If you want to jump right into the subject of bizzare, an easy place to start is the art of clay animation. Consider the fantastic adventures of the iconic duo Gumby and Pokey, the wacky professor Wallace and his silent companion Grommit, or the still-beating heart of the Corpse Bride. Plasticine characters go hand-in-hand with the world of the surreal and, in this case, the Totally Odd. This surreal point-and-click puzzler is a test of your wit and will as you explore the treacherous chambers of the Horrificorp headquarters.
The controls and features are only as basic and bare-boned as necessary for a game of this genre. From the main menu you can select one of eight levels to play or replay, and reaching the door in one room will unlock the next level in the menu. The mouse is used for all purposes such as picking up items, zooming in to a certain area, or interacting with the environment. Figuring out what you can do in each level is a matter of dragging the cursor around the scene, but fortunately, the cursor icon changes to highlight hotspots and the levels are compact enough that the exploration process never becomes a cumbersome pixel hunt.
Don't let their lumpy Play Doh-like exteriors fool you... much of the seemingly innocuous scenery is actually a looming deathtrap. After you've been crushed, zapped, devoured, and impaled enough times, the quirky logic and esoteric clues sprinkled around each level will eventually start to click. Some levels include notes with hints or instructions that can occasionally be obscure or confusing, probably due to poor translation. However, most of the puzzles can be solved simply by trial-and-error and a little observation. Given the short length of each room and the relatively low difficulty, you can expect to take no more than 10 or 15 minutes to complete the entire game.
It doesn't take an expert to see the handcrafted clay models add a breath of life to what would have otherwise been a somewhat visually simplistic game. There is a deliberate lack of perfection apparent at even a casual glance... say, a pole that could easily have been set straight that curves and loops with smudges and bends. This distortion lends a dream-like quality to the game, while the subject matter seems more the stuff of nightmares. While stop-motion can sometimes look choppy or disjointed, the animations here flow seamlessly. Totally Odd packs together a great bundle of clever thinking and creative presentation. Don't let those three little words "trial-and-error" dissuade you from the thoroughly enjoyable gameplay. With a bit of persistence and patience, that "Ah-ha!" moment when you finally solve a tricky puzzle becomes all the more gratifying. If you're hungry for mental stimulation in a cute little wrapper with an unusual dash of spice, Totally Odd is the perfect brain food.