The game also takes of advantage of the GCN microphone (included with most versions of the game), which you use to command your troops. You must use the commands and pinball skills to successfully lead the Ninten Bell to its destination before sunset in each mission.
Using the L+R buttons to control the flippers, the X button to activate the microphone, and the control stick to tilt the battlefield, the controls in Odama are quite simple for today's standards. In each mission, you, representing the Yamanouchi clan, try to bring the clan's powerful treasure, the Ninten Bell, as well as the Odama, closer to the Karasuma Keep, headed by the man who betrayed the founder of the Yamanouchi clan. It is there you will exact revenge for his betrayal. Notably, the game features a narrator that talks about the story in Japanese, but there are English subtitles.
The basic goal of each mission is to guide the bell from the bottom to the top of the screen, mowing down the members of the opposing army with the Odama, as well as killing them with your own soldiers. It is important that they are killed because, if they reach your side of the screen, they will make the flippers inactive for a relatively long period of time. When all Odamas are lost or the sun sets, you fail the mission. In addition, you learn commands for your soldiers as you progress through the game. Using these commands, you'll be able to more effectively control your soldiers in many ways. For example, by saying, "press forward," your troops will use all of their strength to try and plow through enemy soldiers. These commands are not only very useful, but in many cases, are vital to your success.
However, use of certain commands and reckless use of the Odama drains your Morale Bar. When this bar is low, your troops will stop responding to your commands, which can and will be disastrous to your mission.
There are also items that the Odama can pick up along the way to aid you. Most notably is one that allows the Odama to convert all members of the opposing army over to yours when it rolls them over.
In merging all of these elements, Odama is a very fast, difficult, and frenzied title. Although it is a pinball game at its core, the voice commands, power-ups, and storyline throw it into a league of its own.