- Total Score - 7.5/107.5/10
Soulstice is the perfect fit for players looking for a modern take on the classic character-action genre.
Developer – Reply Game Studios
Publisher – Modus Games
Platforms – Xbox Series, PS5, PC.
Release Date – September 20, 2022
Soulstice is a cinematic character action game focusing on tight gameplay design and the relationship of its dual protagonists. Briar and Lute are sisters who have fallen to the Wraiths, an enemy from the Veil. They are reborn as Chimera. At the same time, Briar gained strength and physical power. Her sister, Lute, bound her soul to her and became a Shade. Together they must save the city and figure out the mystery of the Wraiths and the Veil.
It’s a unique story, whereas most character action games feature brooding men with over-the-top attitudes. Briar and Lute bring a fresh perspective to character action, reminding me of Senua in Hellblade. Diverse character choices in hardcore action games are a welcome change, and the best part of Soulstice is the relationship these sisters share.
A few months back, I got a hands-on preview of Reply Games’ upcoming action experience titled Soulstice. It was a fun dive, but a brief one. After 17 hours can firmly say Soulstice is a great throwback and homage to games such as DMC and the vibes original Bayonetta perfected.
Soulstice was introduced as a kinetic character action game focused on respecting the golden rules of the classics in the genre. Classics such as Devil May Cry and Ninja Gaiden were mentioned as some of the games that helped create that gold standard that Reply Games followed in creating Soulstice.
When I asked the developers which golden rule for action games is essential for them to nail, they wanted to focus on character and action responsiveness. Inputting an action and having the game respond is key to a great action game. Nothing is worse than a sluggish character response for an action game; in my hands, they adhere to that design philosophy.
The other rule they wanted to respect was depth in combat choice. Soulstice features that in spades with its unique world and selection of playable characters.
Soulstice takes place in a sprawling city called Ilden. You play as Bryar and Lute, soulbound sisters who have become powerful Chimera. Unlike most action games, these are not two characters that you select and play at different times; you play as them in tandem. Lute was sacrificed in the ritual, and her soul is now bound to her sister. You can use each of them in combat to perform stylish and powerful team
The general flow and progression into the city and development of each sister’s power set is the baseline for all progression systems. You can use each in combat to perform stylish and powerful team attacks. The flow of narrative and action is kept concise but clear. The level design can get repetitive near the middle chunk of the game, but it opens and closes with some great-looking environmental design.
Character upgrades are limited to new skills and promotions for each character, but this is not a loot-driven game. Your sword is your sword, your hammer, and this design helps keep the action laser-focused at all times.
The dual character mechanics push Soulstice into a different category of action. Managing both sisters in tandem is difficult at first, but the controls are snappy, and each of the sister’s strengths is evident. Use the big hammer on armored enemies and filling up a stun meter will allow you to juggle and launch even heavy hit stun immune foes.
Soulstice is a fun character action game, and the passion from the developers and their adherence and respect to the golden rules were apparent. The game features five difficulty options, with the two latter choices relegated to New Game Plus. These difficulty levels are where Soulstice shines. The heightened difficulty pushes you to take advantage of every weapon type and Lute’s abilities to augment Briar’s combo potential to the fullest.
If you’re a fan of classic character action games and want something new and fresh, Soulstice is the perfect fit for you.