Oddworld: Soulstorm is a beautiful platformer that couldn’t

Stylish continuation of an unusual and interesting series, almost killed by unresponsive controls and bugs

Oddworld is a series of quite different games, united by one world. Moreover, the name of the series is telling, because this world is really unusual, even if it reminds us in some way of ours. While different stories will be different for the player in different episodes, and the protagonists are very different, Oddworld’s main storyline is believed to be set out in platformers about Abe’s adventures. This is a representative of a cute alien race of Mudokons in its own way, which is almost entirely enslaved by another people – the Glukkons. The latter, in principle, are not able to think about anything other than money, so the life of the mudokons is very bitter. Abe manages to raise a rebellion at one of the factories, where he works together with many fellow tribesmen. Having freed them, the hero flees somewhere in the barren wasteland, trying to get away as far as possible from the malevolent Glukkons and their minions. But his troubles, of course, do not end there.

The first part of the series, Oddworld: Abe’s Oddyssey, was devoted to the story of the liberation and flight of the mudokons, and the next year it had a sequel, Abe’s Exoddus. But if you think that Soulstorm is the third part of the same plot, then you are mistaken. In fact, as stated by Lorne Lanning, Oddworld’s main ideologist, Abe’s Exoddus was never a true sequel and was a “bonus game” outside of the canon. But Soulstorm – and there is a real continuation of the original plot, which partially overlaps with Exoddus. How did it come about?

Like Exoddus, Soulstorm begins in the camp of Abe’s followers, who celebrate their liberation violently. But the old shaman warns the hero that this is not the end of the path, but only the very beginning. His case is confirmed almost immediately, because the camp is attacked by henchmen of the Glukkons, and Abe and his friends have to flee again, embarking on a journey that will open their eyes to some of the unintended consequences of the revolution they organized.

We must give the game its due: at first, it literally enchants. Oddworld has always had great visual design, and now it still looks much sharper, richer and more beautiful. Not a game, but a feast for the eyes. The fact that the camera does not hang strictly to the side of the hero, as it was in the original, adds to the spectacularity, but periodically takes quite spectacular plans. The basic gameplay also elicits a very warm response from the outset. Seems in this stealth-platformer with puzzles something cozy, so even some awkwardness of management you forgive him, thinking: “Yes, that’s how everyone did in the late nineties.”

One of the main mechanics of Oddyssey and Exoddus is also in place – the rescue of the mudokons. At each level there are several tribesmen who languish in captivity or bend their backs in bondage to the Glukkons. With the help of a simple communication system (literally two commands: “Follow me!” And “Stop!”), You are required to bring the unfortunates to a special teleport that will take them to a safe place. There are many dangers to overcome, and it is even more difficult to do this in a group than solo.

Finally, Abe’s signature trick has not gone anywhere: the ability to take most enemies under control. Here you can literally get into the head of one of the armed opponents and make him crumble his own comrades or pull some lever inaccessible to you. The mechanics are quite simple, but funny, although not always available, because at many points in the levels there are special devices that block mind control.

Some (though not particularly numerous) innovations in the gameplay are also encouraging. So, a whole crafting system appeared in Soulstorm. Thanks to her, you can, for example, create smoke grenades that allow you to hide for a short time from vigilant sentries, as well as stun mines and some other makeshift gadgets. You will have to use them quite actively, because there are a lot of enemies in the game, they are all either toothy or well-armed, and fighting with them is not a good idea. You have to hide, cut down on the sly and tie (not forgetting to search the pockets, which may also contain materials for crafting).

You may have already noticed that almost every praise of Soulstorm we have accompanied by caveats “at first” and “first time”. Unfortunately, this is not just the case. The fact is that the closer the finale is, the less the game entertains and the more infuriates. First of all, the already mentioned awkward management begins to bother. Over the years, we’ve gotten used to platformers whose characters are responsive to every stick move and button press. Abe, unfortunately, is not like that. Sometimes you need to take several approaches in order to even just climb a ledge or rummage through one of the many lockers in which crafting materials are stored.

Oddly enough, it could be quite forgiven if the game kept the leisurely pace set at the beginning. But at some point its developers for some reason decided that Soulstorm needed action-moments, and here they, alas, seriously miscalculated. When the game requires you to quickly and accurately perform complex actions, while not allowing normal control of the character, it looks like a form of mockery. Such is, for example, an episode when you need to deal with armed pursuers as quickly as possible on several floors of the same level in a row, so that several hundred of your friends can get to a safe place. A lot of suffering out of the blue – and nothing else.

Gradually, the action becomes more and more, and it causes more and more serious problems. Moreover, in Soulstorm the trouble is not only with the management – it is also full of bugs. For example, Abe may well refuse to cling to another ledge at the most crucial moment and, poking into it with a frail little body, limply fly into the abyss. Welcome to the last checkpoint! The flamethrower, which appears towards the end of the game, sometimes for some reason refuses to set fire to enemies, although you direct the flame directly at them. While you are trying to figure out what is happening, a rocket comes in response. And she already finds your hitbox without any problems.

Your enemies also glitch from time to time. One of them may, say, stop in place, staring into the void instead of patrolling the level, wandering back and forth. Sometimes this makes the task easier, and sometimes on the contrary makes the passage almost impossible. At some point, you even stop understanding which problems are caused by bugs, and which are dubious decisions when creating a game. And that, of course, is no good at all.

Even crafting is kind of weird. In another game, the ability to design different tools would be used to create variability so that the player has to manage resources wisely and think creatively. There are vending machines at every turn that give you ingredients for free. As if the developers themselves understood that without a certain gadget the next segment could not be passed in any way, and instead of thinking about the conditions of the problem that the player has to solve, they chose the simplest and most boring way out of the situation.

And the appearance of new recipes very soon ceases to please, because most of them are tools you already have, only slightly modified. Long-lasting smoke exhauster; a ball that knocks out enemies, but a little more lethal. Boredom and nothing more.

Soulstorm shows the beginnings of a very good game, but its two main problems are bugs and the fact that the developers themselves did not quite understand what they wanted to achieve. It could be quite a solid stealth platformer, but instead for some reason it was stuffed with action scenes, forgetting to make the normal controls. And numerous mistakes complete the already depressing picture. It’s a shame, because we’ve always liked Oddworld, and the first half of Soulstorm seemed promising. But – not destiny.


by Abdullah Sam
I’m a teacher, researcher and writer. I write about study subjects to improve the learning of college and university students. I write top Quality study notes Mostly, Tech, Games, Education, And Solutions/Tips and Tricks. I am a person who helps students to acquire knowledge, competence or virtue.

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