Our Score: 8.5/10
Oddworld: Soulstorm Enhanced Edition continues Abe’s journey from the original game. As he and his supporters flee the now-burned Rupture Farms. For a brief period, all is calm, until fate intervenes and Abe’s hideout, both literally and symbolically, is lit up. The game gives the player one goal, similar to our previous entry: get out alive and save your people from corporate murderers.
After the turmoil ensues and Abe is separated from his pals, he must flee Rupture Farms’ proprietor, Glukkon Mullock, who is seeking vengeance. The first few levels are primarily about avoiding nasty enemies. While learning the controls and aspects of the item and crafting systems. The game throws you into the deep end right away, occasionally providing tips but eventually forcing you to learn by trial and error.
Return to Abe
The first eight or so missions in Soulstorm are exclusive to this installment of the franchise. Slig Barracks, Necrum Mines, FeeCo Depot, and Soulstorm Brewery, which fans may remember from the original 1990s version, are not accessible until late in the game. They’re also in a different order than the originals. The original’s Scrab and Paramite levels have been removed. That’s a shame because the early missions take a while to get used to. However, once it does, Soulstorm is a formidable foe.
When you play as Abe, you’ll be wandering through perilous paths with mines all everywhere and trigger-happy Sligs waiting to gib you. The gameplay in Soulstorm takes place on a 2.5D plane, though the makers refer to it as a 2.9D plane. Consider it a sidescrolling game with periodic perspective shifts when the game wants to show you something. And each level will have the same goal: completing it as quickly as possible while avoiding death and safeguarding the safety of as many of your Mudokon followers as possible. The type of Quarma you get at the conclusion of a level, as well as the ending you get, is determined by how many you save. So there’s a lot of pressure on your shoulders.
Survival of the Fittest in Oddworld: Soulstorm
Abe is weak and can be killed quite easily. You have weapons at your disposal to get past these little freaks, such as mind control and gunning down their comrades, or stunning them. The game also takes into account how many enemies die as a result of your actions, which can harm your Quarma, so murdering indiscriminately isn’t a good idea. You won’t be able to slip past every Slig, but even if you save enough Mudokon, you shouldn’t be killing them all. You can expect to die frequently, but thankfully there are many checkpoints to swiftly reset you. The player can give Mudokon followers some crafted items and toggle between aggro and passive. This opens up new solutions to complete a task safely. Be careful though, because this puts your followers in direct harms way and can lead to unnecessary deaths.
Oddworld: Soulstorm can be proud of many things. Its graphics is one of them. No game quite nails the 2.5D style as Oddworld has. The originals used clever CG cuts to bring the backgrounds to life and downscaled a lot of the layouts and characters in order to make use of the background elements. Hardware limitations meant that there couldn’t be too much on-screen at one time, so levels were cut into many smaller pieces in order for the game to play as it was intended. Soulstorm is a whole other kettle of fish though.
The cutscenes in Soulstorm are particularly impressive in terms of visuals. Character designs that have been updated have a lot more articulation. Sligs, with their strange mouths, are now expressing themselves more through gestures and body language. Because Glukkons lack arms, they must communicate with their faces. In Mulloks’ case, you can see how he seethes every time Abe escapes through his facial expressions.
Abe can now double leap and has a lot more control in the air. When the level design isn’t attempting to kill me, it’s wonderfully intuitive.
Oddworld: Soulstorm Enhanced Edition – Final Verdict
Oddworld: Soulstorm Enhanced Edition’s new challenge mode is great for fans of the series. The level design and freedom of mobility are also noteworthy. It’s an absolute no-brainer for both fans and newcomers, and the visuals are just really good.