If you own a GameCube and haven’t picked up Odama yet, what are you waiting for?  I saw this game about a year ago and have been awaiting its arrival in the US ever since.

For those that don’t know, Odama is a game created by Yoot Saito and Vivarium, father of Seaman on the Dreamcast.  Oh, and if you haven’t played Seaman, go buy that now, too.  

Odama combines a pinball with some elements of real-time strategy and tosses in a microphone as an input for voice commands for good measure.

The gameplay itself is relatively simple.  Your ancient Japanese samurai warriors need to make their way from the front of the playfield to the back, through a gate, while opposing warriors attempt to stop you.  All the while you’re batting around this enormous ball (the Odama) like a giant pinball which runs over troops (both yours and the enemies) and kills them.  The ball also destroys buildings and other armaments in its path.  Add to that a microphone where you shout commands like “Push forward!” and “Rally!” to your troops, and there you have it.  A bizarre combination of genres and control interfaces that make for a pretty unique gaming experience.  It takes some practice to coordinate it all, but once you’ve learned how to control the game, it works pretty well.

For some reason, the mainstream gaming sites aren’t all over this one.  Did I answer my question of “Why?” with that statement?  Is this game so far out of the mainstream that they just don’t care?  Or am I just a die-hard for quirky, innovative games that aren’t tired rehashes of already rehashed games?

If you have a need for a quirky and unique gaming experience and own a GameCube, spend the $50 and pick up this game.