Thanks to Digerati for the review code
Title: Odallus: The Dark Call
System: Nintendo Switch (eShop)
Release Date: 02/08/2019
In a world of turmoil, you take control of a warrior named Haggis who is in search of his missing son, as he seeks to defeat the source of evil and find his son before its too late!
Right off the bat, Odallus makes a great first impression with its presentation. I’ve gone on record a lot and stated how the flood of retro-inspired games has irritated me as of late due to how many titles try to be NES inspired, but fail to capture the look and sound which made them so great. On the other hand, I’ve also found plenty of titles that do that exceptionally well, and Odallus joins the latter ranks. Well detailed, NES quality sprites along with some pretty impressive backgrounds make this a game that looks on par with something like Holy Diver or Castlevania III on the NES. There’s even some Ninja Gaiden style cutscenes thrown in for good measure.
Unfortunately, for some baffling reason this particular Switch port forces on a CRT filter to try and make it too authentic. It looks decent for the most part, and is far from the worst filter I’ve seen, but the fact that this is mandatory at all times ends up ruining the otherwise gorgeous spritework. Thankfully, the devs already mentioned that this will be one of the first things to be patched out, but it’s confusing as to why there wasn’t an option to toggle this on or off to begin with.
The soundtrack isn’t as impressive, but it is composed with a similar soundfont to an NES game, which fits well with the pretty visuals. There’s even some cool sound effects and digitized voice samples here and there.
Odallus plays like a typical action platformer, but with a very light mix of metroidvania elements, mostly used for finding optional secrets and upgrades. The controls are a bit strange, with A being your jump button, Y being your attack button, and X being your subweapon button. Yes, this means that jump attacks will make your hand ache, though at the very least the slow paced nature of this game means that you’ll either be doing one action or the other, not both at the same time. Still, a control customization option would be nice, though luckily that’s also promised for the first patch, despite it being something that you think would be a no brainer to begin with.
Each stage has several secrets buried within, which often requires that you use a subweapon or upgrade obtained in later stages and backtrack to uncover them. These range from items that increase your total health, to improved weapons and armor, that can lead to finding an alternate exit. This offers a little bit of replay value, and it’s a fun to try out new items on levels that used to give you trouble. There are also bosses to fight at the end of each stage, and they’re pretty tough with just your standard weapon, although using a subweapon makes them a bit easier.
Along the way, you’ll gather some coins from defeated enemies, which can be used to buy subweapon ammo or health refills from a shopkeeper in each stage. Since you can switch between multiple subweapons on the fly with the shoulder buttons, buying the subweapons can come in handy if you’re stocking up on items that’ll help you find secrets. The level design in Odallus is solid, and it’s a pretty fun platformer all things considered, control quirks aside.
In conclusion, Odallus is yet another fun platformer for the Switch’s eShop. While it doesn’t offer too much that’s new, it is an incredibly well made and fun NES throwback worth checking out. However, the baffling quirks of the CRT filter and weird control scheme, along with the lack of the achievements from the Steam version make this particular port pretty rough around the edges. While two of those three things were confirmed for a patch that should be out any day now, I still find it silly that those two things weren’t in this version from the getgo. Still, if you can wait for the patch, or if you don’t mind the quirks and the small price increase, then this is a platformer well worth your time.
I give Odallus: The Dark Call a 7 out of 10.