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Oddworld: Soulstorm's Quarma Explained

Quarma, Oddworld's take on the concept of karma, has played a growing role throughout the history of the franchise. The term first appeared in the Oddworld: Abe's Exoddus manual back in 1998, though the system did not receive an in-game visual indicator until Munch's Oddysee. Like previous entries, Quarma determines whether the player receives the good or bad ending in Munch's Oddysee. However, the followup provides an on-screen indicator the player can check at any time to stay in the loop on whether they have negative or positive karma — a first for the series.

Oddworld: Soulstorm, which serves as a reimagining of Oddworld: Abe's Exoddus, builds on the Quarma foundation established by its predecessors. While Soulstorm returns to its roots somewhat by seemingly ditching the persistent visual tracker used in Munch's Oddysee, its Quarma system has some unique facets that players will want to take note of. 

Here's what you need to know about Quarma in Oddworld: Soulstorm.

Good Quarma, bad Quarma and your Quarma score in Oddworld: Soulstorm

Game Informer's Matt Miller shed some light on Oddworld: Soulstorm's Quarma mechanics after viewing an extended demo in 2019. As you progress through the game, the Quarma system keeps tabs on your actions. Not only will the amount of Mudokons you rescue or allow to die influence your score, but you'll also have to worry about your approach to enemies. "Kill a bad guy to save yourself, and you lose some quarma, but cruelly kill a helpless and bound enemy, and the hit to your quarma is much bigger," explained Miller.

You can see a bit of the Quarma system in action during the March 2021 12-Minute Developer Gameplay Commentary video. At one point, Oddworld creator Lorne Lanning points out Abe receiving good karma for rescuing Mudokons. He then boards the train, which is where players will get a look at their final tallies at the close of a level.  These tally screens — a new feature for the Oddworld series — allow players to see their achievements and determine what they missed so they can adjust their strategies on future playthroughs.

In addition to objectives and achievements, the tally screen offers a peak at your Quarma. This includes a breakdown of how many Sligs you killed and the amount of Mudokons you saved or allowed to die, compared with the total number of Sligs and Mudokons who were present in the level. It's unclear whether you'll have the option to check your overall Quarma through a dedicated button as you could in Munch's Oddysee, but the tally screens should give you a periodic look at just how good or bad Abe is turning out to be.