It's hard to know where to begin with Oddworld: Soulstorm. The series has definitely had its ups and downs, but it's always felt like part of PlayStation's flavour, so it's nice to have it back after so many years. It's a reimagining of Abe's Exoddus, a sequel to New 'n' Tasty, and in some ways it's one of the better entries in the storied franchise. However, as a modern video game, Soulstorm is difficult to recommend.
The story is a continuation of Abe's escape from Rupture Farms; he's viewed as a saviour and a hero by his fellow Mudokons, and must push on to rescue the remainder of his enslaved brethren. Straight away, the opening cutscene shows the larger ambition of the project; the pre-rendered scenes look great, with nicely animated characters and some amazing scenery. Unfortunately, the game doesn't maintain the impressive visuals when you're playing, but overall it looks decent enough.
Building on that grander presentation, this feels like a broader game in general. This is most definitely an Oddworld game, but the scope is a little bigger and wider. You're still making your way through intricate stages, dealing with Sligs, dodging hazards, and rescuing Mudokons, but levels feel larger, with the camera pulling out to show the scale. There are secrets everywhere, with diverging and hidden paths you'll need to find if you want to save everyone. Additionally, Soulstorm introduces a few new features to the puzzle platformer in an attempt to modernise things.
One major sticking point with the series has been Abe's restricted movement, which would make simple jumps potentially perilous. You had to be precise in your positioning and timing. Here, a double jump makes things a little more forgiving, allowing you to reach high platforms and recover from failed attempts. However, as much as it makes Abe feel more nimble, jumps are still difficult to judge, and simply climbing up ledges or swinging between monkey bars can be frustratingly tricky. Especially by modern standards, just controlling the character feels quite rigid.
We're also a little underwhelmed by the addition of looting and crafting. While they do provide an extra layer to the flow of a stage, rooting around in every bin and locker gets tiresome pretty quickly, and crafting feels superfluous. You'll need to do it in order to obtain certain gadgets and items, but it doesn't feel like it needs to be in the game at all.
To be honest, the things that work best about this game are the things that have always worked: possessing enemies, solving environmental puzzles, and saving Mudokons. The first few levels can be an exercise in frustration, especially a section in which you must sneak past the baddies while snipers aim their lasers at you and mortar fire rains from the heavens. Fortunately, things pick up a little later on when the action slows and it's more about guiding your allies to the exit. When all is working well, finding all the Mudokons and successfully leading the conga line through dangerous territory feels satisfying. Possessing Sligs and steering them to pull levers and gun down other baddies remains a fun solution.
The trouble is that it doesn't always work well. We ran into issues with the AI on numerous occasions that turned some parts of the game into a real chore. Sometimes, Sligs would stop patrolling on their route, stopping in place, which would occasionally mean we couldn't progress without dying or restarting the checkpoint. Other times, Mudokons following Abe would refuse to behave; hiding in a locker should see your followers doing the same, but every now and then, one or two of them would decide not to bother.
Elsewhere, you'll often need to throw bottles of the titular Soulstorm brew to trigger fires, and water to put the fires out. This is very finicky, especially when the camera frames things at an awkward angle, making it hard to judge your throw. Oddly enough, whether the water bottles would actually put out the fire felt extremely hit and miss. Frankly, the gameplay feels like a bit of a mess.
Criticising an Oddworld game for its stubborn controls might come across as a touch harsh, as the series has always been like this. It's always been a challenging adventure that requires precision and an acceptance you'll die a lot, and fans love that about the franchise. It's a bleak story in an oppressive setting starring a weakling hero, and these titles don't hold your hand. It makes sense. However, none of that means a new game in the series has to follow design limitations from the late 90s. In a way, we admire that Soulstorm is so true to the franchise's established quirks, but for us, it doesn't make for a very pleasant experience — especially when combined with bugs and unnecessary features.
Having said all that, there is an undeniable charm to Abe and the Oddworld that may see you through any rough patches. The character is lovably dim, and the land he inhabits is well realised, feeling bigger than any one title. At its best, the game offers up some great scenarios, such as hijacking an enormous train, and presents a fascinating world full of unusual, interesting characters. That's what holds this together, and it's what will keep fans going through the lengthy campaign.
