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Abo Khashem (PC-Steam & Xbox)

Developed by Moving Dimensions, Abo Khashem is available now on PC (Steam) for £23.79 and Xbox One for £23.99.

Abo Khashem is an open world, comedic, RPG which has implemented features of multiple game types within such as mini-games, interior designing, business simulation, boss fights, dungeons and still has a story to tell. There are four difficulties available to choose from depending on the type of experience you wish to have (easy, normal, hard, nightmare) and you can change whenever you want or need to.

As with all my reviews, I will attempt to avoid any story related spoilers throughout!

You begin the game by waking up in a strange place called Torrid and you have no memory and a nose that is quite literally bigger than your actual head. It really doesn’t take long before you realise how utterly bizarre Abo Khashem is, it is about the same time that you meet your sidekick and best friend, Shukman the lizard (whom you can switch to and play as). He will help in combat as well as be able to fit through the little holes in the walls which you may find around the city which lead to a minigame for Shukman to play.

You’ll notice that there are cats everywhere and they all have boxes on their heads, turning them hostile and thirsty for your blood! Attacking them will knock the box off and they will return to their normal loveable selves, dropping a little loot bag for you. The loot you find can be junk which you can sell to a trader or weapons and other items to wear which can provide some useful stat bonuses.
“Rescuing” the cats from their mind-altering boxes will award you with XP and in time you will both level up. Both you and Shukman have their own skill and talent trees to personalise with a wide range of options available to suit everyone’s playstyles.

I must admit I was a little disappointed with Abo Khashem visually, to begin with. Its design is very simplistic with huge areas in places with absolutely nothing but desert around, buildings are pretty much exactly the same as each other and only a small percentage of them can be entered when a quest requires it.  Quest related buildings have got a little more character to them as well as the secret underworlds (home of all those pesky evil felines) which do make up for the blandness of Torrid as they have had far more detail applied to them.

The sound effects have been brilliantly implemented and I particularly love the combat sounds. I quite like the background music in Abo Khashem, it's subtle, easy to listen to and makes running around a lot more tolerable. I am in two minds regarding the voice acting in Abo Khashem, some has been done really well and is both humorous and natural but there have been a few instances where the voice acting has felt rather forced and wooden, not reflecting the situation appropriately.

The controls are quite simple although they feel more optimised for PC rather than console, which is most noticeable when in the business simulator. You’re given a tutorial at the very beginning of the game and if you need help remembering then you can always look at the options. I really wish there was an option to increase the font size in Abo Khashem as it is incredibly small. Perhaps it wouldn’t be so bad if you’re playing on a smaller monitor but when you’re sitting in the living room across from your TV, even wearing my glasses doesn’t help me!

Abo Khashem plays quite well, combat is fluid, the animation is smooth, the driving is ridiculously sensitive (so be prepared for some spectacular crashes). I haven’t encountered any framerate issues whilst playing but unfortunately, the game did freeze when I died and wouldn’t allow me to choose any of the “continue” or “load” options, so I had to restart my game. Although the game autosaves, I would recommend saving as often as possible to avoid too much devastation on your part.

Aside from the main story and ridding Torrid and the dumpster dungeons of Catopia and Nyan of all the angry cats, you have a multitude of other things for you to do in the city of Torrid such as purchasing businesses and then micromanaging them by hiring the perfect staff (who all have their preferred positions and places to work), increasing the business’ ratings, and fending off hostile takeovers. Successfully managing your business will prove to be useful and you’ll receive regular income and eventually, you’ll own the entire city. 

Once you’ve procured your dwellings you can purchase furnishings and decorate it however you want to which I really liked. It is amazing how much of a difference a new floor makes to an old grubby house! It’s a nice change of pace from the constant cat clubbing and police chases, anyway.  

There are collectibles in Abo Khashem in the form of:
  • Cat coins (found in Catopia) which can be used to purchase incredible loot and weapons but are incredibly expensive.
  • Influence Points which are scattered around Torrid in the form of glowing gold orbs.
  • Cash boxes filled with huge amounts of money, the harder ones to find usually have more inside.
  • Combo moves which you can use to create your own chain of attack.
One of my favourite things about Abo Khashem is how the side quests are given to you via text message to your mobile phone (which you receive as part of finishing one of the main quests). They automatically complete so you don’t have to go traipsing around trying to hand in quests left, right and centre. The best part though is that if you ignore the people who are trying to get hold of you (or if you don’t respond how they want you to) then they will end up hating you. Conversely, if you go above and beyond for them and do as is expected, your relationship bar will fill and they will love you.

Overall, I found myself strangely hooked on Abo Khashem and I think it is because it is a lighthearted, easy to play, blend of several types of game that I love, balled up into one big crazy adventure. It isn’t problem free though, and game freezes are always off-putting so if I had to give it a score, it would be 7/10. Sadly, as much as I enjoyed the game, I think the price could be its downfall as it is on the more expensive side of indie games which I fear may be off-putting to some. 

Abo Khashem has 38 achievements available for a total of 1,000 Gamerscore. A wonderfully varied and creative achievement list (I love that they have been named inventively) which will ensure that you master everything that the game has to offer. If you need any help or guidance with any of the achievements, then head over to True Achievements where you will find plenty of useful information.

A game code was provided for the purpose of this review. Thank you!
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