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  • Writer's pictureAllan Jenks

Game Review #132: Odallus: The Dark Call (Nintendo Switch)

Updated: Oct 8, 2019

Reviewer: Allan Jenks

Developer: JoyMasher

Publisher: Digerati

Category: Action, Adventure, Puzzle, Platformer

Release Date: 2.8.2019

Price (at time of review): $11.99 (digitally) | $29.99 (physical, standard) | $39.99 (physical, limited)

Buy Odallus: The Dark Call (digitally) from the Nintendo eShop here.

Buy Odallus: The Dark Call (physically) from Playasia here (standard) or here (limited).

I’m Haggis of Glenfinnan

“Haggis used to be a fearless soldier, until he was no longer needed…”

It’s a great opening line, I must say. In Odallus: The Dark Call, you play a battle-hardened warrior who is forced to once again take his sword into battle after his son is taken—and his village is burned down—by demons gathering souls for their evil army. Seems a good enough reason to come out of retirement, right? Let’s dig in to this 8-bit action-adventure platformer inspired by games like Ghosts ‘n Goblins, Demon’s Crest, and Castlevania!

Nostalgia Overload!

For starters, this game is not only heavily inspired by the above-mentioned classics, but it is also done in a true-to-form 8-bit style, accurate down to even a slight curvature of the screen around the edges, giving it that old CRT TV feel. This is not like some of the “modern-retro” indie releases we have seen coming out lately where the graphics are modeled after the old style, but obviously are taking advantage of modern processing technology and graphics. Odallus looks and feels EXACTLY like an old NES game!

The controls are simple but effective. You have your primary sword attack (Y), your secondary weapon attack (X), your jump (A), and your secondary weapon selector (R). I noticed that the directional movements were a little hit-or-miss with the toggle, and I had much better success using the actual D-pad for movement. This may come back to the sheer accuracy of the NES experience you get with this game, as it keeps mostly to the vertical and horizontal controls rather than giving you a lot of diagonal movement. Again, this is just adding to the nostalgia for me!

Give Me Wall Chicken or Give Me Death!

I’ve said it for years now: newer games make it too easy for you—with exceptions, of course… looking at you, Dark Souls—and tend to focus more on visual storytelling rather than challenging gameplay. That said, Odallus is f&#$%^ hard! Holy crap… let me tell you! Not that it is any harder than most games from 1985-1990, but man, is it ever a harsh reminder of what we used to have to deal with! I died a lot. The good news is, you have unlimited continues, and get to keep your relics and items when you do continue, so you don’t have to start completely over, but just from the beginning of the current stage. The bad news is, though there are checkpoints throughout the stages, they always seem to be just a little too far from the place you keep dying, which sucks, because you are almost guaranteed to have almost no life again by the time you get back to that boss that keeps slaughtering you.

Speaking of bosses… also another challenge. The bosses are pretty brutal, but they reveal some patterns that can be exploited—once you figure them out and continue two or three times, anyway! But each boss is completely different and fresh, which keeps it interesting. The game is described as having 8+ hours of gameplay… I think it resets the counter each time you continue, because by the time you add all those times up, you’ll have put way more than 8 hours into this game to get to the end!


I’ve already touched on the overall visual feel of Odallus, but to reiterate, this is a classic NES experience. It is very reminiscent of the game from which it draws inspiration, and the developers aren’t trying to hide it. This is quite apparent from the different character skins you can choose: red gargoyle, royal night, and vampire hunter… hmm… There’s even a wall chicken or two to be found! I love a good nod, especially when it’s in a game this well-crafted.

The soundtrack is equally authentic to the golden era of gaming. Dig the sounds of Castlevania or Ghosts ‘n Goblins? Then you’ll probably also enjoy this soundtrack. Heck… I have a digital copy of this game already, but I also plan on buying the Special Edition from Playasia, not just to have a physical copy (along with Oniken: Unstoppable Edition, which is also included in the package), but because it comes with 2 CDs for the freaking soundtracks! Oh yeah!

Wrapping U p

Odallus: The Dark Call looked good in the trailer, and delivered exactly what it promised! This game is great! It’s hard as all heck, but it is crafted with such care and love that it’s still fun to play, even with all those deaths. And, so far, I have not destroyed any controllers or walls, I have merely verbally abused the game, so there’s that! If you love old-school games like I do, this game is absolutely a must-have for your Switch library!

Score: 9/10

Buy Odallus: The Dark Call (digitally) from the Nintendo eShop here.

Buy Odallus: The Dark Call (physically) from Playasia here (standard) or here (limited).

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*Review Code Provided by Digerati

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