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Octo Curse – Revew

From its mobile roots to the console screen, Octo Curse has been able to bring along its bright, colourful and approachable style to position itself as an easy to pick up 2D platformer. Whilst I’d say its aimed at a younger audience, it isn’t aiming at an audience so young that a couple of jumps will win you the game. Indeed, it reminds me of simple late 90s, early 2000s platformers that would come out at a budget price but offer a succinct experience.

Only a few levels take place underwater and nothing really changes as a result. Nice hat though!

Playing as an Octopus, your task in each level is to find 3 blue gems to unlock the door to exit the level. Lots of gold tableaus are hidden around the level to collect for completionists however you can all but ignore them unless you are gunning for achievements. Each level is filled with trapped like spikes, flame pits, fragile platforms and moving saws. Your character dies on a single hit too so good timing and precision is key to success. Greatly reducing the difficulty is the fact that you have unlimited lives and you respawn quite close to where you died every single time. Mistakes are not punished much in Octo Curse which is a blessing and funnily enough, a curse too.

Your character has the smallest attack ever – a tiny spin. This means you have to run right up to enemies to attack them. Thankfully they are largely so benign anyway they don’t pose much of a threat, but it feels like a missed opportunity for jeopardy. Instead, you’ll be breezing through levels that start out as a single screen but end up becoming more maze like over the course of the game. You can always spot where to go next, but you’ll at times need to swim underwater or go climbing which adds some variety. There are 5 worlds with around 15 levels each and once the world is completed a hard mode for it is unlocked. This adds more traps into the level for some added challenge. Veteran platformers will still have no challenge but the increase in difficulty is noticeable and I found myself enjoying Octo Curse much more on hard mode. That said, world 5 takes place in darkness and shadows with minimal lights showing the way. This was more annoying than hard because I wanted to find every gold tableau but I don’t want to spend my life spin attacking every edge of every screen to get them.

Trickier levels combine avoiding multiple traps like a rhythm platformer and this is where Octo Curse works best.

I did run into some annoying bugs. More often than not, when dialogue is triggered with characters in game, Octo Curse froze. I would have to exit out the level and try again. Half the time, the characters are at the entrance door so this wasn’t an issue but the final level in each world has you rescue a friend. These 5 levels are the longest in the game and having to play them twice was a pain. More frustrating is the games collision detection when jumping or standing on a pressure pad. Octo Curse doesn’t seem to know what to do when your character jumps and catches the edge of a ledge. Instead of letting you slide up and over, or down the wall, it makes a buzzing noise and pings you across the screen like a trampoline. The same noise can be heard when standing on pressure pads as if the game hasn’t programmed that you can stand on things correctly. Its odd and jarring and the jump issue caused the vast majority of my deaths in game. I hope the jump boing gets patched out in future. It’s not a game breaker but it does make you scratch your head!

Overall, Octo Curse is totally inoffensive, but it doesn’t stand out from the crowd either. Its bugs annoyed me but I liked the theme and overall joyful nature of the game, even if the gameplay didn’t stick with me. Platform gamers might like this on sale though and earlier gamers may get more from it too.

Review copy provided by publisher. PS5 version tested.

Octo Curse
Final Thoughts
Simplistic game design and odd bugs undermine some nice presentation for the younger gaming crowd.
Colourful and crisp visual design.
Hard mode is more enjoyable to play and doubles the game length.
Younger audience will appreciate infinite lives and easy respawns.
Jumping and hitting ledges will often cause your character to boing across the screen bizarrely.
Not much of a challenge or variety in level design.
Game freezes every time you speak to someone.

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