Oddworld: Soulstorm presents itself well and shows a grand vision for the series, but as a modern game in 2021, it's just not where it needs to be. It can be extremely awkward to pull off even basic manoeuvres, some new features miss the mark, and certain levels made us want to quit altogether. Bugs exacerbate some of the gameplay frustrations with wonky AI, and ultimately the play experience can be frustratingly rigid. Fans will love this reimagining of a classic, and the franchise's unique charm shines through, but it's a tough sell for anyone coming to the series fresh.
I played an hour, and that was enough for me.
Glad I'm not the only one who didn't have a good time with this. I got to the blimp level and that was where the game broke my patience. I enjoy a good challenge, but this was just ridiculous. The numerous bugs made it worse.
I'm still playing this soon as it's free and i have never played these games before. Kinda looks like a more adult version of Pikmin?
Hope I don’t sound disrespectful to the developers, but my first hour with this it played like a mobile game for me 🤔
May try again, but not too sure
First I wondered why such a big named remake or was included day one with ps plus. Then I see games like days gone, final fantasy etc and figured it was just Playstation's way of enticing people to buy the ps5, if we have ps5 games already we might be tempted to buy the new system
Now I realise in this case, it was just a flop.
Oh boy. I did not expect this score.
I've only played 2 of the levels so far. I'm enjoying it at the moment, but totally agree where is the fart button lol. Going to finish it over the next couple of days I think so can't agree or disagree with the score yet, but from what I have played 4 seems a bit harsh, but maybe once I finish it might agree. At the moment it's about a 6 for me, but that's only because I have only played so little and the charm is there.
New n Tasty was my first experience with Abe and Oddworld and I loved it, so I was really looking forward to this. However I've given up just a few levels in because it's so frustrating and tedious. Such a shame.
Wooooow, didn't expect the low score. I mean, I expected not to like it but I thought Oddworld was one of those series that most people liked that I just didn't get.
Exactly the things that made me not like the original PS1 game seem not to have changed, and I’d have even less patience for these things now. Hard pass. Thanks for the informative review.
Yeah, this review seems really harsh. It definitely has some bugs that need to be fixed and a general lack of polish. But I’m enjoying it. The lowest I’d think is a 6 with the possibility that it could go as high as an 8 with some more updates.
One thing I totally agree with is that crafting was a stupid addition. It’s like every game thinks it’s cool to have crafting. Ah, no, it isn’t. Really out of place here. And I hate crafting, lol.
BTW, this review is an outlier. It has an 80 average on Open Critic at the moment. I’d say judge it for yourself and not rely solely on this review.
I've played it for a couple of hours and it's about a 6 or so. I probably won't finish it.
The Oddworld series never really felt like it recaptured the glory days of the very first game. There was a lot of buzz in the UK surrounding Abe's Odyssey on the PS1 if memory serves.
I'm playing through it at the moment. Fan of the first game. It's alright. I agree with many of the issues raised in the review, but still think 4 is harsh as there is still a lot of enjoyment to be wrung from it. It's a solid 6.5892 for me.
It does seem VERY tough to find ALL the lil' dudes in each level, but maybe I'm just not as observant as I thought.
Did the first part. Looks good - but doubt I will come back to it. Still glad I got to check it out.
Runing around with friends in Outriders is 10X more fun.
I’ve played quite a bit and I’m finding it really difficult which isn’t a bad thing. I agree the gameplay seems dated.
I’ve encountered a fair few bugs one in the mine level which is preventing me from moving on and I may have to replay the chapter.
It feels like this should be a PS3 game and that's being generous! The control system and animations are fairly poor I think. I forced myself to play about 3 hours and I really did have to force myself after about 30 minutes, it was tough going.
Wow, OK. The game's not amazing or anything, but a 4 seems almost personal haha. Different strokes and all that I guess. I'm about halfway through and would say it's a solid 6 possible 7 if it gets better towards the end. Judging the comments though I'm clearly in the minority.
Strange, maybe I'm being more lenient cause I haven't played a game like this for a long time, so it feels fairly fresh in a way and it came with the sub.
I'm only on level 4 but really enjoying working my way through this just now. It does feel dated but it's all part of its charm for me. Having said that the level with the mortar fire was pretty tedious towards the end.
