Soulblight is a top-down dungeon crawling, action game from the developers at My Next Games. You’ll encounter randomly-generated dungeon layouts and a lot of challenging enemies. In fact, one word to describe this whole game is challenging.
The gameplay in the trailer looks pretty awesome–that’s what made me want to review it. Sadly it wasn’t really what I expected at all. When Soulblight begins, the player isn’t given much direction. The tutorial is lacking which creates a whole landslide of problems for any newbies who aren’t used to these types of games. The instructions that are given aren’t very specific or in-depth. They kind of appear on the screen briefly, or circle around an object. This makes it kind of hard to read or really think about what you’re doing long enough to get the hang of everything.
The top-down look was intriguing when I first saw the screenshots, but after playing for a little bit my feelings changed on that. The levels are dark and it’s confusing when you’re heading towards a specific direction or area. I found myself backtracking a little bit and getting lost. It’s disappointing because I actually liked the quality of the graphics and the animations of the characters. The colors that are used are nice and vibrant and some of the levels are (visually) pretty cool. There is also some nice character artwork that pops up when you talk to someone.
Fighting enemies is the most exciting thing about Soulblight, but I feel like some of them are so overpowered that it makes the game frustrating. The player has a stamina meter that they need to keep an eye on during battles. If depleted, you’ll have to wait to attack your enemy and you won’t be able to dodge. A health bar is also present during battle but you can only take 4 hits before it’s game over. If the enemies hit you with a status changing attack, like poison or a crushed lung, you’ll have a harder time replenishing stamina or it can lower your speed, etc. Your speed and strength depend on which weapons you choose, so take that into account before you head into a dungeon.
One of the worst things about Soulblight is dying. Permadeath is a thing in this game and if you die your character loses everything on them, this includes collectibles as well. So you’ll start over with nothing and have to do all of that work again. If you’re awesome and don’t plan on dying that’s great, but I found it pretty difficult to get very far in a dungeon.
Soulblight is a little different than most games in this genre because they’ve included a new mechanic in the game–the Taint mechanic. This represents a specific personality trait, like greed for example. The choice you make at the beginning of each level will shape your gameplay experience and give your character new abilities or powers. It’s a pretty cool concept but the rest of the game’s faults overshadow the good stuff.
Sadly, Soulblight is one of the first games in a long time that I really can’t say I recommend. The look of the game is interesting and the taint mechanic is a refreshing addition but the difficulty, confusion and dreary atmosphere that come with it just isn’t enough to get me excited. However, if it seems like Soulblight is a game you would like or you want to checkout, don’t let me stop you. Sometimes one gamer’s garbage is another gamer’s treasure.
Checkout Soulblight on the Nintendo Switch eShop for $14.99.