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Harmony’s Odyssey Review

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It’s been a few years since developers MythicOwl have released a game on Xbox; the puzzling Hexologic. While the mathematics based problems offered a great way to unwind, the menu, its UI, and a general lack of direction was off putting. With the release of their latest title, Harmony’s Odyssey, the hope is that this 3D puzzle adventure won’t suffer a similar fate. So, are MythicOwl going to make a triumphant return with Harmony’s Odyssey, or have they learned nothing from past failings?

Well, there are a couple of slightly familiar issues found in Harmony’s Odyssey, but more importantly, there’s also a lot to like about it.

harmony's odyssey review
Snow is falling, all around Harmony in this lovely 3D puzzle

Harmony’s Odyssey begins in a fantastical world, where a horde of mice cause mischief by sneaking into the titular Harmony’s house and spooking her cat. In the midst of the ruckus, magic wands are knocked to the ground, seemingly sending everything around them into disarray. Not only does Harmony have to put things back as they were, she must also keep tabs on the impulsive cat and fix the trouble it subsequently causes. 

Beyond that, it’s hard to know exactly what is going on without any words to accompany the short scenes littered throughout the campaign. That’s fine however, as you can just enjoy the silly escapades being portrayed and make of it what you will. These often involve a cavalcade of interesting takes on popular mythical characters. As such, expect to see Minotaurs playing American football, a very angry road raging three-headed dog based on Cerberus, and even a Cyclops security guard. There are also penguins, mice, mummies, and more in the vividly designed and varied biomes that Harmony ventures through.

The campaign itself consists of different mini-games to solve, with over sixty in total to work through. A decent portion of these are 3D jigsaws that, when completed, create really cool dioramas depicting what Harmony and her cat are getting up to. It’s all very simple to select and move tiles around, ensuring there’s a chilled vibe as you piece things together. The ability to rotate the camera freely helps to gain a better perspective on potential matches too. Eventually, the puzzles become trickier as the amount of tiles increase and additional layers of tiles are added to branch out vertically. But never does it overwhelm.

There’s definitely something different between these two, but can you spot it?

The best of the bunch though, and perhaps the most challenging, involve concepts centred on memory and observation. As a keen enthusiast of hidden object adventures, I adore the levels here in which you must locate items within an environment. Spot the difference is another way Harmony’s Odyssey looks to freshen up proceedings; especially with a certain spin on it implemented that really tests your ability to take mental images. 

Not every type of mini-game is a hit unfortunately, and it’s the action-focused ones that just aren’t quite as enjoyable. Sneaking around and stealing cheese, while avoiding patrolling characters and traps, just doesn’t deliver the same joy as the more cerebral puzzles. The same can be said for the cat delivery service levels, where the movement is clunky within tight spaces. They’re not awful by any stretch of the imagination, it’s simply that you likely won’t be overjoyed to partake in them.

Given how a level could be finished in seconds or mere minutes, the Arcade mode has extras for you to tackle. This stretches out the experience to a good few hours and features more of the same kind of mini-games. There is also a great selection of classic 2D puzzles to unlock by spending stars earned from completing levels, but it’s easy to miss them. You see, the menu system isn’t intuitive to navigate and they’re hidden away in the depths – I stumbled upon them by chance. It’s a shame that some people won’t be so lucky.

The difficulty ramps up with multi-layered puzzles

The only thing left to discuss is a technical issue. Essentially, tiles would disappear while swapping them during the 3D dioramas, which left a gap that couldn’t be filled. It only happened on a handful of occasions, but having to restart a puzzle near completion leaves a sour taste afterwards.

All in all, Harmony’s Odyssey is a delightfully whimsical adventure full of puzzling and charming dioramas. It’ll keep you busy for a good few hours with 3D jigsaws, hidden object style mini-games, and more. Even though the story often appears nonsensical, the silliness of the goings on is still fun to watch and the different biomes to traverse are beaming with vibrancy. If only there were less of the action-centric mini-games and it had a better menu setup, then Harmony’s Odyssey would be a top tier puzzler.

SUMMARY

Pros:
  • Charming fantasy setting
  • 3D jigsaws galore
  • Observation-based puzzles
  • Lovely biomes full of vibrancy
Cons:
  • Menu navigation
  • Action mini-games
Info:
  • Massive thanks for the free copy of the game go to - We Dig Games
  • Formats - Xbox Series X|S (reviewed), Xbox One, PS5, PS4, Switch, PC
  • Release date and price - 19 October 2023 | £12.49
James Birks
James Birks
Been gaming casually since the SNES as a youngster but found my true passion for games on the Playstation 1 (the forbidden word ooo). My addiction grew to its pinnacle with the purchase of an Xbox 360 & Xbox Live Service. A recovering GS hunter that will still play literally any game.
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<b>Pros:</b> <ul> <li>Charming fantasy setting</li> <li>3D jigsaws galore</li> <li>Observation-based puzzles</li> <li>Lovely biomes full of vibrancy</li> </ul> <b>Cons:</b> <ul> <li>Menu navigation</li> <li>Action mini-games</li> </ul> <b>Info:</b> <ul> <li>Massive thanks for the free copy of the game go to - We Dig Games</li> <li>Formats - Xbox Series X|S (reviewed), Xbox One, PS5, PS4, Switch, PC <li>Release date and price - 19 October 2023 | £12.49</li> Harmony's Odyssey Review
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