The Nardio Review
Is Ookujira Worth Your Time?
Yes. Just be patient with it.
What Should I Play it On?
Unless you have a very large phone I say stick with tablets. Some of the hazards later on are hard to see even on my iPad.
Why it Works and How it Plays:
This is pure endless high score addiction.
I hated Ookujira when I first started playing it. I didn’t get it. I think I encountered a few bugs early on and it took some time to get used to the design. I complained on Twitter and then slept on it. The next day, with a little more sleep and patience, I made it further and started to get the complexities of arcade mode. The second mode took me a few more days to really get. By then though I found I was oddly hooked on a game that I flat out hated just days before. Ookujira isn’t perfect, but it’s good enough I find myself coming back again and again.
You take up the mantle (fins?) of a whale who took it upon itself to save the world from an alien invasion. You fly out of the water and endlessly flip and flop across buildings hitting as many alien ships as you can. Oddly you seem to do way, way more damage to the city than the alien ships, but hey, death to those aliens and hurray high scores! Along the way you randomly encounter power ups. You can unlock more, but I’ll get into that later.
In arcade mode you endlessly go right trying to get as high a score as you can. Along the way you can try to save up enough currency and equip power ups that sort of help the experience along.
I say “try” a lot here because Ookujira is a freemium game and this is where you run into how the developer plans to make money. Power ups are expensive and seemingly single use. This kind of makes me sad because I believe that if the developer made some sort of permanent progression system Ookujira would have been that much more addictive for me. It could have become my new Temple Run 2 or Pocket Mine 2. As is, playing through the game gets you a small amount of currency. You also have the option to double what you earned during your run by watching a video ad. I’ve done this maybe twice so far, but honestly I just don’t feel that compelled to earn game currency without some sort of permanent progression system. So while I love that Ookujira isn’t filled with lots of pop up ads, I don’t often find myself really wanting to support the developer. Maybe I would buy a coin doubler, but that option isn’t available to me, and as pricey as the items are in store it might not be worth it. Players can also buy gems with real money, but again for single use boosts. It just seems like a waste of money to me.
Players can also buy different whale skins for $0.99 each. They don’t have any descriptions on them, but to support the developer and find out what they doI bought one. Sadly, they are just skins. It would have been nice if they had different abilities or perks. Maybe one never shrinks down to the tiny size. Another could always have one extra life or an extra jump. Skins that do nothing, while nice, feel a bit empty here. Hopefully the developer adds more value to these in app purchases with future updates.
Ookujira also has another game mode called Slalom where you try to make it through as many gates as possible. Now the mode isn’t perfect. Sometimes gates don’t recognize that you’ve passed through it. This can be insanely frustrating, but overall the mode is still entertaining for me from time to time. It took a lot of patience but I’ve figured out how to do pretty well in that mode.
Speaking of problems, both modes seems to suffer from the whale occasionally just falling through the building when it should safely land. This is kinda game-breaking and frustrating, but thankfully it doesn’t happen that often. It did, oddly, seem to happen a lot when I first tried the game, which led to my initial hatred of Ookujira. Since then it has been kind of rare. It still happens though so please fix it if you are reading this review Juha Ikonen (<-Game developer). I also find progressing to the next level seems impossible for me. I’ve played Ookujira a lot and have only gotten one out of the necessary three stars to unlock the new scenery. I really hope this level gets easier to unlock in a new patch because Ookujira could use some new visual flavor. Another issue I have with Ookujira is the laser enemies. I really wish the developer made them easier to see. Just add some color to them. Please.
All that said I still find myself addicted to Ookujira and I really recommend that you all give this a try. The learning curve is a little rough, but I feel like my patience was well rewarded. This one of those games I can see myself coming back to for a very long time.
If you are a fan of endless high score games you need to get this.
- Free with in-app purchases
- Opt in ads for bonus currency
- No aggressive pop ups.
- 26.1 MB