Soulless is an indie game on the PC based around the main character finding and freeing the friend that they are searching for. To be able to accomplish this, the player must be able to overcome a series of small puzzles that ensure you are kept on your toes. The difficulty slowly increases through the course of the game but as you go along, a companion keeps paying you a visit to encourage and strengthen the motivation to free the person you are looking for.
The game is a standard platformer with a great amount of enjoyable qualities, with a large focus on the popular game Limbo. The controls are easy to use with pretty much no learning curve in existence. The character can be moved with the arrow keys and space is used to jump or fly, the only other key being needed is E which is used to interact with the world around the character. The main challenge of the game are the puzzles that are encountered quite frequently. The difficulty differs from one puzzle to the next but the range increases as the player progresses. The world around you is also interactive which accounts for interesting puzzle layouts but also means they can be easily missed when not concentrating. For example, there are silhouettes of characters that looks similar to something from a Studio Ghibli movie that are motionless and it took me a little while to realise they can be used as platforms.
The game encourages you to make use and experiment with what is around you before progressing as learning valuable little bits can make up a big difference. The game’s atmosphere does help you sympathise with the character in quite a strange way as you get to experience the torment that is being unloaded upon them. It makes you want to strive even further for success to reach the goal you are searching for, especially when it aids you in development
I personally loved the graphics for this game as the layered style use for the world is something I quite enjoy seeing being used in different ways. These styles are able to be adapted brilliantly when used with a strong vision which is demonstrated in Soulless but has also appeared in titles such as Little Big Planet and of course, Limbo. Although the silhouette foreground is used in this game for everything interactive apart from the main character, the changing shades of the background help complement this and make the world feel as though there is potential for life and success. With the story line being so negative and quite pessimistic, the use of colour does help not to feel a bit withdrawn and holds your attention.
A section in the game where you find yourself being chased by a “wall” which presents a time limit to escape was quite fun and interesting. It was as though you were not trying to be destroyed but left a feeling of being potentially captured which was again, brought across by the visual style that had been captured. It did make me feel an increased sense of urgency, more than I normally would in that sort of circumstance which was something else I found myself enjoying, making me want to find out what challenge was coming next.
The music used in the background was relaxing throughout most of the game which did bring a sense of ease that could easily capture you off guard when trying to work your way through some interesting puzzles and events. It did capture a sense of loneliness for the character too which contributed to the game’s atmosphere successfully. The sound effects were clear and made it much smother with giving feedback during successful interactions throughout, feedback is an important aspect with platformers in my personal opinion, whether it be graphically or done through sound.
I think the replayability factor for this game does seem near to non-existent as I feel the only time that you would decide to play again would be when you want to play through the puzzles a second time and experience the story. There is no way new routes and experiences can be taken as the game itself is quite linear and with that being the way the character develops, there is no alternative way to play the game. Unless you felt the need to challenge yourself in completing the game in a faster time or for some other personal feat.
I did find that I enjoyed my play through the world of Soulless and it gave me a few hours of pleasant experience and unforgiving puzzles. I would recommend playing this game greatly as it will not take up a large amount of your time but it is an experience that I believe does need to be shared. The story was dark but enjoyable, which was to be expected from the title itself and overall a strong well-rounded platformer.
REVIEW CODE: A complimentary PC code was provided to Brash Games for this review. Please send all review code enquiries to firstname.lastname@example.org.
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