For all those growing up as older children in the 90s, hold onto your light-up LA Gears because Odyssey gets you. Voyage of the Mimi? Check. Ghostwriter? Heck ya. Bill Nye? In spades. Today we’re talking about a game in the new generation of learning material aimed teaching children science. From their kickstarter material; Odyssey is concerned about the methods in which science is taught in schools, with the emphasis on the end result rather then the joy of the discovery.
Odyssey starts off with you taking on the role of an unknown rescuer. A young girl, Kai, and her family were out for summer vacation on their boat near the Wretched Islands. Their trip was cut short when a group of Sailors (unmentioned on their identities) shipwrecked the family in hopes that they could find a buried treasure hidden in an undisclosed location. In an attempt to thwart their pursuers, Kai set riddles and traps that required science and math skills since the Sailors didn’t look like the scholarly type. You pick up her short-range distress call, and make your way to the island to both rescue the family and flex your brain muscles.
Odyssey is the creation of The Young Socratics, “…an innovative educational program in Math and Science education, geared towards middle and high school students. [Whose] approach is to introduce concepts and their applications while interweaving them with relevant historical and philosophical perspectives related to their development. Currently [they] are focused on […] immersive science puzzle game Odyssey that teaches astronomy and mechanics from Early Greeks to Newton.”
One of the interesting incentives from their Kickstarter campaign was the option at $1,000 to buy into an Online, Personalized Science Course, the equivalent of semester-long college course on the history of science.
For all those with little ones, don’t worry, you’ll enjoy this as well. I’ll admit that of all genres, mystery is what grabs me the most in my choice of games, so right away I was into the Myst-like lonely island. Since we are dealing in a game targeted towards school-age kids, the puzzles were mind-bending with most answers laying in wait inside of Kai’s journal which is chalked full of scientific crib notes.
The game left me with fond memories of sitting inside the library at recess like the nerd I am, and firing up the Tandy 1000. Kids (and parents) will be impressed with the set design as the developers didn’t skimp on the visuals or texturing. As a warning for those with a predilection to lose their lunch when things start to spin; the controls are highly sensitive on this, I found the camera spinning off to the side with only a small motion, so if you get motion-sick (like me) this may not be your idea of a fun learning environment.