Taking part in Oddworld: Soulstorm is as arduous as Abe’s quest to liberate his Mudoken brethren from slavery. Every step is a supreme check of endurance as you methodically information your followers by way of difficult hazards, sweating over the truth that one slip-up might unravel all of your effort. In the event you get pleasure from placing up with that old-school problem, you would possibly love this journey. Nevertheless, for those who’re a newcomer or a fan that believes this fashion of platformer hasn’t aged very effectively, flip again now. Soulstorm doesn’t do sufficient to modernize the collection’ tedious gameplay, and a litany of extreme technical hiccups spoil Abe’s tried comeback.
A reimagining of Oddworld: Abe’s Exoddus, Soulstorm’s gameplay stays largely the identical: you recruit and information followers by way of 2D platforming phases suffering from risks. As charming because the basic Oddworld video games are, they are often frustratingly tough and that hasn’t modified a lot in Soulstorm. Most Slig enemies and different hazards mow Abe down immediately, and I used to be infuriated by how little wiggle room I needed to right course when issues went sideways. Abe drops so quick that it makes the well being meter look like a merciless tease. Whereas taking part in Soulstorm, I usually felt like I used to be strolling on eggshells due to that prime worth of failure, retracing each step, re-recruiting each Mudokon, and thoroughly guiding them by way of a gauntlet of foes is soul-crushing when all of it falls aside in seconds. Dying to surprising perils, like being out of the blue gunned down by off-screen enemies, feels low cost and occurs manner too usually.
A crafting system serves as Soulstorm’s greatest addition, nevertheless it doesn’t really feel needed. You will need to repeatedly collect the identical elements each time you die (by looking lockers, trash cans, and fallen foes), which wore me down in a rush after repeatedly replaying sure sections. The crafted instruments themselves, like proximity mines, smoke screens, even a flamethrower, do add a welcomed aspect of flexibility and improvisation to gameplay. Dropping smoke screens to create hiding spots anyplace is good, however I wanted I didn’t should make this stuff myself and grew uninterested in digging across the identical spots again and again.
Even when Soulstorm’s issue eases up, the gameplay is bland. The motion feels largely the identical from earlier video games within the collection, and that formulation doesn’t evolve considerably past the primary few hours. Even the extra attention-grabbing sequences, like dealing with down a large mech aboard a dashing prepare, are far too punishing to be enjoyable. I’m glad that Abe controls higher now (he even has a double leap), however inputs nonetheless have a mushy unresponsiveness that makes entertaining actions, like possessing Sligs, really feel like a trouble. The controls additionally result in further deaths as a result of Abe doesn’t act as swiftly as you want him to, particularly in the course of the ill-fitting, overly demanding fight arenas that pit you in opposition to waves of baddies whilst you attempt to defend fleeing Mudokens.
Soulstorm could be a tricky suggestion for anybody exterior of diehard followers if it carried out flawlessly, however I encountered a number of progress-sabotaging bugs (even after putting in the massive day-one patch) that ought to scare off even these gamers. After I died, Mudokens generally didn’t respawn alongside me though my tally indicated they had been nonetheless alive and below my command. That meant I misplaced out on delivering followers that I’d spent ages making an attempt to soundly liberate, which negatively affected my total quarma – a significant metric in figuring out which of the 4 endings you get.
Abe sometimes will get caught in environmental geometry, forcing a restart. At one level, I fell into an infinite loop. One escape portal completely vanished as soon as I reached it, forcing me to desert followers. A gun in a late-game turret sequence didn’t shoot regardless of working superb in earlier segments. After a number of restarts, I randomly found that clicking the proper stick “mounted” the weapon for some purpose, permitting it to fireplace. I spent over an hour making an attempt to guide a big group of followers by way of a very difficult space, however as soon as I opened the exit door an invisible wall prevented me from transferring ahead. I used to be pressured to restart this whole, prolonged sequence twice earlier than the exit labored correctly. Soulstorm’s gameplay pushed my endurance to its limits, however these bugs despatched me over the sting and made me nervous each time I began a brand new stage. “What on Earth goes to screw me over this time?” I frequently requested myself.
Soulstorm’s faults are a disgrace as a result of its narrative and presentation introduced a smile to my face. Abe and his friends are goofy, pleasant underdogs I couldn’t assist however root for. The pleasurable story is full of coronary heart, and the cutscenes look nice. I needed to welcome Abe into a brand new era of gaming with open arms, however Soulstorm fails to make a case for why its model of cinematic platforming works at this time. In reality, Soulstorm solely reaffirmed that Abe’s previous adventures are finest considered with rose-colored glasses.