OHMZ brings sparks, but it could be so much more

Posted: May 18, 2009 in Puzzle

We could all use some sparks every so often so I was glad to check out OHMZ, and while the game requires additional modes and sound effects to make the great game it can be, the gameplay can be addicting.

The objective of the game is to completely charge the power meter by collecting sparks and OHMZ (yellow pegs that turn into smiley faces). You generate sparks by shooting orbs that hit the pegs that result in sparks. The blue sparks and OHMZ will fill the power meter and generate points while the red sparks generate more points but reduce the power meter.

Visually, the game looks good but could use a higher level of resolution to brighten the colors and sharpen the animation. And from a sound perspective, the sound effects are minimal. Ideally, there would be sound effects as orbs bounce off pegs and even different sound effects when sparks and OHMZs are flying around.

The game has 30 levels, which you can play at any time. While this adds to the casualness of the game, it also takes away from the challenge a bit. What would add to the challenge is if most of these levels are locked until a minimum scoring requirement is met. Hopefully, the devs consider offering a campaign mode to facilitate that.

On the gameplay screen, two launchers tied to their own individual power meters are located on both sides each with a separate launch button so you can shoot from either side. A power slider at the bottom of the screen enables you to adjust the strength behind the launch of an orb. I really like the launch set up and is the most creative part of the OHMZ. Once you’ve launched an orb, a collector appears moveable by touch.

The gameplay is pretty straightforward in that you launch orbs from either launcher and collect the sparks and OHMZ with the collector. A score is shown in the upper left-hand corner while a limited number of orbs are shown in the upper right-hand corner. One slight tweak that I suggest is that the power slider automatically appears after an orb has finished its cycle instead of having the player tap the launcher to bring up the slider. In addition, the sparks can be difficult to see because of the lack of illumination and the dark background. The statistics page appears after each game provides a detailed breakdown of orbs caught/missed by color, red/blue sparks caught/missed, and OHMZ caught. A fun additional bonus is that with any orbs left, a Pachinko-style game appears where you can earn bonus points, which provides some variety after any challenging OHMZ session.

The more I played OHMZ, the more fun it becomes. Having said that, it could be so much better with a few additions and tweaks. As I mentioned, unlockable levels would be ideal, and a separate quick play mode would be an option to maintain the casual playability of the game. To those who say this is a Peggle clone, OHMZ is far from that with a unique concept. With some refinements, OHMZ could go from being a good game to a great one.

Albie Meter: 4 stars (recommended for those looking for a fun, casual game and who aren’t prone to calling everything with pegs a Peggle clone)

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