Chilean indie developer, ACE Team (Zeno Clash series), released their new IP, Abyss Odyssey, yesterday on PC, PS3, and 360. I loved Zeno Clash 2 so much that I snapped up Odyssey day one and got that sweet, sweet launch discount. After getting used to the mechanics and leveling my character over the first hour or so, I'm having progressively more and more fun with it.
The game is a sidescrolling, action roguelike title complete with randomly generated dungeons for you to explore and legendary creatures to fight and use in battle. You begin your adventure with a warrior named Katrien who fights to free the people of 19th century Chile from the Abyss, a dream world conjured up by your enemy, the Warlock. In fact, our hero herself is part of the Warlock's dream, but I haven't progressed far enough to find out anything more. You can also unlock the badass Ghost Monk and the naked, spear/axe-wielding Pincoya (whom I have yet to obtain) who both share Katrien's story and dialogue. The monsters you fight are also playable, so you gotta catch 'em all!
The gameplay is good, but not great and plays quite like Smash Bros in a dungeon crawler skin. You descend into the Abyss one floor at a time, fighting monsters as you go. Should you die, you take control of a soldier who can resurrect your character at the altar located somewhere on each floor. If your soldier also dies, then it's back to the beginning or the last altar checkpoint you set, but this requires a special item purchase from one of the Abyss' shopkeepers. Dungeon layout is generated at random, but is short and simple enough that it's never confusing. The map and minimap are also laid out very well so you can tell exactly what you're getting into before you head to the next room. You can find items in the dungeons or buy them at a high price. Your equipment is unbreakable, but will be lost after you restart the dungeon or quit the game. When you drop into a floor classified as "hard," the enemies can get pretty tough. Their constant dodging and blocking will keep you on your toes and test your mastery of Odyssey's somewhat sluggish battle mechanics. The worst part of battle for me is not automatically facing the nearest enemy when you come out of a dodge. You can, however, execute a quick attack using the gamepad's right analog stick to skip the additional turn around animation. Jumping is almost as bad. You can't turn mid-leap, which can make a simple ledge grab a nightmarish chore. It won't help you at all, but you can wall jump for no apparent reason as well, again making ledge grabs far too difficult. Those two gripes aside, things work as they should. Using special skills to set up combos will earn you mana that can be used for your super attack which makes enemies drop a monster spirit that you can use in battle. Your skill points can also be reassigned to make your special skills stronger when you need them. There's a combo system in play, but I've always been terrible at that kind of thing, so I can't comment much on it.
Overall, I would say definitely check this one out if you like Smash Bros' fighting style or the roguelike genre in general. Great art style and music accompanied by cool characters including a respectable female lead, grim reaper type guy, and a naked chick with an axe.