Orange Hood a fun concept that suffers from being too short

Posted: May 31, 2009 in Arcade

I often play video games that look and play great, but due to one oversight, the game becomes a disappointment. That would apply to Orange Hood, which provides for some entertaining gameplay but is overshadowed by its significant lack of levels. While the game has a strong concept, providing just 4 levels of play undermines what would otherwise be a hidden gem.

From the muzak-like soundtrack and humorous storyline to the visually pleasing graphics and animation, Orange Hood is a well-presented game that shows the creative talent of the devs. The storyline is presented in a comic book montage at the beginning of each level, and you won’t need any words to understand where the story is headed.

You play the character of Orange Hood—wild guess but I presume she is the relative of Little Red Riding Hood—who is out to find the Big Bad Wolf after he destroys her house and takes something of value from her. The saying “Hell hath no fury like a woman scorned” would seem to apply, and the journey involves doing battle with various forest creatures in the art of “throwing balls”.

Orange Hood has two modes of play: Story and Free. Story Mode is the campaign where Orange Hood faces the Mole, Wolf, Pig and finally, the Big Bad Wolf. As I said, the game is short and literally, those are the levels. With both easy and hard settings, Free Mode allows you to play all the levels completed in Story Mode and is based on fastest time to defeat the forest enemies.

The game has 3 control schemes: touch, tilting and touch, and tilting. You move Orange Hood to a ball via touch or tilt, tap to pick up, and tap again to roll. In the best 2 out of 3 contest, the objective is to get all your balls to the other side before your opponent can accomplish that on your side. Barring that, there is also time limit and if both sides fail to get the balls to other side, then whoever gets the most balls to the other side is deemed the winner.

The balls can be used to block opponent’s balls and to temporarily knock opponents down and vice versa. There are interesting moments when both Orange Hood and the enemy forest creature are both down on their backs, which visually is not something you see everyday. In the case of the Pig, he can be relentless because he will keep attacking Orange Hood while she’s down…not the prettier side of swine. A mole will also appear randomly to divert balls, which can be both an advantage and disadvantage. Also various power ups exist, which appear in the form of cubes that roll across the forest battleground, and acquired by rolling a ball into them.

These include:
Penetrating Ball—inflicts heavy duty, longer knock downs
Shielding Angels—protects from enemy balls 3 times
Tumbler—raises character from stunning state/knock down
Speed Up—speeds up ability move side to side
Confuse—reverses a character’s movement

As these power ups are secured, they appear as icons under the appropriate character and are activated for Orange Hood by tapping. Keep in the mind that the enemy forest creature is also eligible to secure these power ups.

Orange Hood offers some frantic gameplay since a number of balls are often in play at any given moment, and the concept is pretty entertaining. The controls are responsive, and the animation is smooth and free of lag. But, the game is remarkably easy in the first two levels, which is detrimental to a game that only has 4 of them.

The devs are obviously talented, and Orange Hood shows that with a visually engaging presentation combined with entertaining gameplay. But, the lack of content undermines the game. I can see this being of interest to younger kids and even for some casual players, but in general, it’s hard to justify the less than an hour’s worth of story mode gameplay.

Albie Meter: 3 Stars (the game is fun with a solid presentation, but it’s simply too short)


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