Review: Abyss Odyssey
In Santiago, Chile, a Warlock’s nightmares become reality and cause havoc on the town by releasing monsters into the real world. The Warlock has created an abyss, wherein he sleeps at the bottom. The goal of Abyss Odyssey is to reach the Warlock and put an end to his nightmares. The game is procedurally generated and has many rogue-like elements. Overall, it is fairly easy to complete, but the drive to return to the game includes leveling up each of the three playable characters and capturing each of the over 30 monsters.
The overall look of the game is reminiscent of Art Nouveau, and draws heavy inspiration from Chilean folklore and mythology. Three playable characters are tasked with entering the abyss and eliminating the Warlock. Katrien is the first hero unlocked, and thereafter the Ghost Monk and the Pincoya are unlocked while progressing through the game. Each character doesn’t offer much backstory to their origins, but more of the story and their past is revealed by talking to other soldiers and collecting the Warlock’s journal pages.
The game is a 2D platformer, with gameplay that is comparable to what you would find in a Super Smash Bros. game. Simple attacks can deal light damage, while special attacks can be leveled up with skill points. Skill points can improve damage or mana gained from an attack. Mana can be collected from around the abyss. When the mana meter is full, an attack can be used to capture other monsters in the world. After capturing a monster, the main character can transform him/herself into one of those monsters. A great thing about the monsters you capture is that each one has its own move set and characteristics. Pressing the thumbstick up, forward, or down will produce a new basic or special attack. The final and my favorite part of the combat system is the cancel system. While using any attack, that attack can be canceled and a special attack can be used immediately after. These skills can also be leveled up with skill points, so you can cancel attacks more frequently. Blocking, dodging, and grabbing are other elements that add to the rich combat system.
Each dive into the abyss is different than the last time you played. Every level is procedurally generated and the layout of the abyss is different as well. There are three starting points from which you can enter the abyss, one harder than the next. In addition, there are three levels of difficulty in each section of the abyss: Easy, Moderate, and Hard. Though each section has varying degrees of difficulty, the game overall feels pretty easy to complete. Every time you complete a dive into the abyss – either succeeding or failing – your experience points, skill points and money carry over to the next playthrough, allowing you to be better suited to complete the abyss the next time. After the first couple of tries at the abyss, I had no problem getting to the bottom and defeating the Warlock. One gripe I have is the lack of an in-game save system. Each plunge into the abyss takes about 1 hour to complete, and if you are a casual gamer with not a lot of time, you might be leaving your console on for long periods to avoid losing your progress in the abyss.
If your main hero dies while in the abyss, a common soldier from the surface will try to avenge your death. The soldiers are always less equipped than your character, but the soldier can defeat lower leveled enemies. If you die as the soldier, it’s game over. Every level in the abyss has a shrine that you can reach to upgrade your character. If the main hero falls, returning to this shrine as the soldier will revive the lost hero, and you can continue the quest with full health, though all of your items are gone. At these shrines, a shopkeeper is usually present from which you can buy new items and gear. Camp tokens can also be purchased at the shopkeeper, which will allow you to set up a checkpoint with other soldiers from the surface who are descending the abyss to help you out. The soldiers aren’t dumb either. Friendly fire is on, so you can hurt them yourself if you are not careful, but they do an adequate job at keeping you covered. The more expensive the camp token, the more soldiers are available to help. Though the game is fairly easy to complete, the enemies are intelligent. They will block, dodge, and counter attack. A skeletal man playing a guitar offers experience points, health, and a little personal wisdom. It is worth your while to listen to him, but expect him to say the same lines of dialogue frequently. A mini map in the lower right hand corner of the screen helps show what paths you can take, and what shrines or loot are in the area. Dream stages, where you take control as one of the monsters, are present as well. When completed you are given the option to grab the captured soul of the monster you used, but many of the times it spawns in the ground or in the air, leaving you unable to grab the soul.
The game can be played with 1-2 players locally or online. There is an ability to join an existing game, or create your own. In my play time, I only found one other person playing online. While playing online, the game ran smoothly and I experienced no problems. When playing the game in an open lobby, I noticed that the quality of the game suffered. The framerate drops from time to time in offline and online co-op, but is slightly worse online.
The real drive that will keep me coming back is trying to level up all of the three characters to fully upgrade each character’s moves. Capturing each of the monsters to fill out your collection will satisfy players looking to fully complete what the game has to offer. Developer ACE Team created a game that doesn’t offer a ton of content, but a game that will satisfy anyone looking to sink time into the world of a Chilean nightmare.
A copy of this game was provided by the publisher for review purposes. For more info on our review policy click here.
What I Like:
- Upgrading the characters
- Chilean setting
- Wide range of characters with unique moves
What I Dislike:
- Framerate issues