Kodama


dancemonkeyKodama, or Tama for short, is a quirky little ball-toss game that had me quickly hooked, and it wouldn't let me go until I had conquered its final challenge... with extreme prejudice.

tama.gifThe gameplay is simple: you toss a little metal coin into a red or blue scoring area, while avoiding the black areas that will cost you one of your four lives. The screen is divided into two fields: a green field from where you grab the coin and toss, and the little maze-like area that you need to toss the coin into.

The first two levels are so simple that you literally can't fail, but after that the difficulty ramps up. It's usually fairly easy (with a couple devious exceptions) to get the coin into the 100-point red zones, but the 500-point blue zones are arranged to maximize your risk of failure.

I played this game for hours upon hours over a couple of days before finally beating level 20, which is the final level. I was obsessed with completing it from almost the first moment I played.

The graphics are simple to the point of being crude, but that doesn't affect gameplay at all. Games like this live or die on the strength of their physics, and the physics in this game seem spot-on. The coin does pretty much exactly what you expect it to do every time. Once you've played for a while, you'll know if the toss is good or not the moment you release it.

There are only four sound effects in the game: two scoring sounds, a sound for failure (think "You've all overbid!" on The Price is Right), and the soft clink of metal on metal as the coin bounces on the walls. There's a subtle effect here too: the ricochet sound's pitch and volume change based on the speed of the coin... a nice, realistic touch.

My only small frustration with the game is the finite number of chances you get to win. You may find yourself (like me) playing through many times because of stupid mistakes or bad mouse movements. I would have appreciated either a certain number of chances per level, or perhaps even ramping up the difficulty all around and giving you infinite tries to finish.

Enjoy Kodama.

PS: I strongly recommend checking out other games from the same site, which as far as I can tell is simply titled Game (going up several levels to the ultimate root site leads you to Cool & Warm, a Japanese "Game and Design Company"). The games run the gamut from strange to inspired to inscrutable. They're all original, all well-produced, and all fun.

44 Comments

Pretty mad, but a bit addictive. I found it hard (at least with my ball-free mouse) to control the coin - it didn't always have the velocity of the throw. Still, good fun.

My hatred for level 8 is overflowing. I have a sinking feeling that I will fail even more on later levels.

Really though, this is an excellent game. I sense an obsession coming on. =D

Oh, is anyone else having trouble remembering to let go before it hits the light green part? I keep expecting it to just sail away and then I hit my head on the table when it just drops back in.

I have just realised that my problem is that I'm letting go of the mouse button rather than letting it go.

I feel remarkably stupid now. Yay.

That was quite addictive, it tantalizes you by showing you that the goal is just within reach, it is jus throwing the coin that you have to take into effect.

think in the same terms you might with mini golf

I enjoyed the effect that gravity had and overall it was quite enjoyable.

really good game, i just hate how you have to start from the very beginning after you lose all of your 3 lives...

it destroyed the game for me.

Cheers for another simple yet fun game. And the little "dink-dink" sounds are quite nice. Good find my monkey friend.

Criminy!

I lost about an hour of today playing this game. Very nice. :)

On level 8,

throw it with some pace at an angle pointing at about 8 o'clock... most of the time it will bounce off that back panel towards the right and into the red.

Here is a couple hints for getting enough speed on launch:

There is no need to unclick after dragging, it will automatically get launched when you hit the light green area.

You can make the game the size of your browser by visiting http://effects.if.tv/gm/tama/tama.swf . I normally wouldn't give it out, but you have the link to his/her list of other games (after the P.S. in the review), there are no advertisements on his/her site, and once you've loaded the other game, you aren't wasting any of his/her bandwith.

This is a nice addicting game... the farthest I could make it was level 17, mainly because I lose most of my continues on level 8, and 14 (14 is easily the hardest level so far.)

By the way, the Japanese text at the beginning says "kodama." Dama means ball, but I'm not sure what the ko is for, I think the filename (tama.swf) is just a short name, since tama also means ball in Japanese.

Aggravatingly addicting!

So far I've made it to 19 -- once. Level 18 is IMHO, too much chance to have that late in the game. Level 5 is also poorly designed in much the same way (not much skill, just chuck the coin and hope it doesn't go into the black).

My favorites are levels 12 and 17 -- a good deal of skill is involved for each. Level 10 is one of the most interesting.

