There seems to be a resurgence of challenging games releasing, but finding a balance for that difficulty isn’t always easy. Developer MeGusta Games is trying their hand at creating what is to be a narrative-driven action-RPG experience with Unsouled. After playing the game during PAX East 2020, I was left not only determined to get better at the game but eager to know more about the story that it is trying to tell.
My time with Unsouled began in a dark dungeon. My character appears weak and troubled as he pieces together his current situation. By absorbing souls, I am brought back to good health, but then the game rolls out the tutorial.
Luckily for those who don’t like tutorials, the process was rather painless. In Unsouled, you can block, dash, attack, and absorb souls. Blocking has a parry functionality if done at the right time and dash acts as a dodge is pressed before an attack lands.
While it was possible for me to run through the stages and chip down enemy health with simple attacks, the game encourages you to learn how to properly dodge and block if you want to make it through with a fraction of your health left.
The game is brutally unforgiving when it comes to crowding you with enemies. While this allowed me to master the dodge and dash feature, I felt that the similar-looking enemies all grouped up came off a little jarring when trying to time my attacks. They all seemed to share similar AI as well, which made them easier to read, but I would have enjoyed more variety in their actions.
That said, more enemies did appear, and each required me to adjust my playstyle to take them down. As I said, the game becomes relatively difficult as the number of enemies increases, but the environment also plays a role in the battles. Obscuring your vision or fighting in fields of tall grass are all possible and test your knowledge to read your opponent’s skills.
After each mission, players are able to upgrade their character’s stats. How they distribute the points is up to them, but these RPG elements also play into the skills of the character. Given that this can be seen as “leveling up,” I would like to see just how powerful this character can become in the later stages.
Another element that grabbed my attention was the narrative that Unsouled is trying to tell. Having the ability to absorb souls is shared with another character, but unraveling that mystery is what I’m looking forward to here. The two characters are meant to parallel each other, and I’m curious to see how it all plays out and why the world has come to be in this zombie-like state.
Unsouled has style and gorgeous atmosphere, but overall it has straightforward mechanics woven in with an interesting narrative. The game begs to be mastered, and the reward is a trail of bodies that you’ll leave lying around the beautiful levels. I am definitely looking forward to spending more time with this game.
Unsouled is currently in development for PC-via Steam.
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