I have to admit that while i love the oddworld games and characters i always got a lot more enjoyment watching my wife pulling her hair out playing them..i just dont have the patience required to try and play them..maybe one day i will let her loose on my ps5...who am i kidding she is never getting her mitts on my beloved..
Hopefully this'll lead to another awesome Matthewmatosis video XD
I haven't touched the game yet since I'm still playing P5 Strikers, but I did plan on starting once I was finished. But with so many bugs and frustrating gameplay loop, I'm glad it came to PS+.
I think this review is a little harsh. It's definitely not a 4. I am actually having fun with the game even though there are some bugs and yes the crafting feels a little tacked on. I would give it a 6 or a 7.
I got to the Train level and beat it. All levels were done without dying. I almost have all the badges up to this point. As for the critics the AI issue have been fixed with the latest patch, but I know reviewers rate the released version. I've been a fan of the series and the one thing I think would have benefited this game from the other was a "quick save". Doing those no death runs were hard but obviously not impossible. But saying that I feel it makes the game too easy. It was not easy to get every Mudokon from the previous series. This game no matter how good you are you CANNOT save them all. Showing that in this senerio you will always have lose and shows a bigger impact of your actions and every death on your hands weights in more. Using the knowledge of how the mortors worked in the Blimp level I knew how to dodge them. I got this game for free on PS5 but I will be buying the special edition with statue of Abe for PS4 so I can get 2 platinums eventually. This game even at release does not deserve a 4/10 but each to their own.
@RBMango glad you’re not the only one who didn’t enjoy the game!? What a depressing way to look at it man. Gosh this gaming community is wonderful.
I think I agree with this.. I checked out of this yesterday and have no intention of going back, was really looking forward to this as I rather like the Oddworld games.. but yeh... Oddworld doesnt need crafting and looting.
I hope returnal doesn't flop too..ps5s first year is a bit uninspiring yet..
Oof, was planning on giving this a go over the weekend. May dip my toe in but definitely on the back burner now.
@zebric21 so you hope Returnal gets good scores so you can still not buy it but at least have good things to say in the comments when it comes out?
@thehappyaerithch nope just pointing out the toxicity of your small mindedness doesn’t affect my life at all
Every time I’ve sat down to try this, I just don’t. Not sure why, but maybe there’s a cosmic force trying to save me from the pain of playing it.
Also played for a few hours. It’s not my cup of tea, but to be fair, I didn’t like the original either.
@2cents I can't buy it cause I still can't buy a ps5. Dont judge by the UK market.
Shame, I have vague memories of playing a bit of one ps1 and disliking the controls and movement. I've downloaded it but hearing that those frustrations are still there makes me want to uninstall it. @quintumply some other discussion about the game said the checkpointing for saves are pants also, did you find this?
I guess I mustn't be playing the same game as everyone here because I'm really enjoying it but then again I did play the original game on PS1 when it came out. I'd be curious to know how many people here including the Reviewer also played the original.
@2cents Because saying someone is small-minded TOTALLY isn't toxic. Practice what you preach.
@zebric21 It's available on PS4 as well.
@RBMango I’m not here to be a holy messiah of gaming my mission is to challenge the perspective of people I disagree with like urself
I've always liked the idea but never the gameplay.
You're high. This game is obviously a 6.5884, and not a fraction over.
In preparation to play this game, I dusted off my Dad's PS1 and tried Abe's Oddysee. I couldn't get into it there and I couldn't get into this game either.
@RubyCarbuncle I'm talking about returnal my friend...its a ps5 exclusive.
@zebric21 Ahh right my bad.
Yeah, this was a massive miss. The controls are clunky and the game just isn't fun. After this and lame Bugsnax, I'll be pretty suspicious of PS5 Plus announcements.
It's a solid game for me, the control could be better but I like the game.
@Deadhunter Bugsnax is good though, the story and the gameplay is really unique and interesting.
I also did not have a great time with this. I love Strangers Wrath and wanted to give an Abe game another chance, but this might not be it. Does New N Tasty flow better than this one?
@R1spam There are quite a few checkpoints in each level, I generally found them okay.
