Conquer the abyss, defeat the nightmares of a maniacal warlock in this fantastic roguelike experience
- Strong, intelligent combat style
- Smash Bros-like control system encourages precision blocking, dodging and attacking combinations
- Combat is fluid, paced, and fun
- Roguelike environments are randomly generated, meaning no two playthroughs are the same
- Soundtrack is immensely enjoyable
- Environments are beautifully rendered
- Local, Online and Quick Match modes
- Roguelike features are often not random enough
- Framerate drops on occasion
- Combat features often wasted due to poor enemy AI and revival system when you fall
From ACE Team and Atlus comes Abyss Odyssey, a side-scrolling, roguelike platformer game for PC in which the player, taking on the role of Katrien, must stop the wave of nightmarish creatures and environments emerging from a slumbering Warlock.
A Roguelike Abyss
In Abyss Odyssey, you take on the role of Katrien, who must stop the spread of the Abyss by defeating the Warlock whose nightmares are terrorizing the Chilean population. She, like so many, is a figment of this warlock's imagination, but she is determined to defeat him nonetheless. In addition to Katrien, the Ghost Monk and Pincoya can be unlocked once you progress through the game.
The environments and overall visuals in Abyss Odyssey are truly magnificent. Atmospheres are colorful and rich, textures are finely detailed, backgrounds are rendered well. Characters, too, are well presented. Faces are unique, still portraits for dialogue are equally as impressive. The dialogue, while scarce, helps to drive the plot forward. The only awkward feature was the tight zoom on your character, which cannot be changed. Fights often felt more close quarters than they were for this reason. The voice acting, while appropriate for the setting, also wasn't the best. To top it off, a brilliant soundtrack keeps you company throughout your travels. Despite some framerate drops, the game runs very smoothly.
As roguelike games go, this one is a tame case. Nevertheless, the story is a perfect backdrop for the genre, since all such environments, excluding the tutorial levels, are procedurally generated so that no two playthroughs are the same, making each environment seem like a spontenaous manifestation of a troubled mind.
Gameplay Style and Combat
Gameplay is typical of a side-scrolling platformer, with a strong emphasis on combat. Starting off, you have a measly amount of health and mana which is more than sufficient. Progressing in the game involves defeating enemies, levelling up, upgrading your weapons, collecting items and gold, and fighting the staple boss located at the end of each level - all welcome features. The game's core lies in its combat.
Battling enemies resembles popular fighting styles seen in both Super Smash Bros. and the Souls series. Your character has the ability to attack with regular attacks, use special attacks, block, jump, and dodge. The pace of attacks is generally quite slow, leaving your character vulnerable. As such, precision and timing are the key to victory. A well-timed dodge or a block will allow you to flank enemies for a sneak attack. Button-mashing, on the other hand, will leave you open to multiple strikes. Getting sandwiched between two enemies occurs quite often in this scenario.
More on Combat
Should your character die, you are replaced by a weaker soldier. If he reaches a shrine, you will be revived. Checkpoints also ensure that you aren't tossed back to the beginning of a level every time you fall in combat. While an interesting set of mechanics, it doesn't exactly encourage you to be careful, and a lot of the time the well-crafted combat is overshadowed by the propensity in many situations to plough through enemies indiscriminately with your most powerful attacks. To add insult to injury, enemy AI also isn't the best, meaning that even in such a dynamic environment, your tactics need little modification. In short, the unfortunate truth about combat in the game is that it isn't all that difficult, despite its ostensibly roguelike name tag.
If the Local Play isn't enough for you, unlocking characters throughout the main story allows you to use them in a Smash-style, closer quarters fighting mode with up to four players. Playing against real players is a welcome addition, with far more emphasis on timing and control. While a little dull at times, it's an enjoyable way to play the game if you've played through the Local mode multiple times.
Overall, Abyss Odyssey is a beautifully designed game with lots of well thought out features and content. The weapons are diverse, visuals are astounding, graphics are well rendered, and the game runs fairly smoothly. The combat is the most attractive feature, offering dodge-and-strike mechanics similar to the likes of Super Smash Bros, and often requires precise strikes and excellent timing. As a roguelike game, the environments are procedurally generated, offering a different experience with each playthrough. Despite its intentions, however, it other respects the game falls short. While combat is fluid and well made, it is inherently simple. Enemy AI is poor, and if you die, you are brought back with impunity. Multiplayer mode lets you fight against your friends outside of Local play. All in all, Abyss Odyssey, while not strictly a roguelike game, certainly plays like one, offering an attractive, engaging story with excellent combat mechanics.