Amidst the multitude of platformers that have been populating the market these days, most of them seem to be more of the puzzle category, while there’s a handful of actions platformers, and only a percentage of them are more of the beat-em-up style rather than shoot-em-up. Most of those that do come up are tributes to the sub-genre that once was, but there are a few that do try to add something new and fresh to it, although with varying degrees of success.
Abyss Odyssey is an 2D action platformer combined with other genres developed by Chilean studio ACE Team and published by Atlus. It has platforming with beat-em-up action that can be controlled like a 2D fighting game, and the gameplay itself has roguelike elements in it. It bears some similarities to Rain Blood Chronicles: Mirage, but with even more character action elements due to its fighting game hybrid mechanics.
It’s set in Santiago, Chile at 1890, wherein unusual fissures in the ground started appearing everywhere. Various creatures started emerging from these cracks, terrorizing the population and giving standing armies tons of problems. But suddenly, a woman appears from nowhere and joins the fight, and that’s where you come in. These creatures are part of the Abyss, which is a part of the mind of an evil warlock, and you must pull out all the stops to defeat him and his minions.
The visuals have a certain style to them, as does ACE Team’s other games like Zeno Clash 1 and 2. Its renditions of both Santiago and the Abyss are gorgeous, and the user interface is easy enough on the eyes. The levels are procedurally generated, which fulfills its roguelike aspect, so no two playthroughs are exactly the same. Your ability to finish the game will come from your ability to make use of the controls to move around and fight the enemies.
This game is definitely better with a controller, but you should be able to use the keyboard if you want to. It doesn’t seem like the game wants you to though as you’ll see the cool-looking tutorials indicating moves with the Xbox 360 layout, which isn’t encouraging for PC gamers. But even if you do play with a controller, you may find the controls to be a bit of a handful at first. Due to how it combines action platforming with fighting game mechanics, you may not take to it right away.
You’ll find movement and combat to be different from the usual in action platformers, especially since there are recovery delays and such that are common in fighting games, so you can’t block immediately after attacking until the animation finishes, which could make it feel sluggish. But once you’ve gotten the hang of it, you’ll find it to be a rather deep combat system that punishes button-mashing and rewards precise movements. You can play as different characters, each with a different moveset and abilities that could be taken advantage of to complete a certain level.
Enemy AI is quite intelligent, although it may seem like it’s reading your inputs though, so some may find it a bit cheap. It’s challenging even at easy difficulty, so you’ll have to step it up in order to survive. Dying in this game is a bit like in Rogue Legacy and Spelunky, wherein you get a setback in terms of progress in the current level, but also keep what you’ve gained so far and use it to get stronger. You revive in some sort of hub world within the Abyss, which has different portals that lead to different levels, as well as character select for changing which one you play.
Unfortunately, this game is around 4 hours long on average, although it can be played more than once. There are more characters to play with and more stuff to unlock, which is always nice. There’s also a local versus mode, which is great if you have friends to play with. Some would think that it’s still too short for its asking price of $15 though, so perhaps this is more of a consideration in a sale or if you do have that money to spare and are looking for .
If you are someone who is not proficient in either action platformers or fighting games, you may find it to be quite a handful. It’s trying to be too many things all at once, which is understandable when considering its cool premise. While it could use some more features like online versus mode and such, it’s still quite fun all on its own.
Tested in PC. Final Score: 7/10