Yoot Saito's Odama

"It's been incredibly difficult to balance this game," agrees Saito, explaining why the title has been so long in development. "Even from the planning stages it's been an interesting game, but to make it so has required a lot of tuning on our part."

It's encouraging that Vivarium is taking the time to refine Odama and, if nothing else, the level design currently shows plenty of variety and ingenuity within its tight parameters. But initial impressions are of a game that's as capricious as it is charmingly surreal, and that's very difficult to wrest meaningful control of. And that could make the difference between Odama being hailed as a cult classic or just another oddball.