Oddworld: Soulstorm – Oddtimized Edition is the latest outing for the Oddworld series. This “Oddimized” edition hits the Nintendo Switch a year after making its way on to other platforms, promising to take advantage of the system’s specific configuration. Let’s see if it’s up to the challenge.
For those unfamiliar with the series and its order, Soulstorm is a refreshed version of the second Oddworld title, Abe’s Exoddus. It’s not a port or even a remake; it’s actually a reimagined take on the 1998 game and serves as a sequel to 2016’s Oddworld: New ‘n’ Tasty, itself a reimagining of the original Abe’s Oddysee. I reviewed the Wii U version at the time, and you can also check out Trev’s Switch review.
This sequel starts impressively, with a cinematic opening revisiting the outcome of the previous title via newspaper articles and dramatic music. As the movie-style credits flash past, we’re introduced to a pair of Mudokons aboard a train, desperately attempting to outrun robot enemies known as Sligs. As the tense scene unfolds, complete with voice acting, we soon discover Abe hiding on board, asking himself what to do next. It’s a great introduction into this dystopian sci-fi world.
Cut to 12 hours earlier. We join Abe and his fellow Mudokons in the nearby desert, celebrating their newfound freedom following the events of New ‘n’ Tasty. As Abe speaks with a mystic shaman, he’s told that “this moment is over”, and that the fate of his people rests with him. Suddenly, it’s time to play the role of Abe on the run again as their location is discovered and the creatures flee while under fire. Abe soon discovers a wounded Mudokon holding a mysterious package, marking the beginning of his next quest.
Soulstorm plays similarly to its predecessor, with tricky platforming sections dotted with puzzles. Abe has several abilities; he can double jump, run, sneak, collect and throw items, and chant. The return of this last ability is still the most useful, allowing Abe to overcome nearby enemies and control them. One notable absence is Abe’s penchant for, erm, flatulence, a humorous but otherwise useless ability. This is a darker, more serious outing, something which may or may not appeal to fans.
Like the first game, there are many tough sections. Unlike the first game, there are no selectable difficulty levels to manage expectations. Thankfully, copious save points are littered throughout the landscape, allowing for a quick respawn when Abe dies in one of many horrible ways. It doesn’t necessarily alleviate the frustration of some of those trickier sections, though.
The 2.5D action is presented with neat effects that bend and twist the perspective. The team has done a great job with the visuals, despite the dark dystopian theme. The cutscenes, in particular, are well rendered and movie-like in quality. I’m impressed with the overall feel, particularly on the Switch. It’s no secret that performance can suffer when games are haphazardly ported from other consoles, but it seems the developers took their time and made good with their promise to deliver an experience suited for the Switch.
Soulstorm features 15 levels (actually 17 if you can discover them all) and 4 alternate endings, providing a lengthier experience than its predecessor. Each level presents objectives, such as the number of survivors, how many secret areas discovered, and even your scavenger level (that’s how many trash bins you found and plundered). Leaderboards allow for competition, and the multiple endings are determined by your success in rescuing fellow Mudokons, making true completion quite challenging. In short, there’s a lot to do here, and you will be busy for many, many hours.
Overall, Oddworld: Soulstorm – Oddtimized Edition is a dark sequel to New ‘n’ Tasty, testing the titular Abe in a much bigger quest. The high-quality cinematic style is impressive, and the game plays well overall. It’s less humorous than the original, and it lacks that nostalgic factor fans of the ‘90s versions may have. In 2022, though, this is a challenging and entertaining platformer that will test your patience and prowess.
Review: Oddworld: Soulstorm – Oddtimized Edition (Nintendo Switch)
Oddworld: Soulstorm – Oddtimized Edition is a darker take that tests the titular Abe in a much bigger quest. The high-quality cinematic style is impressive, and the game plays well overall. It’s less humorous than the original, and lacks that nostalgic factor fans of the ‘90s versions may have. Yet it’s still a challenging and entertaining platformer that will test your patience and prowess.