Oddworld: Soulstorm Story, Gameplay, Visual & Audio Review

There seems to be a lot riding on Oddworld Soulstorm. This entry marks a continuation of the story started in Oddworld New 'n' Tasty while reimagining the 1998 classic Abe's Oddysee. With a series that started on PlayStation, it only seems fitting to see Soulstorm launch exclusively on PS4 and PS5 as far as consoles go, while being this month's PlayStation Plus game. Let's see how well Oddworld stacks up on next-generation hardware.

Oddworld Soulstorm Story

Oddworld Soulstorm takes place shortly after the events of Oddworld New 'n' Tasty. Now being out of the Rapture Farms, he along with the 300 fellow Mudokons he rescued now resign in the valley just outside his old workplace. Despite being free, there's still a lot to do including rescuing more Mudokons and starting an uprising against the corporate machine that enslaved his people in the first place.

Meanwhile, the Glukkons retaliate with a Soulstorm Brew, a drink that keeps the Mudokons in an obedient state. All in all, it's a wild story of the people against the corporate overlords told through a scifi vignette. While its writing hasn't been significantly improved over its predecessors, the animation and cutscenes it's told through are phenomenal. Abe has never looked this good and thus, has never been this charming. 

Oddworld Soulstorm Gameplay

For anyone that's played an Oddworld game before, Soulstorm will feel familiar for better and for worse. For those who have never played an Oddworld game before, it's a stealth-based puzzle platformer that requires an immense amount of patience. Previously that was because the controls were clunky and Abe himself controlled in a rigged matter. All of that is still true now but with some quality of life improvements to make things slightly more bearable.

A new double jump makes platforming around objects, a lot more forgiving compared to its predecessors. While yes you still need to perform precise jumps, you're given a bit more breathing room to land jumps now. It certainly helps Abe feel more acrobatic and nimble in his platforming but as much help as it is, it's dwindled by rigid controls. Jumps are still awkward to judge and it's hard to get Abe to fall down a corridor without getting him to grab on to every single edge around him.

So frequently I was found myself in moments where I was trying to drop down to a lower level to avoid enemies only get grab a ledge and get caught. These moments were incredibly frustrating and felt like the game was trying to help my stealth but ultimately just ruined it in the process. I'm completely fine calling myself out if I make a mistake in a game but I found myself calling out this game's controls and enemy ai just as often. There were moments where the AI just straight up stopped moving in their usual routine, forcing me to get caught or die in order to restore a checkpoint.

Which by the way, these checkpoint placements are so weird. They're placed right before a stealth section but after new items come into play. Frequently when I died, which was a ton, I'd go to just before a stealth section where'd I'd have to keep collecting a bunch of items to be able to solve said puzzle. To go around this, I'd go collect the items and then go back to the previous checkpoint, just to make sure I respawned with the correct items already. It's not all bad though, Soulstorm introduces a lot of great and interesting features.

Crafting for one is a fascinating feature, that isn't amazing in this game but does introduce room for improvement in future games. In Soulstorm, missions push you to collect multiple items in order to craft together key items. It's used as a great Metroidvania tactic to explore more of the world around you. While that's nice, it also comes at the cost of occasionally coming off as artificial padding. Level areas are much wider and expansive, they truly feel like this extraordinarily designed landscape that shines marvelously in Oddworld's classic 2.5D visual design. In conjunction Abe's new and old moves, solving these new puzzles was a lot of fun, when the controls weren't fighting me over the course of its 18-20 hour campaign. 

Oddworld: Soulstorm Visuals

Perhaps one of the first things that stood out to me with Soulstorm was just the immense scale of the world. Soulstorm is bigger, grander, and just jaw-dropping in comparison to the rest of the series. Walking through the 2.5D levels felt like exploring a wide-open wonderland. No matter where I was, there was always something interesting happening both in the foreground and background. To put it lightly, Oddworld makes me wish more 2D platformers took this route with their visuals, I'm looking at your New Super Mario Bros Deluxe. 

Even more impressive is the cutscenes in Soulstorm that look like they came out of an animated film. It's just astonishing to see what came previously to what we're seeing now, it's like comparing the Ratchet and Clank remake to its original counterpart. The difference is night and day. In terms of performance, Oddworld Soulstorm is available on PS4, PS4 Pro, and PS5. Sorry I didn't get a PC copy for this review to test on. On PS4 you can expect a 1080p 30fps target that occasionally dips down to the low 20 frames. That's improved on the PS4 Pro which also has a 1080p 30fps target but has a more stable frame rate.

Lastly, there's the PS5 that runs at 1440p while rendering the UI at native 4K. On PS5, the game runs at 60 frames per second and for the most part, it's able to maintain it outside of the checkpoint areas. It's interesting to see that this is only hitting 1440p, it does feature improved lighting and shadows though, at 60 fps, it seems to be pushing the PS5 quite a bit. 

Oddworld Soulstorm Audio

Oddworld Soulstorm features an ominous and dark-sounding soundtrack that almost made me think the series was going down a horror game path when I first heard it. While yes, this isn't necessarily the happiest of circumstances for game lore, the lighter upbeat moments with characters were quite the juxtaposition. I love me some Nine Inch Nails but idk if that vibe is all that fitting to this game. Nevertheless, I did enjoy the performance work here. The cast more than delivers on performing the funny goofy ball moments, as much as they're capable of capturing the somber more heartfelt moments as well. In combination with the new high-quality cutscenes, Oddworld has never felt this cinematic. 


Oddworld Soulstorm introduces a handful of improvements that ultimately make the Oddworld formula better. However, upon finishing Soulstorm, I think I realized that while these additions are nice, there are more fundamental problems with the core mechanics of this series that just feel dated on modern platforms. Double jumping is nice but these controls just feel dated and rigged, I'd rather have smoother and responsive controls over the double jump. Little moments like these kept me from truly being able to enjoy Soulstorm for what it was. And ultimately what should have been a renaissance for the series, was just ok to me. Thanks so much for watching the review, it was a bit of a bummer that I wasn't too into this game. I'm honestly just wanting a reason to play my PS5 in comparison to my Switch and Series X, it's sort of just collecting dust at the moment. Are you going to give Oddworld a shot? Let me know and what you think of it in the comments down below.

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