If you’ve by no means performed an Oddworld recreation and seen the way it all comes collectively, then you definitely’ll in all probability be horrified to study that virtually all of Oddworld: Soulstorm is one big escort quest. Not solely that, however the followers you’re escorting don’t have the brains God promised a goat, are gruesomely killed by something that a lot as sneezes at them, and complain practically continually – and all of this has been completed by the builders on function. The problem of this uncommon motion-platformer is in holding these hopelessly ineffective creatures alive by way of more and more lethal ranges through trial and lots of, many, many errors.
Though it may be infuriating at instances, the genius of the Oddworld sequence is within the moments simply after I or my followers have been met with a completely avoidable loss of life and I can’t assist however facepalm and snicker earlier than making an attempt once more. Your lemming-like followers will thoughtlessly dive straight into lethal obstacles, take approach too lengthy to stroll by way of an space that requires exact timing to outlive, and do virtually nothing to defend themselves when attacked. You are shepherd to the world’s dumbest flock of sheep, which is usually entertaining and virtually at all times enormously difficult.Oddworld: Soulstorm is a floor-up remake of 1998’s Oddworld: Abe’s Exoddus that reimagines the extremely weird setting that’s Oddworld. But the remake stays simply as diabolically troublesome as video games of the PS1 period: every stage finds a brand new strategy to imperil the lives of you and your followers in a devious check of your cleverness, creativity, and endurance. One space would possibly require you to sneak previous armed guards who you’d don’t have any hope of difficult in open fight, whereas one other asks you to maintain waves of enemies busy lengthy sufficient for tons of of your followers to run away.
Soulstorm’s single act of mercy – and its saving grace – is its checkpoint system, which saves your progress after nearly every obstacle. Minimizing the amount of tough challenges you’ll have to replay does wonders towards your ability to laugh it off when you get maimed by an armed guard or get a dozen followers killed by wandering into a trap. Repeated failure with minimal risk allows you to master each section and devise the perfect strategy for overcoming the latest hurdle with you and your followers intact. The drawback is that the checkpointing system doesn’t allow you to manually save whenever you want, which leads to some annoying sections where you have to re-loot an area and re-craft all your weapons after every single death. That eats up a ton of game time and gets old really fast.The main tool you have at your disposal, though, is Abe’s awesome signature ability to possess enemies and use them as meat puppets against the enemy. You can make possessed enemies kill their friends, or help you solve a puzzle, or straight-up explode just to get them out of your way. That’s a really great way to give you an edge against the enormous odds that are stacked against you. Soulstorm is a bit stingy with how often you’re able to actually use your shamanistic powers, though, because the enemy places anti-chant devices all over the place that’ll give you a zap if you try to possess anything. Then again, it probably wouldn’t make for much of a challenge if they didn’t.
The worst sections are when you’re forced to rely on your followers to assist in combat, which is often an unmitigated disaster. Your incompetent allies are incredibly inconsistent, even when told to stand in one spot and manually equipped with the best weapons for the job. Slow to react and completely clueless, your mudokon friends often let themselves get killed without putting up any kind of fight and might just stand there with a blank expression while they watch a slig with a shotgun massacre a dozen of their friends. These sections are without a doubt my least favorite because they seemed to rely on complete luck, which had me roaring at the screen.
Whereas the legitimate challenge is an entertaining uphill struggle, there is also some unfortunate unintentional difficulty added in the form of bugs, and Soulstorm has a whole lot of them. In my playthroughs, I encountered everything from visual glitches to potentially game-breaking issues like my followers disappearing from the level altogether. In the vast majority of cases, backing out to the main menu and reloading the level or closing and relaunching Soulstorm fixed the issue, but bugs are so common it’s likely to increase your frustration in a game that revels in pushing you to the limit on purpose as it is.
In one instance, one of my followers refused to enter any portals and run towards freedom, meaning my otherwise-perfect run on a particularly challenging level was burned. In another, I wasn’t able to hear any dialogue during an end-of-level cutscene and had to replay the entire level to avoid missing the story. Sometimes certain enemies would just be immune to my attempts to damage them for no reason. The list goes on and on. Developer Oddworld Inhabitants is aware of many bugs and has already released a few updates to address some of these issues, but with so many bugs to squash it’s clear Soulstorm would have benefitted from a little more polish (as is the case with many games developed in the era of COVID-19).
