If you're like me then you love getting your hands on a brand new Metroidvania so thankfully, Souldiers delivers some solid gameplay.
What is Souldiers?
Even though the name Souldiers would lead you to believe that it plays like a Souls game, it really doesn't. You don't leave anything behind when you perish, there's no consistently-depleting stamina gauge to worry about, and the combat is quite fast-paced with immediate responses whenever you press a button. Therefore, I'd consider it a Metroidvania albeit with substantial action RPG elements. v1d30chumz 18-232-59-38
The story essentially has you play as a soldier who finds themselves in the mysterious limbo-like land of Terragaya. Are you dead? Probably not so this is a strange place to be indeed. Along the journey, you'll meet a handful of characters that help add personality to the story although the plot is definitely not the main focus so let's move on to discuss how Souldiers plays.
Upon beginning a new game, you can choose to play as a Scout, Archer, or Caster who each have their own stats and combat abilities. I mostly played as a Scout as I'm sure many gamers will because melee is where it's at. The basic combat controls will have you unleashing strong and quick attacks as well as dodging and blocking incoming blows. Meanwhile, you can perform advanced moves like using sub-weapons such as bombs, drinking various potions to heal or buff, double-jumping, and swapping your current orb to exploit elemental weaknesses. You also have a class-specific skill (with the Scout's being parry) to add a bit more to combat.
Although all of this is handled intuitively, Souldiers remains a rather challenging game which is great. I found it to thoroughly test your reflexes, especially if you try to parry each attack, as well as your ability to plan ahead for tackling tricky scenarios by ensuring you have enough potions rationed and effective sub-weapons. However, I wish there was more to the core gameplay because combat became a bit tedious after a while. Different build paths would have helped a lot with this as levelling up doesn't require much decision-making.
When it comes to graphics, Souldiers features lovely environments and well-animated sprites that really come to life. Watching enemies getting ready for their next attack as you skillfully smack it away looks as satisfying as it feels and it all comes together to make for one lively game world. Meanwhile, the sound is full of jaunty arrangements that match the game world beautifully as well as gratifying effects that make the action really stand out. Overall, I'd say the developers did an excellent job of crafting a cohesive world. 😊
Finally, considering Souldiers is a Metroidvania, its world design is obviously important and it has its ups and downs. First, exploration and backtracking are super-rewarding as you discover upgrades and accessories in nooks and crannies after unlocking further traversal options. These goodies can make you stronger by extending your health meter, giving you more sub-weapon options, and enhancing your base stats. I also enjoyed the hunt system where you track down challenging enemies for large bounties as it makes upgrading gear a fruitful option. On the downside, most areas are simply too large and I frequently got tired of experiencing the same kinds of scenarios over and over again. It just goes to prove that a bigger world isn't always better as I prefer a shorter game that's more jam-packed.
Souldiers is a capable and enjoyable Metroidvania that provided me a solid amount of fun. With an expansive and attractive world, loads of goodies to discover, and intuitive controls, I'm sure you'll enjoy your journey through Terragaya as much as I did.
- + Tight yet challenging gameplay that'll test your reflexes and ability to plan ahead
- + Lovely colourful visuals and jaunty music
- + Rewarding exploration and upgrades
- - Areas go on for a bit too long and tend to get repetitive as a result
- - Core gameplay could use more elements such as builds to help flesh it out