My proudest accomplishment: having gotten the coin into every blue pit I have encountered up through Level 18 (not all in the same game, but at some point).

I'll take another thousand or so cracks at it tomorrow.

Uh... where did the name "Tama" come from?

The title screen says "kodama."

why o why do people have to put in the concept of "lifes"... I don't find it any fun if you fail on say level 6 to start on level 1 again, and again, why can't it just continue, and for high score count the numbers of "outs" used or such....

Ok.... so I can't play this game.

I am hardly able to pick up enough speed with the coin to get through level 2... let alone level 3.

I click and hold on the coin. then try to toss it in the maze. I tried releasing while tossing, I tries holding till it releases on it's own... and it just makes a little feeble arc, and fall down.

This happens in both I.E. and Firefox.

Any tips?

This is fun!
On my latest go I got to level fifteen without dying, then lost all my lives there. Nicer graphics would have been good, but I still like this one a lot.

Oh, and it feels much better if you use a tablet. :D

And you should listen to bowlofnoodles! Bowlofnoodles is telling the truth.

Quite frustrating having to do the early levels again every time you die, but that's how this game works... It's also very hard to play with a laptop!

The Ko in Kodama possibly means "Small" making "Small Ball", but "Kodama" as a whole is a type of forest spirit. The little rock things in "Princess Mononoke" were Kodama.

Well I lost on level 10 or something and I never bothered starting again....

If you want the ball to go fast, then hold the ball, bring it up to the opening, and while still holding the ball, just move the cursor as quickly as you can out of the green area.

That's how I've been throwing it.... Well, back to RayHound :)

Thank you all for the translation of this game's correct and full name, I've updated the entry's title to reflect that. Still, I don't believe the shortened "Tama" is incorrect to refer to this game, as the URL and filename of the game indicate. It seems the Japanese are used to affectionately shortening names to make them easier to say, perhaps? For example: Pocket Monsters = Pokemon.

Anyways, an excellent review from, dancemonkey, the newest addition to our growing JIG/CG review staff. =)

neat...
nice bounce physics...

I found the idea interesting, but have to agree with Deadl0ck about the controls being annoying and difficult. Level 3 was all I managed to reach.

i hate theis game!! no offense jay. and whoever made it. its just SUPER ANNOYING!!!

I've been playing this came for 2 days straight....and I JUST NOW beat it.

-_-

A sour game for all those high-score nuts ;)

This game rocks, I've played it for a long time. The simple mechanics but repeated fun make it a classic I will keep coming back to.

Is 8800 a perfect score?

Oh, and the reference to The Price is Right is accurate but misplaced - the game plays like Plinko on a lot of levels, with exactly the same amount of luck.

I still can't figure out how to get the 500 above level 6.

First time doing it got to 10!11 is so hard ! lol

How do you beat level 15??? Ughhh

Quite possibly the most annoying game on JIG.

ARGH! I seem to always get stuck at level 15/16 and I've only seen level 17 twice... after two days of playing. This game is infuriating. <:(

1500 on my first try, at stage 13

Oh my goodness. I half wish I hadn't just discovered this game! Between this, Zwok and Dolphin I won't be leaving my computer! Groan... (with a smile)

good game, but level 8 s*cks

oh my god. im so disappointed. i have been playing the game for 4 days all day every day while I'm at work. I have been like obesessed with it wanting to beat it so bad. I was so excited when I got to level 20 to see what happened when I was finished, and it was the exact same thing as all the times I played it and lost.

also, it wasn't fun starting over every time you died, instead of the blue spaces being worth 500 pts. they should have given you another life or something. who really cares about points anyway?

AAAAH! On level 12, I think it was, mine bounced away from the black part, then hit the wall of green and ricocheted INTO THE BLACK

This game is incredibly frustrating, but I keep coming back...grr... I've noticed, though, that using a trackball or a mouse makes a BIG difference. The trackball gives the coin amazing speed...so much so that level 7 was always super difficult, but with the mouse, you really have to move to get any speed at all, making level 8 a challenge.

Easy way to make the coin go fast

Hold left mouse button on coin and hold at launch point. Right click. Move mose in general direction you want the coin to go. Left click. Watch coin go very fast.

.

Forgot to add Results may vary.

