Developer: Pangea Software Inc.
Price: $4.99
Version Reviewed: 1.1

Graphics / Sound Rating: ★★★★☆
Game Controls Rating: ★★☆☆☆
Gameplay Rating: ★★☆☆☆

iPhone Integration Rating: ★★½☆☆
User Interface Rating: ★★★☆☆
Re-use / Replay Value Rating: ★★☆☆☆

Overall Rating: ★★½☆☆

Otto Matic, labeled by Pangea (Cro-Mag Rally, Enigmo) as their best game ever just doesn’t sit well with me. For one, this game, although new to the iPhone, came out on the Mac in 2001. It was extremely popular within the Mac community at the time, but the game is old and the gameplay is outdated. Otto Matic was very well received when it came out, but you have to keep in mind that 3D Mac games in 2001 were very hard to come by, especially on OS9. The genre has grown much more complex since then, adding elements to platform games that weren’t even thought of at the turn of the century. Now don’t get me wrong, there are many people who simply don’t care for the 3D platformer genre, but I am not one of them. I’ve loved them every since Mario 64 graced my TV for the first time, but the genre, particularly the older games in it, are losing a bit of their luster. Compared to a few of the great ones that have come out lately like Jak and Daxter, the majority of the older games just have no life.

img_0071As you may have guessed, Otto Matic is a basic 3D platformer, with basic being the pertinent word in the statement. The game requires you, as Otto, to run around maps breaking wooden crates and killing aliens so you can save the human race. This, for the most part, is all you do. Run, save human, jump, save human. There are a few mini-game type parts of levels that are quite fun, but they are few and far between. There really isn’t too much life in the game world in terms of gameplay, which makes the game seem quite repetitive after a few go’s. On top of shallow gameplay is the difficulty of the games controls. The movement in the game just seems clunky, which is a huge problem for a game in this genre. Simple tasks, such as moving directly backwards because you accidentally overran something are far too difficult. The only thing tougher than making Otto Matic walk is using the darn rocket pack to do short spurts of flying. I really like the idea of having a rocket pack, and maybe being out of control is in the rocket packs nature, but I at least would like to be somewhat in control. I’ve spent way more time in the game aiming my character in preparation to jump than to actually jump. There is no such thing as seamless motion in Otto Matic, that luxury just isn’t offered to you.

The saving grace of Otto Matic is it’s excellent graphics and sound. What the game lacks in gameplay and story, it makes up for in style. The theme of the game is set in a 50′s sci-fi camp flick. The graphics and sound, from the aliens to the intro movie remind me of Mars Attacks! in almost every way. The graphics are bright and inviting, making this game, at first glance, a must have. I actually showed this game off to a few of my Blackberry owning friends the other day to show off the graphical capabilities of the iPhone, and it sure made a statement. The sound is equally inviting, with a score that just bleeds sci-fi camp and sound effects that are perfect for their environment.

With all of the wizz-bang graphics that this game offers, it’s a real shame that Otto Matic isn’t more fun. After level two, I was just about ready to stop playing, and by the middle of level three I just didn’t have any more in me. It is a nice, safe, stylish game, but if not for the entertaining mini-games that are sporadic in levels, there just isn’t much to do. I have a feeling that this game will stay on my phone for a long time just to show off to people, but it will get very little gameplay. For the price, there are many better options including the wildly addictive Flight Control, which you should buy right now.

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