The GamesRadar Soulstorm Showcase
On the 25th of March, at almost midnight Soulstorm appeared again on a stream, this time hosted by the website GamesRadar. The game’s section contained 5 minutes of content which I’d like to present in this post.
The footage showcases a playthrough of the Phat Station level. We have seen this place previously a few times, but mostly in very short snippets.
We’re almost immediately presented with a screen that showcases the objective of the level. Hijacking a train was revealed previusly in an article by PCGamer:
PCGamer: Lanning says Soulstorm will be about half-and-half industrial and natural settings, and described the level I saw as “medium-sized.” Most of the game will be linear, but eventually you’ll reach a giant train hub, at which point you’ll be able to choose from five locations to guide Abe in any order. And they’re all much bigger than the one I saw.
Well, there are multiple things I find worth mentioning in the following section, so I’ve decided to separate one image into sub-sections.
The “Objectives” tooltip seems to show up automatically at the beginning of a level, then fade out by itself quickly. As we’ve previously seen it can display several active tasks Abe has to do, but currently it only shows one.
Soulstorm’s UI has underwent some quite massive changes since 2017 and I have to admit that while I’d still much prefer no UI at all, the current state of it looks a lot better than that PowerPoint presentation we saw originally.
I think it’s a bit of a missed opportunity that Abe’s heart looks almost entirely like a human
heart. I mean, they descended from birds, why not go wild? I sort of understand that the point here
is so that you can immediately know what the bar represents, but I think it’s obvious either way or
can be figured out very-very quickly by experimenting.
Edit: As it turns out I was the one who didn’t do my research. As pointed out by a fellow fan called Phoetux, avian hearts are in fact very similar to human ones, so this is actually more or less thematically correct. Thus I’m taking my point back.
As people who’ve previously talked with me know, I’m very much not a fan of the “2.9D” moniker. I find that it’s a pretty confusing and pretentious sounding buzzword, that doesn’t really provide any immediate picture to the gamer.
Regardless, I do like the twisting and turning camera the game has. I did lament the fact that MO didn’t wow us with its gigantic factories, even though it was in 3D, so seeing just that in Soulstorm is a nice sight for sure. I’m just hoping the devs made it extra sure that there aren’t any dumb angles that can lead to situations the players can’t possibly foresee (running into enemies, tripping alarms, etc.)
Me about Munch: The saddest thing is that the extra dimension 3D provides could have been used to great effect. We’ve already seen how imposing Glukkon facilities can be (think RF from the outside of SoulStorm Brewery), just give us that but in an interactive form. And I’m well aware I’m asking for a lot, but why even go 3D if it only hurts the game’s looks.
Also I sort of wonder how throwing things will work when Abe is aligned with the camera. Obviously in the screen above he is not in harms way, but does the game never put enemies in front of you (quite literally) when the camera is facing this way? If it does, how can one aim properly that way? I suppose we’ll see soon enough.
One part of the UI is for counting how many Mudokons are in a level, how many are still alive, how many you’ve rescued, etc. As the devs have confirmed, this is currently a feature you can’t switch off. I understand the reasoning, but I’m a bit skeptical of this feature. Not only does it give away crucial info the previous games never did (making it a minor catharsis when you finally saw an employee status board), but it also makes me scratch my head heavily about how you’re supposed to figure out the state of your Mudokons when you have several hundred following you? Will those small icons fill the entirety of the bottom of your screen? Surely not, but then how?
Abe runs past a Native shrine in the shape of OWI’s logo that also has Mudokon skulls hanging from it. It seems to be a simple background prop, but I wonder if it things like these will have deeper plot or just look cool.
I have to be honest, I have no idea what this boulder is supposed to be, but it is hanging on an alternative path Abe didn’t take. Perhaps you can dislodge it and make it drop on an enemy?
Phat Station logo
For the first time we see the logo of Phat Station - albeit in a very tiny and smudged form. To me it looks like a sort of white pigeon, but considering the place’s name is a play on “fat,” I’m sure it’s actually something related to that instead.
Flub Fuels poster
Now this poster is interesting not just due to the weird worm-like creature that’s used as a logo (perhaps it’s a new type of enemy Abe will eventually have to face?), but rather the name of the place. Flub Fuels was in the original canon the first workplace of Molluck as seen in this old article:
Old Website - Molluck: As CEO of RuptureFarms 1029 and also CEO of SoulStorm Brewery 401, Molluck was responsible for operations and product planning. It was his job to keep these Glukkon franchises profitable. He had worked his way up the corporate ladder since his first job as a Flub Fuels Fill Station manager.
I wonder if it’s still related to him or not. One more thing to note is that the Flub Fuels location also appears on the new Oddworld map, which I made an interview about.
Edit: As pointed out by user gobo3D, the Flub Fuels logo looks very similar to the Shell oil-company’s logo, which is certainly not a coincidence. Also that “Flub” is most likely a word play on “grub” hence the worm on the logo.
Placeholder Dripik… is dead
Indeed, our favorite easter egg / unfinished feature is finally ironed out. As confirmed by the developers, there will be no place(holder) for a screen displaying Dripik in the final game.
I sort of wonder about the phrasing of the objective titled “Sneak past the sleeping Slig.” I wonder if this is just a hint (i.e. if you choose you can disregard it and kill him) or you’re forced to take this route.
Using this UI element you can clearly see what sort of statuses apply to you. I wonder if the text is really necessary and why they didn’t go with just icons. I think it would look fine that way and still be informative enough.
Abe takes a tram to travel further into the level, meanwhile we hear a radio transmission about some Glukkon shenanigans. I like the concept a lot, it’s a good way to pad out waiting time, I just hope the stuff said here will be actually interesting. Simple banter is of course fine and all, but the more it ties into the plot the better.
The tram goes under a platform that contains a poster of the Daily Deception, a newspaper that first appeared in Munch’s Oddysee. The design of this newspaper caught my attention as it looks quite similar to the “The Informant” newspaper from the ARG.
The Old Trellis poster
We also see a poster of the Old Trellis level. Considering we’re seeing a poster about it on this level, I assume it comes later (perhaps it’s the next level as the general look of things are quite similar.)
It’s a bit hard to showcase them as both of them pretty much fill the screen, but we see the classic Slig Barracks and FeeCo logos. I assume this means they remain largely unchanged in Soulstorm.
Abe hanging from the train
I don’t really have much to say about this other than perhaps this is the same scene in which we see Abe hanging off the train in a pretty silly way.
The camera system is nice, I’m happy to see old stuff return, the UI is better than what it was, the radio transmissions could be interesting. I’m not a fan of double jumping still.
I’ll be honest, while I do like a lot of the things that this video showcased, I felt like a lot of time was wasted with Abe doing stuff we already know he can do and less showcasing cool new features we perhaps haven’t seen yet. The video is five minutes long, but most of the content could be left out and we’d be still on the same page. Oh well…