Otti: The House Keeper
Developer: Maksym Vostruhin
Publisher: Ultimate Games
Genre: Puzzle, Tower Defense
Platform: Nintendo Switch (Also available PC)
Age Rating: PEGI 3
Release Date: 20/01/2021
A code was provided for review purposes.
Otti: The House Keeper has a simple concept with a take on the tower defence genre mixed with a few puzzle elements; you’re tasked with keeping thieves away from your treasure by placing various traps and fixtures to stop them reaching Otti at the very top of the map. There does seem to be a bit of confusion surrounding the title of the game. The console reads as “Otti House Keeper” whereas the Switch eShop page titles it “Otti: The House Keeper”. For the purpose of this review I’ll be using the latter.
Touch Screen is King
There is definitely a moral ambiguity to Otti, although you’re helping him keep thieves away from his treasure, judging from the small fractions of text you get at the start of each level it sounds like there may have been foul play on his part to begin with! You can play with a traditional control method or use the touch screen. I would definitely advise handheld as the optimised way to play with the touchscreen controls. Placing traps and interacting with the environment can be fiddly using Joy-Cons.
There are various different worlds featured throughout Otti: The House Keeper. Each new world implements new traps and alternative methods to dispose of thieves. Unfortunately, Otti: The House Keeper is by no means a long game. You can get through it in just a couple of hours depending on your skill level as I must admit a couple of the stages had me stumped in terms of how to place certain traps.
On Your Marks…Get Set…Trap!
There is a charm to the art style and the gameplay itself is easy to pick up. The thieves go through each environment ‘on rails’. You just need to place the traps strategically in a way that will dispose of their life bar before they reach Otti. Unfortunately, after a few levels, I found problems arose fairly swiftly. At times, when I had placed two traps down it would only register the first one as a “hit” to the thief. Also, there is a lot of trial and error with the later levels. Moreover, I found at one stage the thief just fell off the map after being hit with an arrow.
With each new world giving you new traps and some you have to physically tap or click on to activate, it wasn’t always clear how certain elements worked because the descriptive text did not make a lot of sense to the reader. These are quite minor faults that give the game a lack of polish. At the end of each stage, you’re able to collect any treasure to boost your gold count and get a three-star rating, this didn’t provide any challenge as you’re simply tapping the environment.
The traps worked well the majority of the time and it is very handy to be able to just retry each map at the tap of a button, however when you’re trying to drag the screen around using the touch screen it just does not work as expected and is incredibly slow. I found myself having to use the touchscreen to place the traps, hitting the ‘play’ icon to start the thieves going and then if I needed to pan whilst they were on the move I would use the right analogue stick which just feels completely daft in all honesty.
All That Glitters Isn’t Always Gold
It’s not all doom and gloom for Otti; there are a small fraction of safes you come across at the start of each map and these take you into box-like puzzles. You have to use the analogue sticks to twist the box and manipulate the small key to the lock. I found this to be a nice break from the usual gameplay, I just wish there was more!
Overall I found Otti: The House Keeper to be a fun distraction for a little while but with its confusing dialogue and clunky trap setting it falls short. There’s little challenge to be had. I managed to complete the entire game with three stars on each map on my first playthrough. Moreover, unless you happen to miss a piece of treasure there’s little reason to replay this title.
Rapid Reviews Rating
2 out of 5
You can purchase Otti: The House Keeper on the Nintendo eShop.
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