From Katamari to PaRappa the Rapper, gamers tend to love Japanese games with an offbeat flair. Octomania, a puzzle game full of samurai crabs, bitchy angels, flaky robots, mama’s-boy demons, and sentient food items, will easily charm the pants off even the most discerning of Japanophiles. Think Puyo Puyo/Kirby’s Avalanche/Dr. Robotnik’s Mean Bean Machine but with the quirkiness cranked up a few notches.
The object of the game is simple: multicolored octopi drop onto your screen and you must clear them faster than they accumulate, or it’s game over when your screen completely fills. Large squares that look like metal grates pop up on each screen, each labeled with a number, and you must fill the square with at least that number of same-colored octopi to make them disappear. Once you do this, however, the octopi don’t exactly disappear immediately – they turn into puffs of smoke that you can then use to form a chain. Move more octopi of the same color adjacent to the puffy smoke clouds and they will turn into smoke as well, forming a puffy chain. You only have a few seconds to add links to your chain, as the smoke dissipates quickly, but if you choose a color that’s abundant enough you can form some massive double-digit chains. The larger the chain, the more damage you will do to your opponent.
Damage comes in the form of sea urchins – the stoic, spiky nomads of the sea. When your opponent strings together a chain, a shower of sea urchins will rain down on your screen. The only way to get rid of these junk pieces is to chain them on to regular octopi chains – which will slow down the amount of damage you do because urchins don’t count toward your chains.