Oddworld: Soulstorm Screenshots
Of course, you could always just say “screw it” and push by way of every stage with out saving anybody, however doing so will inevitably result in an early finish to your journey with a finale that’s fully miserable (and nicely-deserved, you egocentric monster). There are 4 endings in whole: the worst ending, the dangerous ending, the great ending, and the most effective ending. The worst and greatest endings are merely small variations on the dangerous and good endings respectively, the latter which will be seen by solely essentially the most devoted gamers and the previous which honors those that are impressively terrible at holding their companions alive. The variations between the great and dangerous endings, although, are very vital. By mastering every stage and exploring each nook and cranny to rescue your entire enslaved brothers, you’re rewarded with two extra ranges on the finish of the marketing campaign and an ending that’s worthy of your onerous work and willpower. It’s an unimaginable incentive to maintain as a lot of your followers alive as attainable, and pushed me to shoot for a flawless completion in each stage.
Once you’ve performed by way of Soulstorm you unlock the power to replay ranges, which will be helpful in case you weren’t capable of attain the great ending in your first strive. The caveat right here is that you must beat a whole stage in a single sitting on a replay. This looks as if an intentional selection and could be effective if every little thing labored 100% of the time, however with tons of bugs – a lot of that are fastened by quitting out of the app or backing out into the primary menu – this implies a bug could cause you to lose a whole hour or extra of progress. Ouch.
One of the issues that makes Soulstorm fully definitely worth the absolute ache within the neck that its difficult ranges and quite a few bugs usually are is its story. The mudokon rebels are loveable, pitiable goofs, the facility-hungry glukkons are disgusting, opportunistic monsters, and the setting’s dystopian depiction of untethered capitalism and environmental destruction is exclusive, extremely distinctive, and hilariously macabre. Everything about Soulstorm is so charming and otherworldly it’s simple to get drawn into Abe’s journey from clueless slave to unlikely revolutionist, and as quickly because the credit rolled I discovered myself crossing my fingers for a (hopefully much less buggy) remake of Munch’s Oddysee within the close to future.
Controls have additionally been reworked from previous entries to be extra responsive and, though it may nonetheless use some extra work, the maneuverability you have got in Soulstorm is the most effective the sequence has seen. There are undoubtedly some areas needing enchancment, just like the hit-or-miss nature of your skill to mantle up ledges or swing from pole-to-pole throughout platforming sections, however it’s nonetheless evening and day in comparison with the clunkiness of Oddworld: New N’ Tasty. In explicit, the responsiveness of the double soar permits you to extra exactly navigate obstacles and survive the trove of lethal traps that await you in any given space.The weapons stock and crafting system is neatly designed and provides an enormous incentive to discover each nook and cranny seeking instruments that make the going simpler. For instance, you’ll be able to craft rubber stick balls to immediately apprehend virtually any enemy, however the useful resource value required to take action is kind of excessive. You may also craft sticky explosive grenades to blow open pathways to new areas and detonate enemies, or construct a flamethrower which makes the going a lot simpler in each stage.
The draw back is that you must begin from zero supplies firstly of every stage, which could be a little irritating after you simply spent the previous hour accumulating a full arsenal within the earlier one, however it’s comprehensible as a result of it controls the instruments you have got entry to in each stage so as to add some attention-grabbing challenges. For instance, firstly of 1 stage you would possibly solely have the provides wanted to craft smoke bombs, forcing you to make use of stealth alone to get by way of the world. Later on, if you collect extra provides and might craft completely different instruments, your choices for approaching the subsequent areas opens up fairly a bit.
Although most areas symbolize a large enchancment over Abe’s Exoddus, if there’s one space that would nonetheless use some work it’s Soulstorm sound design. Quite frankly, other than the superb voice appearing, Soulstorm is an auditory nightmare. For starters, the sound ranges are wildly inconsistent – generally voices are approach too quiet and sound results are approach too loud. Sometimes I may barely hear what was happening and would flip up the amount, just for issues to develop into earth-shatteringly loud a couple of moments later, which had me frantically grabbing for the distant management. Monkeying round with the audio ranges in settings doesn’t do a lot to enhance the scenario, since there’s little or no consistency in how loud any of the noise is.
Music can be scarce in Soulstorm, which means more often than not you’re listening to equipment clinking round within the background or canine-like creatures referred to as slogs barking continually (or whining for his or her lives after they’re killed, which made my pores and skin crawl). I used to be tempted to easily hit the mute button and spare me the unpleasantness, particularly throughout lengthy classes. For a remake that improves upon a lot that has outlined it previously, it’s disappointing that Soulstorm could be a actual headache to take heed to.