4 is way too harsh a score for this game. I'm liking it. I wouldn't go as far to mastervating with it but I'm enjoying it.
Sounds harsh. I'm not far in the game yet so maybe I haven't encountered the biggest issues yet, but I'd give it a 7. I like it.
I've never been a fan of the franchise so obviously never bothered playing this one but wow...I did NOT see that score coming.
Where's the fart button indeed!
But I feel like this game is around a 6 and a 7, it's ok for what it is but there are some rage inducing sections
I don't agree. I'm not a big oddworld fan, but after a few hours of soulstorm i was downloading new and tasty to experience the escape for myself. I'm half way through and can't wait to get back to soulstorm.
It absolutely gets better after the blimp level, which was awful. However, the Mudokon AI is what makes this game worse. The should have kept it simple and made it a similar remake in the same vein as New'n'Tasty was for the original, with the funny Gamespeak and amazing puzzles.
@2cents A review, by its very nature, is an individual's opinion on a game. Everyone is entitled to their own opinion — especially in a case like this where PS Plus subscribers can download it and try it for themselves at no extra cost.
No fart button? Being able to possess your own fart was integral to Exoddus!
A 4 lol get out of here the game is way better than that. Destructoid gave it an 8.5 which is what I would give it it’s truly a pretty great game.
Never been a fan of the Oddworld games, and I guess that's not going to change any time soon.
At least I know I'm not missing out on much.
Played it for 5 mins and I said I'll come back to it another time.
My first oddworld, honestly it's really not as bad as the reviews state. Yes, it's clunky and somes things have made me cross, but overall it's ok. I wouldn't say I'm really loving the game, but as it was free through plus, it's worth the value. However, saying that. This game isn't worth the full admission price and I think I'd be rather disappointed if I had paid £40 for it.
@LordSteev For me the great use of haptic feedback just pushed it over 6.5884 and, yes, I am high. Thanks for noticing! 😃
@winnipegborn1984 What's this about not being able to catch 'em all in one run? I did suspect as much when I came across a door I couldn't open. In level 3, I think...
@get2sammyb there’s nothing wrong with your review! I was only questioning why someone was using it as their end all be all before trying for themselves
Look, I have a vested interest because I have this game in my fantasy critic league, but come on man.
Wow you guys are the absolute worst reviewers. I couldn't disagree more with this review. In fact I find it irresponsible. The game is actually great. You are just terrible gamers. Many of your recent reviews are garbage. Little Nightmares was an easy 9. As was Y's 9. The same with this game. It is an easy 9. And don't get me started on TLOU 2 review. That game is a 5 at best. Then there is Metal Gear Survive which you gave an 8. That joke of a score speaks for itself.
The graphics are great. The control is spot on. You guys really are just terrible gamers. Giving this game a 4 is laughable. It's laughable. Now I know just to read your reviews for laughs to see how wrong you are. It is really stunning to me this review.
Great review! I agree let's stop rewarding Devs for crappy remakes and rehashes. Games this clunky don't belong in 2021!
I never understood the appeal of these games, part one back in the day was ok but not great, and every game after it hasn't been as good as the first. It's a bad sign when a game is included on PS plus on day one as they must have known it was trashy and would score low.
@Exlee300p I agree with the TLOU 2 being a 5, it's a shallow game wrapped in good graphics.
@PossibLeigh you have to get to the door within 5 minutes of the level starting. So book it!!
I am completely new to the oddworld series. I am playing this game on the PS5 and some aspects of the game blow me away. The story telling, the quality of the cutscenes and the amount of action taking place within a 2d space is all special. I cannot believe Stephen gave this score; it's completely inexplicable to me. You see games from Nintendo coming out with a big-franchise name, far worse than this game; yet they receive nothing lowered than an 8. In no way is this game a 4; I am sorry, this is not accurate journalism. It feels more like a "the world revolves around my nostalgia" and they changed certain aspects for modernization. The game is an 8.5 for me with revolutionary story telling and cutscenes for a 2d platformer. Shame stephen.
Talk about a One-Trick Pony! I get that oddworld inhabitants could be considered an indie studio with limited recources, but they've just recycled the same games over and over for over 20 years. Either evolve the series or let abe die in all his ugly 90's cg glory and move on!!!
