To move things around on your grid, you control a cursor that forms a 2x2 square, in which four octopi can fit at once. To move an octopus across the grid, you must rotate the square cursor until the octopus is on the side of the square that faces the direction you want it to go, then shift the cursor over one space in that direction, and then repeat until the octopus is where you want it to be. Whatever control scheme you choose, moving octopi is tricky to get the hang of, and requires precise alternating movements that can be frustrating for gamers who are used to regular drop puzzles where the puzzle pieces/blocks are controlled directly, rather than using a rotating cursor as a sort of middleman.
Of the two control scheme options, classic (holding the remote sideways like an NES controller) and pointer (holding the remote like a pointer and using the motion controls), the classic style is far superior. With the motion controls, the cursor simply moves wherever you point the remote, which sounds easy enough but proves frustratingly difficult in practice. We can imagine that if you spent hours and hours practicing with the Wii controls, you could become quite skilled, but most gamers will be put off by the needless difficulty and quickly switch over to traditional controls.
Octomania is definitely less accessible than say, Dr. Mario or Tetris, but its infectious charm won us over and assuaged a lot of our initial control-related frustrations. From its upbeat theme song, to its offbeat characters, everything about Octomania’s presentation had us wanting to play more. Although its motion controls are useless, Octomania is definitely one of the better Wii-exclusive puzzlers.
Mar 26, 2008