Why I bought Octomania and now give it a top rating:
I was going to rent Octomania, but decided for $20 it was worth the risk to buy it (why spend $5 plus renting the game when it only cost $20 to begin with); now, I'm glad I purchased it. I enjoy puzzle video games especially games I can play against someone in home or on-line and at $20 although Octomania is not a perfect puzzle game; it is very good game, perfect for the value, and best puzzle game on Wii yet.
Why you would buy Octomania:
If you like puzzle games and you have a Wii, you owe it to yourself to pick up this budget title for only $20.
Why you wouldn't buy it:
If you don't like puzzle games, can't get past whimsically bizarre game play, characters, graphics, and story line and don't like to play games versus others in home and online; do not buy Octomania.
Who can play?
Anyone that has decent control of the Wiimote (you have no problem moving the Wiimote cursor on the Wiichannel menus and pressing the A button to select a desired option or type out a name on the Wiikeypad), can differentiate colors, and understand the total number of octopi a net requires can play this game with a little practice.
How to start:
Start out by playing the tutorials each a couple of times then start playing any mode at the easiest setting. This will give you an understanding of the game in terms of both control and game play to be able to move on to more difficult settings and get better as a player.
My take on the game play:
I purchased the game the day it came out and my wife and I played the tutorial for half an hour then started playing. The game is fast paced and involves using the Wiimote to move the square cursor on your screen to grab octopi and put them into numbered nets.
The square cursor can surround 4 octopi at a time; to move an octopus from one corner to one of the three other corners of the square cursor, you press the A button on the Wiimote at the same time dragging the square cursor towards a net with movement of the Wiimote.
Placing the correct number of same color octopi in the net causes the net to disappear and the octopi to form an octopi ink mist string that represents the space the octopi were at. Touching other octopi of the same color or sea urchins (only way to get rid of sea urchins) to the octopi ink mist will cause it to grow (mist takes place of where the octopi/sea urchin were at when they touch the mist string) and for every octopi that dissolves to ink/mist causes your opponent (computer or player) to have that number of sea urchins to deal with on their screen (playing field).
The person that manages to keep their screen from entirely filling up with octopi/sea urchins wins. Sound strange? It is a little strange, and not overly easily to describe (I tried to simplify and didn't mention all the game play/controls), but it does make for fun fast paced competition.
As a puzzle video game:
Early on when just starting a game and at lower difficulty settings, there isn't much strategy or `puzzle' involved with Octomania; the game play is more about who can control the octopi fastest, get them in the nets and attach octopi/sea urchins to the string of octopi mist faster than their opponent. That aspect (speed) never disappears in the game play, but at higher difficulty levels and later when your screen/playing field fills up with more and more octopi/sea urchins more strategy and `puzzle' thinking is required.
For instance, it would be easier to grab the 3 octopi of the same color that are very close to the net that requires 3 octopi, but it would be a mistake if you have only a few of that same color on screen and have many more of a different color octopi on the screen that happen to be further away.
Also the movement of the octopi takes strategy and thought especially when you have to fit more than a few octopi into a net (it is easy to fit a few in a net, but difficult when having to move 4 or more as placement and movement into position becomes a problem).