Game Review: The HD Adventures of Rotating Octopus Character (PS Vita)

The HD Adventures Of Rotating Octopus Character PS Vita

The HD Adventures of Rotating Octopus Character is an adventure game available for download from the PlayStation Store for the PS Vita. This is a HD remake of The 2D Adventures of Rotating Octopus Character, which was one of the best games from the PSP minis range released in 2011 with various improvements and brand new features across the board.

The game has had a number of improvements over its PSP minis counterpart with some balance tuning over the original PSP minis version in regards to shaping the difficulty for a better experience with not as many difficulty spikes for a more even difficulty level. Meanwhile, further improvements have been made to the HD remake including the addition of trophies, online leaderboards and much improved HD graphics and audio.

There are two game modes including Standard Mode and Challenge Mode. The Standard Mode sees you attempting to collect all of the octopuses within a certain period of time in order to clear each of the ten stages for each of the worlds, although if you accidentally hit an enemy, then you will have to begin from the start of that particular stage with the same consequence occurring if you fail to collect all of the octopuses before the time limit expires. You can see how close you are to collecting all of the octopuses as starting from the bottom left of the screen you will see a row of outlines that will become their usual colour when you have collected an octopus; resulting in you knowing the total amount to collect and the current amount that you have already collected. There are circular collectables called water drops in which if you collect twenty, then you will earn an extra life, which is important as you start off with only three lives and it is game over and back to the very start of the current world that you had progressed to if you lose all of your lives. You can reach a maximum of five lives, but as soon as you progress to the next world, then you will revert back to three lives, even if you had reached five lives at the end of the previous world, which certainly adds to the difficulty curve.

The Challenge Mode sees you attempting to collect all of the octopuses within a set time limit in order to earn a bronze star, silver star or gold star across a variety of stages with each stage being unlocked once you have achieved a bronze star in the previous stage.

There is a strong variety of enemies to encounter including: dogs that remain in the same place and bark when you approach them; top hats that randomly float around; police helmets that throw police badges at you; snakes that hiss while moving around; flames that move backwards and forwards; Fezzes that move in a circular motion; birds that fire arrows at you and look as though they are rather angry; and many more besides.

There is a strong variety of environments to explore across over 70 stages including: parks; London streets; Egyptian ruins; and more besides. The environments are populated with a range of obstacles that will not damage your health or decrease your lives, but that may slow you down including: walls; umbrellas; busses; telephone boxes; balloons; hippopotamuses; camels; Egyptian pyramids; and many more besides.

The controls are rather basic and purely consist of pressing square to change the direction of the octopus you control and X to jump between two obstacles or surfaces with the only problem being that your jump can sometimes veer off from the direction you intended and not only miss your target, but potentially hit an enemy. It is a problem that occurs here and there, but nowhere near all of the time, although I believe it could have been removed completely by re-shaping the control configuration to allow other buttons to modify the direction of your character during mid-flight from one surface or obstacle to another. There are no options for alternative control configurations, such as the touch screen, rear touch pad, left and right analogue sticks or face buttons, which is rather surprising.

The graphics are boosted significantly from the original game as they are now mostly re-drawn and are displayed in the Vita’s native resolution. The graphics are bright and colourful with the orange tones of the octopuses, green grass and multi-coloured flowers all providing lots of bright and vibrant colours, while the enemies usually have darker colours and the obstacles and surfaces usually alternate between lighter and darker colours. They collectively combine well together to form an appropriate art style, which provides an additional level of charm to the game.

The presentation of the game is solid with a great user interface with navigation available via the left analogue stick, directional pad and the face buttons across various menus such as the main menu and instructions menu, although it lacks any ability for navigation via the touch screen, rear touch pad and right analogue stick. The background of the menu screens looks very colourful and vibrant as they contain different shades of blue shining and rotating as though they were the colour of the sun with stars forming around it.

The audio has been upgraded over the original release and while it remains basic; it has some catchy retro styled pop music alongside sound effects, such as dogs barking, hissing snakes and the octopus you control jumping from surface to surface or obstacle to obstacle.

The trophy list includes thirteen trophies with nine bronze trophies, three silver trophies and one gold trophy. You may not necessarily find the trophies easy due to how difficult you may find some of the jumps from one surface or obstacle to another, avoiding enemies and collecting all of the octopuses before time expires, but the majority of the trophies are naturally earned through playing the game once, although you may have to play certain stages through again if you fail to collect all of the water drops or use too many jumps between surfaces. The first trophy will be earned within a matter of minutes providing that you have grasped how to accurately jump between surfaces as you will earn the Thirsty Work bronze trophy for collecting all of the water drops from stages one to five during the first world. The trophies are mostly aimed at clearing all stages without changing direction, which is not as easy as you may initially believe as there is a time limit for every stage resulting in you still having to complete each of the stages within the same period of time, while using what may be the slowest route to collecting all of the octopuses. The hardest trophies are the Barking Mad bronze trophy for making all of the dogs bark without touching any of them during the first world and the Really Thirsty Work gold trophy for collecting every water drop in the game. I would estimate depending upon skill and a good trophy guide to provide some helpful tips that it would take between three to five hours to 100% the trophy list.

There are no difficulty levels, but the difficulty of each stage is defined by the amount of enemies that are contained within a stage; as if you accidentally touch them you will have to start the stage from the very beginning as you will also do so if you run out of time before collecting all of the octopuses, while you will have to start the world from the very beginning if you have lost all of your lives. If you complete all of the stages to make it through to the following world, then you will only start with three lives, regardless of how many water drops you collected for more lives in the previous world, which provides the game with a certain sense of difficulty to adhere to.

There is no proper online multiplayer component, although there are online leaderboards accessible by pressing the triangle button from the Challenge Mode menu. The online leaderboards focuses on global rankings and friend rankings with each leaderboard containing each player’s rank; name (PSN ID); and the time set by each of the players for the level you have chosen.

The replayability of The HD Adventures of Rotating Octopus Character is evident in the charm of the game with eight worlds to explore with each consisting of ten stages and two unique game modes, alongside online leaderboards and collectables in the form of octopuses and water drops providing enough content for you to keep coming back for some more.

Overall, one of the best PSP minis of 2011 has been brought up to date with brand new features and a HD makeover. It surprisingly does not take advantage of the touch screen, rear touch pad or dual analogue stick control schemes as it should have done, although having said that, if it was not an issue when you originally played the game; then it certainly will not be an issue now. If you are a fan of the original PSP minis version or you are a fan of adventure games then you must buy this game and at a cost of only £2.39 it isn’t exactly breaking the bank, especially for a game that has such charm and content that will keep you entertained for some time. For those of you who are yet to buy a Vita; The HD Adventures of Rotating Octopus Character is included in the ten game downloadable pack voucher alongside other top Vita games and 8GB memory card PlayStation Vita bundle. I personally enjoyed my time with the game and I am looking forward to playing Dakko Dakko’s next HD remake of their second PSP minis game Floating Cloud God Saves the Pilgrims in HD.

Jason Bonnar

At A Glance

  • Title: The HD Adventures of Rotating Octopus Character
  • Publisher: Dakko Dakko
  • System: PS Vita
  • Format: PSN Download
  • Cross Buy: No
  • Cross Play: No
  • Online Multiplayer: Yes (Online Leaderboards)
  • Memory Card Space Needed: 65Mb
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