Mixed or average reviews - based on 42 Critic Reviews

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 6 out of 42
  2. Negative: 6 out of 42
Buy On
  1. This is not pinball as we know it, but once again Nintendo comes up with a quirky take on an old idea. Very novel, but perhaps too complex for newcomers.
  2. Game Informer
    While any pinball game should have an element of randomness, there are times in Odama when an accidental ball bounce floods a river and sweeps your entire army away in one fell swoop. [Mar 2006, p.112]
  3. In short, controlled bursts Odama is fun but in stretches no longer than half an hour. And for all the uniqueness and quirkiness of the title, it can't offset the fact there's more luck involved than actual skill.
  4. Odama takes the hard way and really makes you work to see every one of its twelve levels. This will fascinate many looking for something new from Nintendo's camp, but the whole thing seems a bit done in by a clunky, uninteractive control scheme and a cramped presentation.
  5. 69
    Initial frustration is a must for this game, as it is very complex for a pinball title. Reading the manual is a must, so all of you hardcore gamers (myself included) who tend to skip the manual, you better back up and read it. It helps a lot.
  6. There are a good number of entertaining moments, but the frustration can really hurt one's enjoyment. It's definitely for the hardcore gamer, and those that enjoy doing multiple things at once when playing a game.
  7. netjak
    Odama is the third-best console game that involves rolling a giant ball over people. This is not the faint praise that it would initially seem to be, but neither is it the best of recommendations.
  8. The mash-up idea's splendid and it offers real depth and innovation. In fact, once you get over the control hurdle, you'll find a very decent, challenging and rewarding game.
  9. It's definitely unique as far as strategy games go, but Odama's novel mechanics and oddly authentic samurai feel are kneecapped by punishing difficulty and oft frustrating controls.
  10. I just can't get behind it as it suffers from too high a frustration factor which could have been easily tweaked. There are simply too many gameplay elements going on at once which results in an uneven experience.
  11. 65
    Any aspirations the game may have held for greatness are obliterated by outdated graphics and sometimes-clunky execution, with drawbacks ranging from an unnecessary sluggish framerate to collision detection glitches, occasionally lacking microphone voice recognition and stupidly inputted cursor commands.
  12. The idea is solid, solid enough that it should be revisited in the future, even if the execution this time around is lacking.
  13. If you want a game that has never been done before then you deserve to give Odama a try. Just be prepared to succumb to the unforgiving difficulty and quirky gameplay.
  14. One gets the feeling that the developers couldn't come to a decision as to which particular aspect should carry the most weight, be it pinball or strategy, and in the end Odama ends up feeling like a game without focus. The game can also be punishingly difficult
  15. I love playing games that sway from the norm and try something new, and for that reason alone I was excited for Odama and wanted to give it a great score. Unfortunately, it fails in its execution and becomes a lesson in frustration.
  16. Strategy and pinball? Right. It's better than it sounds, but not that much better. The world is probably a more interesting place with this game in it, but that doesn't necessarily mean your life will improve if you play it.
  17. 60
    The time limit is incredibly harsh on some levels and sometimes the computer seems to have an unlimited supply of men at its disposal. More problematic is the overly complex nature of the controls and the necessity to remember to use the microphone while keeping an eye on three different things at once.
  18. You'll probably feel that Odama doesn't quite work. But there's such love in it, so much needless, thankless extra toil and detail, like using the Ninten bell as an excuse to remind us of the etymology of a very familiar name, that at the very least a few more radars deserve to be tuned to Saito's movements in future.
  19. It's got a highly polished presentation, a feat that few games on the Gamecube can muster. Sadly, this game has one a single flaw that ultimately denies it from greatness: the damned microphone.
  20. The end result is a game as refreshing as it is frustrating. It deserves credit for its originality, but not for its controls and visuals.
  21. 60
    Combining pinball, real-time strategy elements, and voice-recognition commands into a ball (pun unintended), Odama straddles the line between 'whack' and 'wacky.'
  22. 60
    Odama is a colorful and intriguing concept in theory, but in practice is nothing short of being a rather poorly conceived pinball game that lacks the physics of a real pinball machine, coupled with some awkward moments in which you must move your troops via voice commands.
  23. Games Master UK
    You're really going to have to make an effort to get much fun out of Odama. [June 2006, p.76]
  24. 60
    You've never played anything like this, which may make it worth checking out for many gamers. Just be prepared for fits of frustration and an unnecessary microphone mechanic. Odama may win the battle of innovation, but it also loses the war for being considered a great game.
  25. 60
    Odama's craziness is not for everyone. And even the people who like it won't find it to be more than a brief diversion.
  26. 60
    Odama is simply beyond strange. It's rock hard, annoying and yet intriguing all at the same time. It's also a pinball game, a strategy game and more over, a game that you'll either love or despise; or even a little of both.
  27. Computer Games Magazine
    Odama may not be much of a pinball game, but it's certainly a choice metaphor. [July 2006, p.86]
  28. Electronic Gaming Monthly
    You do get a sense of accomplishment when luck favors you and you can clear a board or topple a boss, but rarely does the fun reach full tilt. [Jun 2006, p.119]
  29. Most games are fun for ten hours, after which you never play them again. Odama is fun for an hour, then you swear you'll never play it again only to go back an hour later for more. It's more like a Rubik's Cube than a video game, a weird enigma you can always pick up, just not for long.
  30. Sadly, off-the-wall and new does not always mean a good gaming experience. Trying to juggle all the diverse elements of Odama with shoddy speech recognition ultimately makes for a game that is not likely to see much time spinning in the Cube.

Awards & Rankings

#5 Most Discussed GameCube Game of 2006
#2 Most Shared GameCube Game of 2006
User Score

Generally favorable reviews- based on 18 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 14 out of 18
  2. Negative: 3 out of 18
  1. K.C.
    Jan 31, 2008
    This game is so good, a real challange for even hardcore players. I think that the people who have rated it low just didn't try. They This game is so good, a real challange for even hardcore players. I think that the people who have rated it low just didn't try. They gave up because it was to hard, how sad for them. The final secret level is well worth the wait! Full Review »
  2. DabombB.
    Dec 31, 2006
    This game is fun at start but is overwhelmingly difficult and even more frustrating to play. 50% of the time the voice commands aren't This game is fun at start but is overwhelmingly difficult and even more frustrating to play. 50% of the time the voice commands aren't recognized and the pinball doesn't follow proper physics trajectories, I would know, I take high level physics. Full Review »
  3. EdG.
    Sep 9, 2006
    Under rated, missunderstood classic.