If you’ve ever pulled the devil’s trigger or set your watch to witch time, Soulstice wants to take up arms to fight for your heart. And although its developer, Reply Game Studios, follows the formula as best it can, Soulstice is a great reminder that not all character hack-and-slashers are created equal. Combat is the bright spot, but it’s plagued by a terrible camera, some performance bugs, and a steep learning curve. And while the monsters are inspired and test your reflexes and intelligence, the world they occupy is bland and lifeless, even more so than a ruined city. destroyed after a small apocalypse.
The story of betrayal and conspiracies in a holy order of knights is rife with fairly predictable twists and turns, swindling villains and shady anti-heroes are generally pretty mediocre. It’s the touching relationship between Briar and Lute, sisters whose bodies and souls are magically joined together, that is the most powerful narrative in this 20-hour journey. This strange process creates super-soldiers known as Chimeras that are specifically designed to fend off monsters from other dimensions that flood this reality. Briar and Lute aren’t the only Chimeras in the world, and their comparisons to other secret duos make them stand out, as they seem to be the only body and soul duo that really like them. together. But by the time you’re sent on your mission – to investigate a supernatural storm that is destroying all life, it’s spreading everywhere turning them into ferocious beasts – you’re the only one who has can complete the job.
Screenshots of Soulstice Gameplay
The city of Illdan, under attack by other forces, is a bland place filled with eccentric monsters. Your journey to the ominous storm in the heart of the fortified city will take you from the sprawling slums, into the castle walls, through the sewers, and into the actual heart of the city itself. city. However, many of these locations are dull and unappealing, and with the exception of some of the final locations in the end game, there’s barely any difference from the others. If I saw screenshots of each of those quests, it would be hard for me to tell the difference between them since they all share the same shabby stone walls, crumbling gates, and flaming ramparts. Contrast that with the special monsters that reside here, they’re hit after the blow of a truly twisted and innovative creature design that deserves a mention alongside the best of the genre, and the environment design seems particularly lackluster.
These monsters come in all shapes and sizes, with the weirdest ones having glowing prisms where their heads should be, or literally a giant head that opens to reveal a the giant statue pulsating inside like the world’s most grotesque Matryoshka doll. Bosses have a wide variety of attacks and attack patterns that can be recognizable but difficult to master, in addition to being expressive and cool. Even Briar and Lute, who constantly try to ward off corruption and transform themselves into monsters, look super cool when they sometimes lose that battle.
In fact, navigating through these stages is also a chore. Most involve some form of breaking color-coded crystals to progress, which is just another side of the old keycard hunt. It evolves to take you back through stages to break smaller nodes so their connecting walls are broken and eventually puts a time limit on how many you need to break in a row. I hate every second of these replays between fights – and there are a lot of them. And while these linear stages hide collections, upgrade points in minor detours, and platform segments that don’t change beyond the beaten path, I’m not motivated to explore new locations. this major point, especially if breaking more crystals might be involved.
Scattered throughout the levels of Soulstice are combat encounters much more attractive. If you have played any character action game since the original Devil May Cry, you’ll immediately see where this is inspired. Your big sword is the bread and butter for Briar’s attacks, though as you progress you’ll gain access to a variety of weapons like a bow, edged whip, or my favorite tonfa, double as a gun. Each weapon has its own strength; Your fists are great for armor, and your speedy katars can overwhelm enemies that need more time to summon minions. There’s some overlap, but for the most part, each of the seven weapons feels like it has a specific set of enemies for which it’s tailored, and all are useful. Putting upgrade points into new and potent combinations allows you to prioritize one over others, and if so, you can really go deep and make it powerful.
While Briar carried out the beating, her ghostly sister Lute mainly acted passively to protect her and create openings for attacks. She is a single stop for defensive picks, deflecting projectiles, repelling close range attacks, slowing and tying up trying attackers all with a single tap. knot. The various defenses are limited, can be upgraded, but when things get very hectic on screen – and they often do – it’s almost impossible to tell how many enemies are frozen. on the field or how many times you have deflected an attack recently. This means that sometimes, inexplicably, an attack will sneak past your defense unmarked, and if you don’t avoid it the old-fashioned way, you can say goodbye to the meter. his combination. This is an understandable drawback to an on-premises system, but putting all your faith in using enough techniques that aren’t easily followed anywhere always feels bad when you’re sure. sure to fail.
Lute is also responsible for managing the auras, which affect what you can interact with. While exploring, it means tediously switching back and forth between colors for background purposes or cracking crystals. During combat, you can damage blue or red monsters respectively. Enemy groups that mix both colors, as well as armored, flying or swarming creatures are some of the most challenging tests of your reflexes and perception you’ll ever have in a game like that. this. On Knight difficulty (the third difficulty out of five and the highest you can continue on the first level), I’ve seen the “end game” screen dozens of times because I couldn’t toss all the cards. the ball needed to keep a battle in your favor, let alone do so in style. It’s a fun and rewarding challenge most of the time, although some fights feel unfair, as a missed sign can start an avalanche of hard-to-recover damage. .
When Briar and Lute reach for some lightning moves and power spikes if you can excel in combat, but the pressure to be perfect to get there feels paradoxical. When shooting at all turrets, countering enemies, combining combos, and importantly, not getting hit, the Unity meter will increase. Once you hit the threshold, some attack sequences end with massive finishing blows that deal a lot of damage and you gain access to a form of super power all of Briar’s attacks for a limited time. These are great features, but the fact that they’re stuck behind a system that requires you to function well enough that you don’t really need help means you’ll never get a chance to use them. These benefits to join a battle your priority if you put on the back foot. This type of regress system doesn’t exist in other popular games like God of Wars or the old DmC, allowing you to build a “super” meter over time and in multiple battles that can be activated at will. when ready; their reliance on building a combo in a particular war makes them too unreliable to include them in a game plan.
However, the biggest challenge in any fight is the camera. It defaults to an off-center position, trying to keep as much action in the frame as possible, but struggles when you’re leaning against a wall or trying to move it around manually. Locking down enemies can completely change the angle of view, and the camera will sometimes float behind something in the foreground and block the action or zoom in if you’re cornered, leaving just a little enemies in the frame to knock you down the screen. It’s not the only problem – sometimes auto moves hit enemies but inexplicably – but it’s an issue I’ve dealt with in some form in almost every fight.