Abyss Odyssey is fun as hell, but far too short. Don’t get me wrong, I really, thoroughly enjoyed it. The gameplay is smooth and incredibly responsive, and the fighting mechanics—while not nearly as complex as I was originally led to believe—are certainly deeper than, say, Castlevania, which this action-adventure platformer feels a lot like, in the basics.
The combat is accessible and fun, and has very little in the way of a learning curve. In fact, once you begin to get the controls down and start mixing in dodging, the game’s difficulty goes from frustrating to fairly-hard-but-fun. You needn’t learn combos in order to dispatch the enemies on your way to the Abyss, but there are certainly ways to combo your attacks so that enemies are overcome without them ever even attacking you. So the combo system is there, it’s just less a combo system and more about learning which attacks link together well.
As for the game feeling brief … It’s not lacking in content—there’s plenty of replayability here. There are lots of collectibles, and the title overall is a completionist’s dream. However, the game is about half the length I was expecting. I went from the top floor down to the Abyss and beat the archenemy, the Warlock, in about 2 hours.
Some may say, “You’re not done yet! Go capture all of the enemy souls!” and the like. That’s fine and dandy, and it certainly is worth doing. However, I was able to make it from the top of the Abyss to the nadir with only a single wipe. (I died, yes, but only had to restart once.) While preparing health potions and a decent weapon was certainly helpful, I was expecting to fail a number of more times, and have to really persevere—but once I got the knack of how to play, even difficult enemies barely caused me problems, and I never found myself having to grind or worry about getting a better weapon.
I was able to traverse through the Abyss with nary a problem, way too quickly. The game has an oppressive atmosphere, but it never fulfills that promise in its challenges. A walk through this dangerous and peril-filled Abyss shouldn’t be over in two hours.
Yes, the game is developed with multiple playthroughs in mind. Running through the Abyss several (or more) times is the point. However, the length of one stroll through the Abyss is just too short.
There is plenty of content, and lots of playtime remaining—and I plan to continue playing because I truly did enjoy it. However, considering the style of the game, the length of a single playthrough really is too quick.
But enough about that. The game definitely has plenty of replayability, with tons of enemy souls, a large number of combat abilities, versus mode, and the like. The developers are even creating community-driven goals and rewards, such as defeating the Warlock X number of times unlocking Y new content.
More games should employ such measures because they’re a great way to bring a community together and keep players playing. These community events are some of the best efforts a developer can make for a game, especially one built for multiple playthroughs, like Abyss Odyssey is.
The death mechanics are another thing to love about this game. They’re a brilliant, new take on death in 2D dungeon crawlers. When your character dies, they are replaced with a generic soldier. Their moveset is basic, and they are significantly weaker than your general character; however, they are able to pick up whatever your equipped weapon was as well as any keys you had, and run to the nearest altar. If you make it to the alter without dying, your actual character is revived there, and you retain the weapon and keys you had.
This mechanic works well. However, one small fault with it is that it is often too easy to make your way to the altar. In fact, there was even one time during my victorious run when I purposefully died near an altar to revive myself because I was running dangerously low on health. This may be by design, but it reduced the stress a ton. I love the concept, but I think having fewer altars around would have benefited the game as a whole.
The game is a great way to spend a few hours. There are a lot of neat mechanics at work, and it plays beautifully. However, it is painfully short, and the learning curve is dramatically absent once you get a handle on the battle system.
A word of warning, too. This game is great for people who like collectibles and strive to get everything. However, if you’re the type to play through a game to the end and not worry about collecting things, this one may be too short for your tastes.
Overall, there’s a good game here, but few things set it apart from other 2D side-scrolling dungeon crawlers and, in many cases, it doesn’t win out in comparison.
Abyss Odyssey was reviewed using a code provided by Atlus. You can find additional information about Niche Gamer’s reviews/ethics policy here.