ORDiNARiUM ($0.99) by Rittenhouse is one of those games that can only be described with one word when you first open it and take a look at the graphics: Wow. Its bizarre, dreamlike graphics in shades of muted jewel tones set the stage for its equally off-the-wall theme.
In Ordinarium, there exists just one rule – eat or be eaten. You will be given control of a hand-drawn one-eyed monster with three tentacles, who is attached to a floating gear that allows him to rotate 360 degrees so that he can spin around and grab tasty morsels out of the sky.
His rotation is controlled with the virtual joystick on the left side of the screen, while the other button on the right side controls the creepy-looking mouth pod that opens up to reveal several razor sharp teeth.
The goal in Ordinarium is to spin the monster around, while grabbing food out of the air to fill the stomach meter at the bottom of the screen. At its core, this is a fishing game.
Of course, you can’t just grab all the food you want without running into some obstacles, which, in this game, come in the form of other monsters who want to eat your octopus-like monster for breakfast. Make sure to only pick up red food – green food is toxic and will send your monster into a whirlwind spin.
Monsters will pop up randomly through window ports, so you will need to move quickly to avoid them. You will also need to eat fast – if that tummy meter isn’t full before the monster at the bottom of the screen reaches the icon of your octopus, he will get eaten and you will need to restart the stage from the beginning.
I love Ordinarium’s art style. It’s beautifully done, with perfect depth, gorgeous color, and just the right amount of texture. Unfortunately, I was not quite as impressed with the gameplay.
Ordinarium’s controls are slow, choppy, and hard to use. It is tedious picking up morsels of food, so much so that replaying levels when seen or eaten by a monster becomes a chore. It pains me to say that, simply because I wanted to love this game, but playing it was not a fun experience. The controls make it impossible to make quick, precise movements, which is what the gameplay calls for.
This game is just $0.99, so it may be worth downloading just to support a fantastic indie title, but keep in mind that the gameplay is in need of improvement.