Ahahahahaahahaaaahhhhha. It took me a month, but I finally beat this game. *insert slightly manic laughter*

Ok. Now I have negative excuses for not writing this paper. Er...

dang it... i still can't beat this game! i find myself lucky if i pass level 12. i actually made it to level 18 today! (i'm afraid of 19 and 20...) anyway, this game really is addictive! strangely enough, thanks to jay's description, i honestly play this game with a price-is-right plinko mentality. c'mon, go for the $10k! this truely is fantastic entertainment!

and as for the rest of the games on the site, they truely are great. check them out! i always find the time to play the digging bunny game and the oyster game. they're great stuff. thanks massive, jay!

to make the ball go fast

move the ball to the right side of the screen and then move your mouse to the left side of the screen

How do you pass level 18?

WALKTHROUGH

Level 1: So simple just drop the coin into the playing field and watch it drop in the red.
Level 2: Throw the coin at a gentle speed upwards. The red pit is closest to the coin area, and the green pit is at the other end at the top.
Level 3: Fling your coin as fast as possible, and it should avoid the black pit at the bottom and go into the red pit at the top.
Level 4: Hurl your coin upwards to the left. The red is all the way to the left, the green is to the right of the red pit. No black pits.
Level 5: Move the coin A LITTLE BIT up, and iit should reach the red in the top right, or the green in the top left. Use too much force, and the coin bounces back to its area. Don't use enough force, and you'll fall into the black pit in the bottom left.
Level 6: SLOWLY drop the coin down the slant. Go too slow, and the coin goes back down. Go too fast, and the black pit eats the coin. At the bottom, the red pit falls to the left, and the green pit to the right.
Level 7: Use a gentle speed for the coin to go up the ramp. Go slow, and the coin bounces off the wall. Go fast, and the coin goes into the black. The two red pits fall in the bottom right area. Only go for the green pit if you're a true gambler.
Level 8: Use a gentle speed for the coin to bounce off of the back wall and go in the red. Go too slow, and the coin will take the wall literally and bounce off of it poorly, causing the coin to fall in the black. Go too fast, and the coin ignores the wall completely, and the coin melts into the black.
Level 9: Fling your coin in exactly the same way as Level 3, if you wanna play it safe and go in the red. If you're a real gambler, go slower, and go in the green. But do NOT go too slow, or you'll fall in the first black pit. Go too fast, and you'll fall in the big black pit.
Level 10: Tilt the coin down slowly, and the coin goes into the red. Do it as fast as you can if you wanna go for the green pit at the end. Otherwise, the red pit is ignored, and you'll only clear either just one black pit, or none at all.
Level 11: Slowly move the coin up into the red. The green pit is in a catwalk. If your coin touches it, and misses the pit, just hope it falls to the RIGHT. Then you'll fall in the red and still be safe. If it falls to the LEFT, you'll fall in the black.
Level 12: Throw the coin down to the red pit at the bottom right. Higher up is the green pit. Stay away from the black pit in the bottom left.
Level 13: Slowly move the coin into the red or green pit on the right. Go too fast, then be lucky if your coin goes around the loop. The black pit is in the bottom left.
Level 14: If you're a true gambler, go low with an upward slant into the green. Go too low, and you'll fall in the black. Or go try the red pit. Go medium-high around the loop and into the red. Go too high, and you'll fall into the black pit at the very top.
Level 15: A giant black pit is at the bottom. A red pit is to the left of it. Another red pit falls to the right. The green pit is in the top left, next to the other black pit. Aim STRAIGHT down if you wanna go for the first red pit; Aim vertically leaning a little to the left for the second red pit; for the green pit, aim straight to the left with maximum force.
Level 16: Throw the coin quickly. If it bounces off the sidewall, you'll fall in the green. Otherwise, it falls to the red. Go too slow, and you'll be in the black.
Level 17: Throw the coin at a gentle speed if you'll go hardcore and go down to the green. Or go up into the red. Do NOT go straight to the left, or you'll touch the black pit.
Level 18: Throw the coin up into the red pit, or be tough and go straight into the green. But the black pit connects with the green, so it's tough.
Level 19: The green and red pits are in the left. The black pit falls to the bottom. Go quickly.
Level 20: The green pit is in the top left, between TWO black pits. Two more gaurd the two red pits below. For the green pit, aim to the northwest degree angle, but don't go too slow or fast or you'll fall into either of the black pits. For the red pits, one touches the ground, and a black pit is next to it. Aim a LITTLE faster than usual to land in it. For the other red pit, aim a slant upwards. Don't go too fast, or you'll fall in the black.

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