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Odama

We love pinball. We love strategic battles. Nintendo is betting that when Odama combines the two, we'll love the new concoction as well. The game has been lurking in the file marked 'coming soon' for a while now, gradually gaining new features and visual polish. But the core gameplay, in which players use a giant metal ball to knock down enemies, looks so weird and addictive that the wait should be worth it.

There is a story behind the strange proceedings; something about feudal intrigue. Suffice to say that the main character is the exiled son of a murdered lord who finds himself with only a score of loyal retainers and the Odama, that giant magical ball.

Pinball ensues of course ... or something like it. The goal is typically to batter enemy defenses with the Odama while your men run around killing the enemy's men and a small squad carries a big bell through the opponent's gate, which has been splintered by your giant pinball. Pay no attention to that sound. It's just common sense flying out the window.

But Odama's mix of pinball and nonsense is exactly the root of its great potential. After all, who thought Katamari Damacy would be incredible? Here, the pinball mechanics work surprisingly well, and there might be some actual strategy in the way troops are deployed. The battlefield can be tilted with no penalty, allowing fine control over the path of the ball. That will be key, since the Odama will trample any humans on the field, both yours or the other guy's.

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