Uh… Hm. This might be a damning way to open a review, but not every games needs to set your loins alight. I think a game industry where every title is tripping over each other in an attempt to be the most meaningful experience you have had would be pretty miserable. Developers should have fun with the creative process. It should be fulfilling to them. Otherwise, we’d just be getting our entertainment from workers on an assembly line. That’s not how art works.
This might be obvious, but I say that because Orbo’s Odyssey did not combust my crotch. I played it because I like the cut of the developer’s jib. Feverdream Johnny is probably best known for their work on Nowhere, MI. They’ve partnered with Ben Drury for this sort of spin-off or sequel to Peeb Adventures. So, I guess I’m here to spectate the creative process rather than have my genitals gelatinized. With that said, it’s still a fun time.
Orbo’s Odyssey (PC)
Developer: Feverdream Softworks
Publisher: Feverdream Softworks
Released: August 21, 2023
Orbo’s Odyssey opens with the eponymous meeple getting locked in their boss’s office along with Peeb. The door isn’t locked, but neither of them has arms, so they can’t work the doorknob. I can think of a few ways around this issue, but they decide the only two options are to either wait for the boss to come to the office (which he never does, typical manager) or use a device to craft a prosthetic arm capable of manipulating a door. I guess they don’t have buttcheeks, either.
They need to collect little Gear Parts that are conveniently located in product portals found in the boss’s office. So, you’ve got a little problem, a little hubworld, and Orbo’s Odyssey is a little platformer. It’s a micro-collect-a-thon. There are five gears in each world, and it takes a little over an hour to complete.
Or maybe I’m just amazing. I was told the controls are easy to learn and hard to master, but I had it down from the word “go.” Actually, maybe I was just told that so I’d feel good about myself. In that case, it worked.
Adventure vs. Odyssey
Beyond running and jumping, you can launch yourself through the air like a rocket. This is the big concept to wrap your head around, as while there’s more to Orbo’s Odyssey than just going ballistic, it’s all centered around your jet speed. There are time trials, puzzles, and battles, but they’re mostly all solved by ramming your head into them.
The real appeal is in the dreamlike visuals. Well, I say “dreamlike,” but my dreams usually involve a lot more noodles. Feverdream Softworks seems to dream about Draculas and businessmen. Their dreamworld is an awful little place where an unconvincing façade and awful corporate culture mix into something inhuman and alienating. Especially when you factor in all the house music that plays overtop.
There’s a lot of screwing around to be had. Scouring environments reveals a lot of strange displays, making it feel almost like a wax museum or an I Spy book.
If you look hard enough, you can see some of Feverdream Johnny’s trademark nightmarish existentialism. This possibly ties into the greeted Feverdream universe, but I can’t claim to be intimately familiar enough to know for sure. Standing apart, it’s mostly just confirmation that your discomfort is warranted. It reminds you that it might not be raining, but you’re standing thigh-deep in a leech-filled swamp. It’s the good stuff.
Because of its brevity and whimsical apathy, it’s hard to really give a lot of feedback on Orbo’s Odyssey. It neither disappointed nor exceeded expectations. I doubt I’ll be doing an annual playthrough, but I’ll still be there for Feverdream Softworks’ next game. It’s not that expensive, and it’s maybe healthier for you than eating an entire bucket of ice cream by yourself. Hold on, I can do better. Here’s a good box quote:
“Orbo’s Odyssey is an adequate reason to put your fingers all over your mouse and keyboard.”
[This review is based on a retail build of the game provided by the publisher.]