Worthy of a genre popularized by Metroid and Castlevania with great use of pixel art, Souldiers is the result of several years of work by independent studio Retro Forge. This small Madrid-based team signs up for an exhilarating title that pushes all indications in terms of challenge, creativity and above all intensity!
Designed as an ambitious metroidvania-style action game (understand it with giant maps and environments full of secrets that can only be accessed once you acquire certain abilities), Souldiers is a very good representative of the genre. He even managed to surprise by sharing Offers mechanics that are more complex and less predictable than most games of this style. The game stands out above all because of the huge dungeons and maze that require extensive exploration in every corner of the map in order to discover secret passages that connect the regions as if it were one proper puzzle piece. Here, light crystals will come, for example, to embody sandy pads for a limited time, when it’s not outright clouds of dust that they reveal to our eyes. There, the water bubbles will act as starting points for launching us into the air in the chosen direction. Sure, the environment is fairly classic in choosing biomes but sometimes it has some welcome interactions, even if the idea would benefit from digging more.
A game that claims its Souls-like effect
But the Souldiers were also introduced as a distant heir to From Software’s Souls (Demon Souls, Dark Souls) and his name was apparently not chosen at random. To some extent, one could compare its difficulty to that of Elden Ring. The comparison may sound bold, even pretentious, but we better understand the idea behind it once we have the console at hand. with Three classes of characters to choose from initially for the largest number of different ways to playSouldiers actually require quite a bit of training before they are tamed. The difficulty of the program is, to say the least, raised, and perfecting your character’s talents is essential to survival in the game’s environments.
Defeating the bosses requires making good use of parry, dribbling or counterattack techniques depending on the talents of the character you are playing: magician, archer or scout. Defense is conditioned by a stamina gauge limit that, once broken, takes a very long time to recharge. This encourages you to remain aggressive without exposing yourself to enemy attacks because the bar of life is fragile, especially in a wizard’s skin. Lack of confidence because simple mutant mice can be more energetic and dangerous than real bosses with well-defined combat actions, which makes map exploration very difficult. Not to mention toxic, hemorrhagic, or dreaded illnesses that literally drain your hit points.
3 character classes to master
Depending on which class was initially chosen (scout, archer or magician), the reactions are obviously not the same and it is advisable to take the time to start a game of each of them before making your choice. Because unfortunately it cannot be changed later on the same backup, which in turn has the advantage of multiplying by 3 by encouraging us to start the adventure again with characters with completely different skills. Scouts obviously benefit from the best defense with the ability to launch counterattacks and special attacks. The magician compensates for his significant physical weakness by using guided shots and detonation techniques. Difficult to master, the archer has to prepare his arrows but can throw a bow in boomerang style in case of close attack.
Sophie’s world after death
Even if he’s not necessarily talkative, Souldiers remains subtly written through encounters with colorful non-player characters who really play a part in revealing the story. The theme of the mysterious world on the boundary between life and death is especially the chance to meet Valkyries there Who are responsible for transferring the souls of heroes without revealing their true intentions to us very quickly. The ubiquitous narrative has nothing to do with the Valkyrie profile, we agree, but the wink remains intriguing.
The gaming world is full of clever discoveries. The Great Pyramid is interesting in its ability to make us lose our sense of direction by hitting traps and access ports to open them. Like a submerged laboratory or a floating unit area, a kind of giant flying fortress, The game is so completely non-linear that it is not always very clear in its objectives. It should also be noted that the beta version still contains some bugs (unreachable part of the map or teleporters that sometimes refused to work) which we hope will be quickly corrected. Crowded screens can sometimes cause slowdowns, especially with figurines saved.
The constant acquisition of new types of celestial bodies and relics regularly opens up new possibilities of action that encourage us to go back and search each area several times in order not to leave anything behind. Adapting the personalization of our devices to the elements prevailing in the different environments of the game is already the first reaction to gain it to put the possibilities on your side. Because if we don’t necessarily pay much attention to it in the first levels, Good management of items to discover the weaknesses of our opponents is actually a must in Souldiers. In fact, it becomes necessary to exploit the weakness of the enemies (visible with the help of some accessories) by adapting our equipment accordingly. This means feel free to change the orbs to be as effective as possible against opponents who aren’t joking.
It is clear that leveling up is taken into account and unlocks skills that enrich the playing techniques a little more each time. It is a pity that the skill tree does not give any indication of the nature of the furthest technologies because you can never know if your investment will be profitable in the long run… which encourages us to keep our points in reserve.
Lots of guns “kill” guns
Like the rest of the game, the music attracts more and more interest as we advance in the adventure, with melodies effectively promoting immersion according to the topics covered. In addition to being particularly plump and offering plenty of play space, Souldiers know how to pass the time pumping in a ton of side quests, plus countless hidden rewards that are useful for progression.. Urban areas also present an opportunity to spend hard-earned gold and materials from merchants and blacksmiths to increase the effectiveness of our primary and secondary weapons. Because spotting offensive objects like bombs, spears, or poisoned daggers are all subtle ways to expand our attack potential without being able to abuse them. Their sheer number and the way they are chosen so poorly makes them less comfortable in the heat of the moment. It is even more annoying for the potions that you have to scroll through one by one when every hundredth of a second can cost you your life …
Survive at any cost!
The more you advance in Souldiers, the more seriously the game becomes punitive (by the way a bit like Elden Ring…). If a sense of accomplishment pushes us to go beyond ourselves and persevere, then character development is deliberately limited Don’t give the impression of an affordable title. Checkpoints and statu savings are extremely rare in dungeons of unbelievable proportions in which you never feel safe. Getting from point A to point B is often an obstacle course and Perseverance is required. There’s no question of going headlong without knowing how to fight each opponent and how to break through their defense. But since skills are only unlocked little by little and upgrades cost a lot of materials, Nothing wins in advance. The set of moves also expands very slowly by acquiring special artifacts. So you have to be patient before you can control the character with all its capabilities, Which makes the progress even more exciting as we get closer to the end.
- Action game platform that constantly surprises
- Very nice use of pixel art
- 3 radically different game classes
- Modern and demanding combat system
- Highly challenging but adjustable (3 degrees of difficulty)
- A narrative full of old school references
- Giant maps and maze
- Great life, even for one part
- The dilemma of choosing a class at the beginning of the game
- Lack of ergonomics in the selection of secondary weapons
- The bugs are not completely eradicated yet
- Opening the map is not fast enough
Demanding without being totally pariah or completely discouraged, Souldiers is highly recommended for all action games fans on the metroidvania platform of pixel art. Its delicious art direction is far from being the only one of its attributes because the game also knows how to cleverly reinvent itself by offering no less than 3 radically distinct character classes and gigantic maps full of secrets.
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