As explained by Wiki, the Socratic method “is a
form of cooperative argumentative dialogue between individuals, based on
asking and answering questions to stimulate critical thinking and to
draw out ideas and underlying presumptions”. As the makers name
suggests, it is front and centre in Odyssey.
In keeping with said method, there is a good degree of “edutainment”
involved. Such games are a difficult thing. There are some great ones
out there (Physicus and the other Tivola/Heureka games come to mind) and
the testimonials on the makers website suggest this game should be among
them. I am still on the fence; whilst there is a lot of excellent first
person puzzle solving and exploration, Odyssey ultimately got somewhat
overwhelmed by the Socratic approach to its science.
Out in your boat, you receive a recorded message seeking help, a
message that takes you to the Wretched Islands to (hopefully) rescue 13
year old Kai and her family, hiding from a bunch of piratey types. Last
frequented by the US army in the Second World War, somewhere in the
Caribbean, the islands are uninhabited. The remnants of the army abound,
as you will find out once you get off the dock.
Not all at once though. You can see cable cars, bridges that need
completion, doors in the base of mountains, all out of reach at first.
Puzzles clear the way.
As do the journal pages you find.
The pages belong to Kai, in which she chronicles a discourse with her
father that provides the Socratic science referred to. We start by
discussing how you can tell the Earth is round, why the horizon doesn't
appear curved against the rising sun, and pondering the antipodes. The
pages provide the clues to the puzzles, drawings and highlights helping
point the way. All sorts of gadgets and gizmos are described and
recreated on the island, somewhat unrealistically to be sure, but
thought provoking nonetheless. Go with the MacGyver flow, and enjoy the
Every puzzle will open up something, whether it is a ladder to
another level, a zip line, or just a box to more journal pages. It is
generally puzzle at a time, although there are some more open areas at
times. Every puzzle is brain power – no timing, no deaths, no ticking
bomb. Just you against the puzzle. Towards the end I experienced some
wandering around and backtracking, but generally it was forward
Speaking of the end, it is disappointing. There is clearly more
You WASD your way around, with almost unlimited capacity to look and
walk around. Pointing and clicking interacts with the world. And it is a
good looking world, and it sounds good too. No conversations, no one
else to interact with (apart from Kai through the journal) and no music.
Just the sounds of the island, and your activity, which is how I like
The game auto saves as you go, but at no time did I find myself
wanting it to save more regularly. You will find and have to use a
limited range of inventory items, most notably a pick that is good at
smashing things. Other items (and some notes) are a little more
Odyssey played to a lot of my adventure gaming likes, but it did
overdo the methodology. There were about 270 journal pages by the time I
had finished, found about 10 to 12 pages at a time. They aren’t overly
wordy, but you could (unfairly) characterise the goings on as find
pages, read and solve puzzle, find more pages, repeat. I do think less
would have been more.
But there was still a lot too like for a first person solitary
exploration fan, and I will be back.
I played on:
OS: Windows 10, 64 Bit
Processor: Intel i7-6700 4GHz