offered very little challenge. The challenge in Ancients of Ooga comes from simply gathering the required components to proceed, rather than working out how to use them.
Ancients of Ooga is an enjoyable romp. But, for the reasons I mention above, this game offers only a small distraction for the serious gamer. However, the younger players out there will certainly get a lot from the relative easiness and the disgusting humour found in the game.