Another system flop by PlayStation 5 no reason still to buy the system.
Played the original on ps one, and so far enjoying this one too
It's possible I didn't take haptic feedback into consideration. I'll meet you half way at 6.5888, but frankly, 6.5892 I still find obscene.
As for the other, congrats! 😎 We voted it legal in my state last election, but some lawmakers still have a stick lodged and are using red tape to delay it till the end of the year. Not like it's hard to find.
If you didn't like the original, you probably will not like the this one!
Oddworld was always brutal and the gameplay relies heavily on trail and error to progress!
I get the feeling that the majority of people who tried thus didn't know what they were getting into. Someone likened it to Pikmin? Sorry but even if it's personally not my cup of tea, this IS odd world. It's always been a niche game (even stranger's wrath didn't get much fanfare) so I'm surprised that Sony chose to hype this game up so much. The average player just isn't going to enjoy this game. With this is mind the review is rough...but with how Push X has been lately it's not unexpected.
I do feel this review is very harsh... a con just because it doesn't have a fart button? Come on Push Square how immature can you be for future players of this game?! I do think the game is about a 6/7 it's definitely an odd world game and if you liked this first game then this should be up your street! Personally I am really enjoying it bit I do have a large backlog of games so will maybe try and finish them first and then jump into this more so now since DeathLoop has been delayed!
@thefourfoldroot Getting older can be a b*tch. I know what you mean less time makes you say ok done with this way faster its annoying. Or maybe the game isnt that great what would i know. 🤪
I will be minority and say I really like this game so far (about 5 hours in)
I didnt expect much after seeing trailers and especially this review. But from the first moments I liked the pace and how dramatic it was since the first scene. Surprisingly I like the graphics as well.
I spend lots of time playing Bandicoot trilogy, but the end was more frustrating and not enjoyable so i didnt even bother finishing all parts. 3D was sometimes against the level design to add more frustration. And seeing Oddworld's 2.5D was just a great compromise.
Someone mentioned high review score for Little nightmares here on PS, I played it for an hour or so, didnt like the level design and lack of controls.
4 is very harsh and not fair, for me so far solid 8
@winnipegborn1984 Oh great. The game communicated that so well. Cheers for the heads up!
It feels like it belongs in the 90's.
@TrueAssassin86x very sad to see your constant need to troll a console you have no interest in. Maybe try playing some of xb games? Sounds like a better use of your time.
@JeffreyBowser people on pushsquare have repeatedly said they're not journalists. They simply like video games and made a site about them. Their opinion is not worth anything more than yours or mine. That's why I think it's better to look at the consensus about a game. If every reviewer thinks it's bad, it's likely you won't enjoy it either.
Nice try fanboy i will have both the Ps5 and Series X as soon as i find one outside online sales as of right now theres no reason to go next gen yet period. im perfectly happy with My Ps4 Pro and Xbox 1. Plus i also added the game to my PlayStation 5 library.
I don't understand people complaining this game is outdated and looks like from 90s and then praising games like celeste, enter the gungeon, scott pilgrim, cuphead, minecraft and others.
@misak192 Probably down to the fact that those games play better.
@tameshiyaku if you don’t think this isnt evolved over the ps1 oddworld games than you didn’t even play the game because it def is
OOF! lowest score I've seen yet. Much healthier 72 and 7.2 on Metacritic right now, some enjoyed it a lot more.
I like Oddworld though so I'll give it a go, but will wait for a few necessary patches... as with 95% of games nowadays, conditioning us not to play day 1.
Yeah, the score fits my experience so far. Really really sad and Lorne Lenning was speaking so high about this game in PS5 Stream last year.
Disagree with this review entirely. Respectfully. I feel like you just don't like Oddworld games. This game is easily their best.
@Rooty1985 The point about the fart button was more a joke than anything else (although it is a shame it's not there)
@Mince It is far from a flop. The guys at pushsquare wouldn't know a good game if it slapped them on the ass. This review is so far out of whack to what most people are saying. To me it's a 9. Also do you honestly think one small british site determines if a game is a hit?
@Acquiescence Totally disagree. You clearly haven't played that many of them.
