Odyssey review – Science and education = fun

Odyssey: The Next Generation Science Game – Overview

Odyssey: The Next Generation Science Game is what you would get if Myst and The Witness got together, figured out the puzzle of making of love, and had a baby.

It’s primarily an adventure puzzle game that sees you set ashore on a series of islands. Using a journal and information you discover as you play, you set out to solve puzzles. It begins easily enough, like drawing a constellation on a door to open it, but quickly turns difficult, and puts real world applications to use.

To solve pretty much every puzzle, you’ll be using geography, mathematics, mechanics, physics, and primarily astronomy. You’ll need to align the sun with a ball to cast a shadow on a constellation to drop a ladder, for example, which will then task you with something else. You’ll figure out weights, momentum, and more. It’s all very scientific.

And that is both the game’s success and downfall.


While the journal does a fantastic job of explaining the various scientific concepts, it is marred in a lot of reading that, and no offense, may go over the head of some people. Aside from the journal, its puzzles are very obtuse, and it in no way offers to help you, again, except for the very drawn out journal entries.

That said, the puzzles are fantastic and satisfying. I had to resort to a guide for a couple puzzles, because I just couldn’t figure it out myself, but then I went back and re-read and figured out how the person came to that conclusion, and I feel smarter as a result.

The game is decent looking. There isn’t much to the environment, and it’s all pretty much the same: trees, grass, rocks, mountains, wooden shacks and the occasional cave system. Sound is also decent, music is fun, but neither are worth writing home about. As all the puzzles are reliant on you figuring out real world scientific info, graphics and sound play no part in any of the puzzles.

One thing to note, in case it’s a dealbreaker to you, is that this is supposedly episode one. According to the game’s about page, Odyssey is currently chapters one through three, with chapters four through six coming in a sequel. None of this is clearly communicated, nor does the game have a subtitle of “Episode 1”, or something similar. This is only shown at the very bottom of the information box. As such, there is no guarantee that a sequel will ever come out, and the game’s ending does leave a little to be desired.

Pros

  • Excellent puzzles based on real world science
  • You don’t get to say this often, but the game will teach you basic principles of astronomy, motion, momentum and physics
  • Easy achievements (all story related) for those who hunt
  • Fairly long if the puzzles get to you and you need to work things out (see the appropriate con)
  • Great to play with kids

Cons

  • If these kinds of puzzles are easy for you, the game is over in an hour, if that
  • Occasionally obtuse puzzles you’d swear are right, but are off by the teensiest amount and therefore wrong

Summary

Odyssey: The Next Generation Science Game is a terrific brain wracking game that you’re either going to love or hate. I loved it myself, and heartily recommend it. If the mechanics of the game are nothing new to you, it’s still an interesting way of figuring out puzzles, and if these areas of science are something you’re new to, you’ll likely enjoy reading all about the real world history everything is based on, from Aristotle to Ptolemy.

Recommend/Not Recommend: Recommended

Read more of my reviews here, or head on over to Steam to check them out.