ABYSS Odyssey is a hybrid of so many existing and genres, that it could easily stand alone as a compilation of modern gaming as we know it.
Xbox 360 (reviewed) / Playstation 3 / PC
Score: 8.2 / 10
Yet it offers up enough of its own distinctive qualities to stand as a unique and entertaining budget choice during the traditional fallow weeks of the summer season.
A fusion of an exploratory 2D platformer and an arcade fighting game, it is a singular feel. The developers, Chilean firm Ace Team, have decided to wear their influences with pride. Scattered throughout the game you will catch glimpses of Spelunky, Castlevania, Prince of Persia and even Super Smash Bros. It sounds like an awkwardly conceived mash-up but in practice it is carried off with aplomb.
This success in large part down to a lovely art style and character design. There is a curious and compelling sense of ‘otherness’ to the game’s aesthetics, perhaps due to the fact its creators do not hail from either side of the Atlantic, but rather South America, until now not known for its pedigree in game development.
Set in a fantastical version of Santiago where a giant wormhole has opened up, leaving the city under siege from an army of monstrous creatures. It is a game world that makes for fluid platforming action, punctuated by one on one fights that make use of a simple yet effective roster of moves. The mechanics are made even more interesting thanks to the ability to wrest control of your foes and have them take your side in battle.
For an arcade title, there is plenty of value in Abyss Odyssey. It takes days just to improve your protagonist’s abilities so that you stand a fair chance against some of the more challenging opponents that stand in your way. At times, the difficulty level errs on the unforgiving side, but there is enough charm and variety in the game to hold your attention. It is an unusual and welcome triumph.
TIPS AND TRICKS
1) Try and build up your mana level throughout the game. This is the only way to gain control of other playable creatures.
2) Camp tokens are an invaluable way of avoiding a long, awkward traipse through sections of the game you have already played, but use them wisely and sparingly to get the most out of your respawns.
3) Keep an eye out for hidden rooms scattered throughout the game. These contain weapons and chests and will assist your progress when the going gets tough.