Odallus: The Dark Call Review (Switch)
Odallus: The Dark Call is an exploration NES styled platforming game that is published by Digerati. Taking many inspirations from titles such as Castlevania, in not only game play,but also atmosphere, does it stack up against games of the past in a positive light?
Take on the role of Haggis, an old warrior who's time has since passed, but now that the world is in danger once more, it is up to him to wield a sword once more and slay down the evil beings of darkness and rid the land of chaos.
Odallus as stated in the opening lines takes heavy inspiration from games like Castlevania. This is the case in both its game play and with the way it looks aesthetically, but while it is sort of an homage title, it still tends to stand on its own in a way. The game is a what we all know as the term ''Metroidvania'', in which there are multiple branching paths to take, secrets to find and at times you might even get yourself lost if you aren't careful.
Being that this title is a Metroidvania styled game, you will be back tracking through each level multiple times to make sure you find the right path or beat the right enemies in order to obtain items or keys needed to advance in the level. For instance going straight through a level from left to right might lead you to a dead end that is locked, ''Oh NoOoO! bamboozled, what do I do!?'' you ask yourself. Well that's when you have to start heading straight up to find a new path in order to find that key. It may be as simple as just climbing up or it may involve going under water too.
There are a total of 8 different levels for you to openly explore and make your way through and each level either having a mini boss or a main boss fight for you to take on. Most mini bosses that you encounter will offer you a relic as a reward or they will give you a key that you need in order to unlock another door somewhere else. Most of the bosses aren't very hard and have a very basic pattern to them that isn't too hard to figure out, in fact most of the bosses,after you take 1 or 2 hits, you'll probably know their entire pattern already, so it will be a breeze to take them out without any real struggles once you get the hang of it.
Throughout these 8 levels is when you will acquire items other than your main sword, such as throwing axes,torches,spears,etc. These are sub weapons that have multiple purposes other than just attacking. One example is on a level where you spot statues that say ''walk through the fire with me'', or something to that extent and this is where your torches become more than just a means to attack, they now become essential to advance in the game by completing the puzzle. Light all statues with the torches and it will reveal a secret door and allow you to advance and beat the level. The spear is used in this same manner,due to it going in an arc, when thrown they allow you to destroy blocks in the ground that your main sword or any other weapon can't reach,extremely essential.
But what happens if you run out of torches or items needed in order to advance? will you be screwed? thankfully not. Each level has a vendor near every check point that allows you to purchase essential items needed for each stage. Some stages the merchant will sell you food to replenish your health,along with axes,spears and torches,using your in game money. Which you'll always have enough money to buy what you need thanks to every time you zone out of an area,enemies will respawn and continuously drop money. As long as you're careful and avoid death, you can grind money for however long you need to.
This whole game will run you roughly 6-7hrs depending on how much you die,but even if you die a lot,every time you'll learn the levels layout and what enemies will come at you on that specific level, so it shouldn't be a real issue. The key is to memorize what enemies are on each level and what their patterns are with jumping,slashing or how they throw projectiles. Throughout these 8 levels you will run into over 50 unique enemies spread out through each level, each enemy fitting their respective level and never feeling out of place. IE: in the water you have water dragon monsters that swim and will pop up and shoot projectiles at you,go by a graveyard and zombies come out of the ground to attack you.
If I have to list some of my gripes from the game that either took a little enjoyment from me or just added a tiny bit of frustration, I'd have to say this goes with the platform gripping/climbing and the button placement. In regards to the clinging to platorms, this can be really clunky and is never 100% accurate in all my 7hrs of going through this game. When jumping to climb a ledge your character will hang from it and then you must press up to climb up, well a lot of times when you try this your character has a seizure and jerks up and down up and down over and over and will not climb up and this forces you to abandon your grip and fall, sometimes leading to your death or taking a bit of damage. It doesn't happen all the time, but it happens a lot more than it should.
Another gripe of mine that took getting used to was the button placement, Its just awkward. Having A to jump and Y to attack just feels wrong all around and then having to use your special attack with X just adds to the confusion. Its not a game breaker because you can and will get used to it, just like I did, but early on you're going to get confused and press the wrong button causing you either to get hit by multiple attacks or die due to how unorthodox the button placement is. Once again I'll reiterate, not a game changer, but for transparency sake, I had to state it.
This game nails the gothic and medieval look completely. Everything is so dark and dreary and there is great detail on the games main map screen,which works as a level select menu. If you have played titles like Ghosts N Goblins, then you have an idea what I'm talking about. Each area is detailed with dark forests,dark castles and caves and set to some classic NES styled 8 bit music that just adds to its ''horror'' atmosphere. Its superb.
At the end of the day in my 6-7 hours of play time with this game, I come out of it with a nostalgia trip. It makes me wish Konami would come out and do something with Castlevania again just because of how well Joymasher pulled it off. Sure there are issues that needs to worked on such as button placement and climbing mechanics, but other than that, the enemy variety, the exploration, the atmosphere, its all top notch.
If you are a fan of the Castlevania series and need to scratch that itch of yours, then I definitely say give this one a look, you will not be disappointed at all.
Odallus: The Dark Call is out now on Nintendo Switch
*Review code provided by Digerati