@JeffreyBowser This score is a joke. Just like their Little Nightmare they gave a 6. To me they were both 9's. They are just not very good gamers. These 2 games are similar in that there are some difficult parts. I had to laugh on the Little Nightmare 2 review when he said his hand cramped playing it up. I totally agree with you on this game. It is fantastic. The art direction and originality alone make this game a 6. Do not listen to this drivel.
@tameshiyaku You obviously never played their games. They are all different. Especially Strangers Wrath. So what they have stuck in the same universe? What art have you created?
@Nintendo4Sonic Most people playing the game consider it a good game. This is a super minority opinion. It is a 9 to me.
@Exlee300p I've played and finished both Odyssey and exodus on the pc in the 90s as well as munch on the og xbox. Started strangers wrath but didn't like that. They're an acquired taste, but I don't see the point of constant rereleases.
I draw, film&edit and enjoy the guitar, but I earn money elsewhere, so I guess I can't have an opinion on it.
I'm just past the train hijack level, enjoying it and haven't noticed any issues. This is my 2nd Oddworld game, I played Munch's Odyssey back in the day on PS3!
@Exlee300p yeah that was very strange. Little nightmares 2 was absolutely amazing i didn't understand that as well. I played through the first one right after i finished the second so i could compare them. The Little Nigthmares 2 was better and longer. For me at least. I haven't play Oddworld but i'll definately give it a go. And I encourage everyone just don't listen to the reviews try it yourself otherwise you may miss some very good game
@Deadlyblack What bugs exactly?
Iamtylerdurden1 I'll stream it for u all and y'all can point out the bugs live. Ffs.
@iamtylerdurden1 The bugs that are talked about in the review. They're probably patched out now, I don't know, I didn't play it yet as I said in my comment lol.
As others have mentioned, I have not experienced any of the bugs, although there is certainly a thing or two that can be finiky. So far, I am enjoying this much more than I did with New N' Tasty, likely because its not a 1 to 1 remake, but rather a reimagining.
Perhaps my only main issue with this game is the crafting, simply because it can be easy to use certain materials earlier and not know you need them later where it was far more optional initially.
Maybe don't smoke crack before reviewing a game next time, Push Square. God, 2021 sucks ass.
How could you do this to Abe, Stephen
So I’m currently playing through the mortar level. It’s frustrating tbh. There’s times when I’m progressing that I really enjoy this game. Other times I end up losing my rag (I’m sure the neighbours will testify)
The controls more than anything. Just making what should be simple jumps from ledge to ledge can be infuriating when tired trying not to get seen.
I’ll stick with it but i can only play 45 mins at a time due to it being bad for my blood pressure!
Gave it 2 hours and then called it a day. Glad it was free on PS5 tbh.
Just felt like a game lost in time and trying to over complicate things with the crafting rather than focusing on improving the actual platforming gameplay and Lemmings style mechanics that made the originals so great back in the day. The humour seems to be gone as well that I remember from the PS1 games.
I do think 4/10 is very harsh though. A 6/10 would be a fair score in all honesty. It is after all an indie game perhaps being billed as something bigger than it is.
I'm sadly not surprised after finally getting around to playing the first remake New 'N' Tasty, I am really bad with the platforming.
If Soulstorm wasn't "free" with Plus, I would have skipped it until $10 bargain bin sale.
@naruball yea.... that guy is a annoying as hell. He is like one-trick-pony when it comes to his comments. Rinse and repeat. Maybe he thinks he is being funny and witty, who knows... I believe he has being already banned because of the way he behaves.
Also, you got to love the whole "I got both consoles" statement (never gets old). I guess having both consoles gives a person the right to act like an ass and troll articles...
Love it played the OG back on PC years and years ago didn't know exodus existed gunna pick it up for emulator and give it a blast yeah 4 is way too harsh solid 7 8 when patched 🎉❤️
@Deadlyblack So the bugs u heard about second hand and have no actual clue yourself? Right, stay being a parrot. Just what we need.
@iamtylerdurden1 I actually started playing Soulstorm a few nights ago. The water and soulstorm throwable's hitboxes are a little wonky. They don't want to work on the first throw.
I have a few other smaller things that bother me but that may be because I'm making comparisons to the original games in my head. I'll have to keep playing.
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