The point and click genre may as well have its own key cut to come and go as it pleases in this household, it’s family. Whenever a new title comes out on the Switch, I’m eager to play it, and the latest is Odysseus Kosmos and his Robot Quest, from Pavel Kostin and HeroCraft.
It’s not a brand spanking new adventure, as it was available on PC a few years before. Still, it’s new to the Switch and catered to adventurers with a thirst for comedy, illogical puzzles and whiffs of nostalgia.
When released, Odysseus Kosmos and his Robot Quest was in episodes, all faithfully represented here. There are six in total; five main ones and a Pilot Episode to get you started. On that note, let’s begin.
Odysseus Kosmos and his Robot Quest Switch Review
Set in space, onboard the San Francisco, we play as the titular Odysseus; a cake-loving techie, tasked with all the menial electrical jobs on the space station, who has a penchant for taking apart objects and rebuilding them.
It’s quite an amusing setup, as we had a family member who was the same. On one occasion, she disassembled the home telephone, leaving all the wires exposed and in the process of being re-soldered. In short, she rebuilt the phone perfectly without fault, as with many other appliances including a TV(!), but were they broken in the first place?
I connected with Odysseus pretty swiftly then, not just because of his tinkering but also his wit, representing the ‘everyman’ and his extreme guilt for indulging in some cake. We all have our vices.
The rest of the crew are on a mission, so he’s left aboard ala Tom Hanks’ character in Castaway. Fortunately, there are no available sharpies or basketballs, and he does have someone/thing to confide in, an onboard robot, Barton Quest.
So that description was intentionally run-of-the-mill as the events in Odysseus Kosmos and his Robot Quest felt normal, despite being in space and flirting with the paranormal. Odysseus could be anyone, he’s relatable, and Barton is the straight man/robot to support the comedy – a clear highlight.
We reach a ‘but’ early on as it’s relatively important: the controls. There’s no cursor in Odysseus Kosmos and his Robot Quest, and from my perspective, that’s a big flaw. A joystick with never replace a mouse for accuracy in a point and click, but it’s better than the alternative: tabbing.
I don’t think that’s even a term, but you have to select an interactive item through the L and R buttons until you bring up the thing you want to inspect or use. It’s so backward and chore-like that I genuinely struggled to stay with it for the first 30-45 minutes.
Playing on the telly, I thought it might be configured to the touchscreen. I never use the touchscreen in-game to be fair, but it would have been the lesser evil. Alas, there are no touchscreen options, and you have to position Odysseus next to the object, scroll through the shoulder buttons until it appears.
A Space Odysseus
This applies to the inventory too. Interactive elements are selected with the shoulder buttons, and your items are via up and down on the d-pad. You can inspect and combine items, but it’s so clunky and counterintuitive, if it wasn’t for the fact that there’s no urgency in the game, you might even give up.
Fortunately then, the gameplay is very good, underneath all that awkwardness. I won’t keep talking specifically about the comedy, but it’s good, albeit the exchanges can be bordering on lengthy at times. As with most point and clicks, there’s the obligatory reference to classic titles, but it doesn’t feel forced.
Odysseus Kosmos and his Robot Quest is retro-ish, so no spoken dialogue but sound effects. They are incoherent, but they’re fine and serve the purpose. The accompanying music is nice too.
Regarding the visual approach, I’d like to compare it to the likes of Zak McKraken and the Alien Mindbenders or similar, but that would be a disservice. Within the context of the aesthetic, it really is good and feels quite nostalgic for retro fans.
Ground Control To Major Oddy
Of course, there are illogical puzzles and item combinations in Odysseus Kosmos and his Robot Quest, and it couldn’t be deemed a point and click otherwise. Actually, is this a point and click or a scroll and select?
A handful of times I was scratching my head at how to operate or repair a device, clumsily stumbling over the item list selecting it/deselecting it. But you know how it goes; once you’ve worked it out, it still doesn’t make sense, but it’s fun to see the exchanges and make progress.
You can move Odysseus freely with the stick, but play time is increased as you fumble through the selections because of how you interact with things. A legend set appears at the bottom of the screen to remind you of the controls at all time, and this is needed as you feel you’re cracking up at times.
There’s a further incentive in the way of in-game achievements, a.k.a. Coffee Break. This is full of pop culture references and Easter eggs you can find within the game through exploration and a nod to fellow geeks and often had me smirking at the references.
Odysseus Kosmos and his Robot Quest Review Summary
A witty adventure that isn’t overly cliche with two likeable leads. The story, not covered here, is a bit of a slow burner but worth it. Odysseus Kosmos and his Robot Quest was held back a little by the clunky controls and slightly verbose exchanges, otherwise, it’s worth adding to your collection if you’re a genre fan.