aka: Da Yu, Yoot Saito's Odama
Moby ID: 23284

Description official descriptions

Odama is a quirky pinball title set in feudal Japan. You are in control of a giant steel ball, called the Odama, which you use to crush the enemy army (and hopefully not your own soldiers) so that you have an easier time leading the Ninten Bell to its destination.

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.


  • 大玉 - Chinese spelling (simplified)

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Credits (GameCube version)

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Average score: 64% (based on 27 ratings)


Average score: 3.5 out of 5 (based on 14 ratings with 1 reviews)

Review of Odama

The Good
[This review regards an original copy of Odama running on GameCube.]

The Bad

The Bottom Line**
Odama is a game of violence, and, with uncommon coherence by its authors, also a violent game. Its premise, taking place in Japanese Middle Ages, depicts a typical story of war, betrayal honour and death, and quest for revenge. While the events aren't anything special, it is easy to perceive a deep will by the game authors, since hearing the narrator's voice. It takes a little time, even once the first level has begun and one has noticed the two flippers at the bottom of the screen, to get aware that Odama is a pinball game. Likely owing to the uproarious tumult and countless frantic enemies which invade the playing field and the player's sight and ears. There are explanations, also: the game is halted to do some training in a short tutorial; then it returns to actual action; then there is another tutorial; and so forth. Plenty of hints and instructions are provided to the player in early levels, and yet much is left unexplained, to the willpower of the learner. The Odama is the huge game's ball, the first of the two of Yamanouchi family's legendary weapons: it hits and dispatches both one's and enemy soldiers, collects bonuses, and, when reaching related objects, triggers events: stops the flow of a river, dismantles an enemy tower, makes objects required to make the exit accessible capable of being collected, and so forth. Once available, items are gathered issuing the related command by voice, as Odama comes with a non-optional microphone set to be attached to the gamepad. Levels begin with soldiers leaving their camp, some of them carrying a ponderous bell, the other Yamanouchi family's special resource, the Ninten-bell: the task is for the troops to bring the Ninten-bell to the exit. It is the player, by his vocal commands, to guide the soldiers who carry the Ninten-bell to the exit, to make them withdraw, slay enemies, go take an item.

There is a time limit to respect; defeat also comes from losing all Odama (lives); a morale bar decreasing at any mistake will lead troops start disobeying if very low; and, well, enemy fortifications respawn when the ball hits some points in the scenario (placed to grant it to be easy they get hit, obviously), enemy reinforcements flow endlessly (even though in some scenarios this can be impeded by hitting very hard-to-reach points) to the battlefield; the morale bar can be boosted by throwing a rice ball to soldiers, yet it'll not too seldom happen that those who enjoy the rice will be the enemies, and…

Even without seeing the bewildering struggle on screen, the reader is perhaps starting to be suspicious of this game's difficulty. I add that, as it is customary for games developed with will and care and not mainstream oriented, there is only one difficulty setting, and furthermore game automatically saves once every battle ends, be it with victory or defeat — there are unlimited continues, however. And I assure that Odama is more exacting a challenge than one guesses reading a description of its gameplay. Even tilting in this game is a challenge in itself: that it is allowed unlimitedly may appear as an help on the surface, whereas in effect tilting is nearly an obligation and it hardens the game in no minor measure than eases it. It beyond question takes more than average gaming abilities, together with abundant headstrongness, to be able to seriously play Odama; this game, by a manifest decision of its author, is not playable by most of videogame audience.

Gameplay's mainspring is cool-mindedness, precision in shooting the ball, and the patient determination to discover and comprehend each map's characteristics, little and big secrets and byways. Everything hinges on the very thin line separating courage, which is constantly required, from imprudence, which is costantly punished. It is duty for such a challenging game to be as exacting in regards to itself as it is to the player: under this aspect, Odama is impeccable. Controls — that are not customisable, and do not need to be — are designed and implemented flawlessly; vocal orders are received awesomely well. Each level is genuinely a new one, the design of it revolving about a challenge that differs from every previous and successive one in substance; details are mindfully placed and deeply considered till the tiniest of them. Graphics and sound are praiseworthy in both technical execution and — more essential far and away — art. Odama's world takes short time to have the player immersed in its boisterous, restless, merciless struggle. Colours are intense, hues finely chosen, Japanese drawing refined. It all contributes to an atmosphere as involving as well designed is the gameplay, as individual as hard is the game

It appears objectionable to estrange such a distinguished game from the good part of players by a harsh degree of challenge, nevertheless it is to be noted that difficulty is a subjective quality, Odama is a work art, art's heart lies in coherency — the less expedient and comfortable of all virtues —, and coherency demands the logical relationship between a game's settings and theme and its difficulty to be respected. Odama's harshness coincides with Odama's narration: it consistently contributes to provide the feel of events on screen. War is made of fear, cries and fury, foreseeable and unforeseeable misfortunes, and death: surviving is an heroic accomplishment. So it is here. Death — emblemised by the huge Odama — is exceptionlessly triumphant, as the only real ruler: even most successfully cleared levels see numerous soldiers of both sides perish. Aside from his certainly extraordinary difficulty rate, Odama, for those who can play it, belongs to the category of games one feels with certainty will remain as an intense remembrance.

GameCube · by yenruoj_tsegnol_eht (!!ihsoy) (2587) · 2014


Odama was created by Yoot Saito, the man behind the infamous Seaman for the SEGA Dreamcast, which allowed you to raise fish with human-like faces and conduct conversations with them.

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Related Sites +

  • Odama
    Official game website

Identifiers +

  • MobyGames ID: 23284


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Contributors to this Entry

Game added by ModestMr.Green.

Additional contributors: Unicorn Lynx, Sciere, Lampbane.

Game added August 2nd, 2006. Last modified November 8th, 2023.