At first glance Ohmz looks a bit like Peggle(4.5 star review by Dave here), and the developers even mentions Peggle on the App Store page. My expectations were high, and further heightened by a bunch of five star reviews at iTunes. So how well does it live up to the expectations?
It is certainly no Peggle that’s for sure. The menu screen greeting you is the first hint to the low production values found within this game. You can choose to play the game or watch the credits at the menu. There are a total of 30 levels in Ohmz, and all are available from the start. No progression at all, and nothing to unlock. I find that to be a major flaw for a game taking inspiration from Peggle and other casual games. There is simply no challenge left to the game. Beating my own high score isn’t that fun, and as there are no pre-set high scores it is hard to know what a good score is.
Gameplay is a combination of Peggle and Breakout. You send an orb into the level, and it bounces around much resembling the basic gameplay of Peggle. Once it hits other orbs sparks and Ohmz, yellow orbs with smiley faces, fall down, and you have to catch them with a pad. The pad is controlled by dragging it along, you have to keep your finger on it otherwise it doesn’t move. It is quite responsive, and the actual pad has a bit of lag making it easier to choose what to pick up first. There are power meters on each side of the screen, and once they are full you have completed the level. You get higher scores if you hit and collect red sparks but also less power. A good part of the game is the statistics you get at the end of a level letting you know which orbs you tend to miss.
If you have orbs left at the end of the level the game switches from landscape mode to portrait mode. A pachinko style game lets you drop the orbs to gain extra points. I found this part of the game to be slow and boring. It disrupts the pace of the game, and feels like an item just forced into the game.
I mentioned the low production values of the main menu initially, and the in-game graphics suffer as well. Murky backgrounds probably inspired by circuit boards dominate the view alongside the large energy bars. I like the collector pad and the sparks you have to collect are kind of cute.
There is no music, and yet the game won’t let you use your own music in conjunction with the sparse sound effects. I like the bass throbbing effect whenever the pad picks up energy, heavy. There is no sound effects when the orbs collide.
Let us go back to my experience of the actual gameplay. It is quite fun to play actually, and it plays more like Breakout than Peggle. Some levels are really intense with loads of sparks and Ohmz to pick up. There are no power-ups to play around with, I think there would be cool if the collecting pad could transform and get special abilities.
With everything unlocked from the start Ohmz has a limited gamelife.
In conclusion I think developers Suggest Content Interactive have the foundation to a really good game at their hands. It needs to be upgraded in lots of ways, and infused with more own personality.
At $3.99 I can’t recommend it, heck it’s only a buck cheaper than Peggle. Peggle comparisons are unavoidable, which happens to most games featuring pegs. To avoid those comparisons developers of peg games need to distinguish their games clearly, and at least avoid having pegs in the same colours of those found in Peggle. Had this been sold at a buck I would have recommended it to those casual gamers who wants more control in their peg game. The control pad is a good inclusion giving you a chance to really affect the game. I recommend your to wait for a major update or a price drop before you get Ohmz.