Odyssey: The Next Generation Science Game



Genre:    Adventure 

Developer:   Young Socratics

Publisher:    Young Socratics       

Released:  April 2017              

Requirements (minimum):

  • OS: 64-bit Windows 
  • Processor: Intel Core 2 Duo or equivalent AMD processor
  • Memory: 2 GB RAM
  • Graphics: Intel HD4600 and above integrated card or DirectX 11 dedicated card
  • DirectX: Version 11
  • Storage: 1 GB available space
  • Additional Notes: Run on Medium/Low setting for integrated card like Intel HD4600




By flotsam


Odyssey: The Next Generation Science Game

Young Socratics

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 challenge.

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 progress.

Speaking of the end, it is disappointing. There is clearly more intended.

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 it.

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 strategically deployed.

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


Video card: AMD Radeon RX 470 8192MB


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December 2017

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