Harmony’s Odyssey is from Warsaw-based dev MythicOwl and published by fellow Poles WeDigGames. We got a similar feel to the work of Artifex Mundi, also based in Poland. We’d not be all that surprised if MythicOwl had some staff in common with that dev either either.
Harmony’s Odyssey is a weird thing. It’s a cutesy kids puzzle game that showers you with trophies while you navigate a wordless story with Greek and Norse mythology intermingled. Except you’re in a modern world of sorts with an airport, ski resort and football field. It’s a strange thing. We guess the title alludes to Homer’s Odyssey of yore which sorta explains things. Additionally, it’s a fierce challenge for those trophy completionists who feel compelled to finish the levels on hard difficulty.
The puzzles are pretty varied to be honest. That’s in Harmony’s Odyssey favour at least. From the most basic of four tile dioramas to the ridiculously intricate spot the difference games. At least on hard difficulty. They’re almost too hard, to the extent that if you make a single mistake you’re out on your ear.
There’s a storyline where your main witch character and her cat familiar see off various antagonists from mythology including variety of settings including the aforementioned airport. For some reason her magic wand is seen to be off limits by the cyclopean security guard and is confiscated on multiple occasions. Levels are thematically linked into sections, firstly somewhere called Olymp Estate with a classical Greek feel.
Graphically it’s all rather simplistic and if we’re honest, geared towards kids. Though good luck tearing the average kid away from whatever is cool with them these days. In our kid’s case, it’s Geometry Dash and he’s more excited about update 2.2 that’s apparently due any day. No, we don’t get it either.
The puzzles themselves are generally variations on hidden object games or spot the difference. There’s also plenty of dioramas that are all scrambled up by magic wands, so perhaps the mythological bylaws are on to something. We got heartily bored of rearranging variations on a theme of the same landscapes over and again. On the plus side at least it’s not lazy asset swaps like those jumping snack food things that clog up the PSN store.
We mentioned the trophies earlier. It seems our witch pal might be the source of the problem as she has an aptitude for making everyone angry going by the trophy titles alone. In turn she manages to annoy Cerberus, a minotaur, the cyclops, a mummy and Odin himself. The associated puzzles are themed to suit the general mythological background for each. The football field puzzles are a little labyrinthine for example.
Though these labyrinths make for tough sledding once you get into the hard mode puzzles as they have strict time limits as well as minimal margin for error. It’s hard going if we’re perfectly honest, so we’d recommend an easy or normal mode playthrough of the main campaign before revisiting the hard difficulty levels in arcade mode. As well as the labyrinths, we mentioned the spot the difference levels that are ridiculously stringent. One error and you’re done.
The memory game with a handful of differences is as bad but you don’t even have the prior image to compare to. We struggled even with taking a screenshot and comparing that to the screen. That was before we got into the maze levels with the vengeful storms. It was about that point we realised that we were probably never going to get past them. At least in the standard campaign on normal difficulty, while tough, they didn’t feel impossible like they do on hard difficulty.
That’s not to mention the inconsistency of the way the mazes work. One instance had us run over some spikes unscathed on the way to the objective but on our return trip we came unstuck on the same obstacle. Not to mention your timing has to be absolutely perfect to even stand a chance. It’s quite the roadblock, put it that way.
We found ourselves frequently bored, though we’re not quite the target demographic. But we also struggle to see how younger kids at who this is ostensibly aimed will cope without adult assistance. You can play with a second controller at in either co-op or versus mode, so that may be the approach to take.
The frequency with which it bombards you with trophies amused us though, to the extent that we had more trophy unlock screenshots than we had of those we’d actually taken from gameplay. It runs at a fair clip on a base model PS4 so perhaps one for the kids’ room if they’ve got an old console handed down.
In conclusion, Harmony’s Odyssey is alright we guess but neither is it particularly engaging. Some puzzles are difficult enough even on normal difficulty, not to mention if you dial up the challenge. The wordless storyline is quite silly from what we made of it, mixing up Greek and Norse mythology to name but two sources.
+ Runs at a reasonable rate on a base model PS4
+ The title alone is a fair pun
- Odd mixture of mythological themes
- Hard mode is a harsh mistress