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%26rsquo;s-boy demons, and sentient food items, will easily charm the pants off even the most discerning of Japanophiles. Think Puyo Puyo/Kirby%26rsquo;s Avalanche/Dr. Robotnik%26rsquo;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%26rsquo;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%26rsquo;t exactly disappear immediately %26ndash; 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%26rsquo;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 %26ndash; 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 %26ndash; which will slow down the amount of damage you do because urchins don%26rsquo;t count toward your chains.