Review – Odallus: The Dark Call

Odallus: The Dark Call is a metroidvania style game that is a callback to the NES days of the genre. Odallus first launched on PC in 2015 after a successful crowdfunding campaign and has just made it’s way to the Switch. The story follows Haggis, who is on a personal quest after his village has been pillaged and his son kidnapped by dark forces. Honestly I can’t remember much of what happened in the story, because it doesn’t matter. The story isn’t the focus of this game and if you are looking for something story driven, look somewhere else. It’s there simply to push the action along.

Scanlines won’t be to everyone’s liking.

Odallus is much more focused on having a satisfying gameplay experience and in this aspect, it succeeds marvelously. Core gameplay has you moving Haggis from across the screen whilst dealing with enemies, solving basic puzzles, or doing some platforming. Your basic attack will leave you open for a few frames, so you can’t swing wildly and must time your attacks properly. There’s also a few throwable secondary weapons that you can pick up around the world and use for strategic long range attacks. Platforming can occasionally be awkward, especially when grabbing ledges.

I’m not exactly the most skilled player for this genre of game and luckily found Odallus‘ difficulty curve to be quite reasonable. There are a few moments where I felt the difficulty was spiking, but for the most part it seems to be well balanced and fair. Enemies are well designed and choreograph their moves nicely, leaving you enough time to react accordingly.

The game is split across eight different levels. Each of these are well designed with plenty of secrets and routes to discover. There’s usually more than one way to reach your objective, which adds to the replayability. Getting an ability in a later level might actually help unlock secrets in earlier levels, so there are incentives to go back and look around to discover all that you can. All together, Odallus will take you at least five hours to complete, though this could vary drastically depending on how skilled and thorough you are.

The story is utter nonsense.

At the end of each level you will encounter a boss fight. These are usually good tests of what you’ve learned so far and become an exercise in dodging their attacks and find opportune moments to deal damage. Dealing damage can be a bit awkward since you need to hit specific spots on the boss. Attacking anywhere else won’t do any damage, but it’s fairly easy to get the hang of. Generally, I like the boss fights; the snake in the underwater level is a personal favourite of mine.

Then we’ve got the visuals and sound design. This is sure to hit a nostalgic sweet-spot for fans of the genre. There’s a CRT filter that won’t be to everyone’s liking and can’t be turned off as of right now, though a patch is planned. The sound design is also a great callback to the NES days with a great chip-tune soundtrack. It’s nothing memorable, but I still enjoyed it.

Odallus doesn’t do anything overly creative or ambitious, but at the same time it doesn’t need to. It has great gameplay, solid level design, and a nostalgic visual design that should please fans of the genre, although newcomers might not get as much out of this.

 

Graphics: 7.5

The CRT filter won’t be to everyone’s liking, but the game does a good job emulating the classics.

Gameplay: 8.0

Satisfying core gameplay with some great level design .

Sound: 8.0

Much like the visuals, the sound design should be nostalgic for fans of the genre.

Fun Factor: 8.0

Odallus is simply fun to play and with the exception of a few spikes, has a good difficulty curve.

Final Verdict: 8.0

Odallus is available now on Switch and PC.

Reviewed on Switch.

A copy of Odallus was provided by the publisher.

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