It’s time to look at one of the most intense puzzle games I’ve ever played. At the very least, it’s the best Othello game out there. I haven’t played much Othello over the years, but I knew the concept and figured that I could flex my latent skills on the poor computers. It took a little bit of getting used too and I had to unlock 2 OP abilities, but then I was ready to rock and roll.
The plot follows a young dragon who has decided to save the planet from destruction. He does the laundry, helps people find plants and stuff, etc. He just likes helping people out and always accepts a good game of Othello. His peaceful life is forever changed when a meteor crashes into Earth and giant monsters run out. They all want to play Othello, but this dragon is just one guy. Can he really defeat them all and stop them from crushing the planet just because they can?
I feel like it’s a parody of Yugioh at times since the villains just really want an Othello match. It’s like how every villain decides to rule the world through trading cards in Yugioh. So at first I was having a tough time in the Othello matches and they certainly did take a while for each round. Since there are a lot of Othello matches in the game, I knew that I would need a better way than button mashing. (To be fair, button mashing paid off quite well for a while there) So I bought a special ability that allows me to steal an opponent token and keep my turn. Then I also got a Skeith scepter which lets me steal another piece and use it for combos. With this pair of items I became unstoppable. 9 times out of 10 you’re fighting on the same stage and the opponent would do the exact same thing. I found a way to beat just about all computers in around a minute which saved me a great deal of time. It’s no stretch of the imagination to say that this made the overall game a lot more fun as well. No more waiting or trouble winning, it was all just smooth sailing.
The graphics are decently good. I like the character designs at any rate. The actual Othello board is simple, but effective. The overworld is a little bland though and nothing is very detailed. I suppose you could say that the graphics are average at best. They aren’t anything to write home about, but they put up a pretty good effort and that’s what I like to see. The soundtrack isn’t much though. There aren’t really any good themes. I suppose there may have been one good theme near the end of the game, but I can’t really even remember it anymore so could it have really been that good? I have my doubts about this.
Othello makes up about 95% of the game, but there are two other gameplay styles. One is cooking which I had to do exactly once. The other is matching cards which you use to train your Neopets. I decided that instead of catching them all I’d just pick one so I grabbed the top tier and maxed him out in about 2-3 minutes. I really like the matching cards minigame so I kind of wish that this had been the main gameplay. I suppose it would have been too easy, but I definitely could have gotten behind such a move.
There’s a reasonable amount of replay value here. There are a lot of Neopets to capture and a bunch of side quests as you help townsfolk with their chores. As tempting as this all sounded, I decided to just blast through with the plot. The story mode is reasonably long though so even without all of the other stuff the game will last you for a bit. Content is one area where this game was absolutely not lacking.
The plot may not have been the most engaging out there, but it wasn’t bad. It started out really slow, but the climax really hit it home as we got traitors and end the world plots. There are some rather vague endings like the one girl who jumped into a pool of lava, but the narrarator sounds hopeful that the villain could survive so I’ll just have to take that at face value. The game just ends rather suddenly, but I am glad that they didn’t try to stretch the game out just to inflate the numbers. That just wouldn’t have been the right strategy if you ask me.
Overall, I have finally completed a Neopets game and it feels good. I still have one on the PS2 and one on the PSP that I need to work towards completing. Those two are quite a bit longer and more heavily plot based though so I’ll have to bring my A game for those. I expect that they’ll probably beat this game since the gameplay styles are a little better, but at the same time I’m going to miss my Othello. Who knows, I may never see another Othello game again. I definitely recommend checking this game out and I’d advise you to pick up the Skeith staff and pick a good Neopet buddy. It makes the battles a lot more manageable so then you can enjoy the plot without worrying about the fights. Don’t worry about the lag either, it’s not too extreme for the most part. Although I guess in the end what will determine whether you like the game or not is Othello. The gameplay is pretty faithful to the actual game although there are some special abilities. Make sure you learn how to use them and the board to your advantage.