A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this game.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that Odallus is a downloadable action-adventure game in the style of classic games from the 1980s. It has visuals reminiscent of those games but a much more forgiving difficulty. You run around with a sword and make enemies blink off the screen, collect power-ups, and explore areas to find other levels as well as the big bosses that guard the way out. It's as kid-friendly as the games it hearkens back to, in that it's a little aggressive and challenging but not overly so.
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What's it about?
In ODALLUS: THE DARK CALL, you play as Haggis, a retired soldier on a quest to save his son from a rising darkness that's destroying the town of Glenfinnan, bringing in monsters and ravaging the land. It's a medieval fantasy where monsters lurk everywhere, and they're recruiting human souls for its evil army. It's a simple narrative, without much nuance or much to learn beyond the fact that you should protect the ones you love and sometimes must go to extremes in that pursuit.
Is it any good?
It's fun and very simple, which isn't at all a knock against it. Odallus pays homage to and carries on the tradition of games such as Castlevania, Demon's Crest, and Ghosts 'n Goblins. That means you strike all enemies on-screen with a sword, upgrade your gear so you can endure and deal more damage, and get treated to lots of medieval scenery. What makes it so fun is its straightforwardness, but that also means there isn't much depth or nuance to the challenge. That, combined with the shortish length -- expect a skilled player to blow through in about four hours -- means it can feel a little one-note for its duration.
But in light of the more visually intense and hardware-demanding games out there, it's a nice change of pace. Kids may be a bit thrown at its crude look and feel, but it's adept at demonstrating the sort of strategizing and patience gamers must master if they'd like to progress. You'll run across bosses that can't be damaged unless you hit them in the right spot at the right point. There also are advantages that can only be reaped by not seeking a straight line through every level but rather testing the world around you and even going to places you think you shouldn't. Odallus takes a clever, modern spin on classic gameplay, but its length and depth will keep players from really enjoying this adventure.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about why one would seek out or even enjoy something that's "retro." There are retro cars, retro movies, and retro video games. Why?
What do you think of something that's meant to look like something old but feel like something new? To whom do you think that would appeal?
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