So when I booted this game up it froze on me in the first two minutes and all I could say was, “… Good”.
This game sounds like it was made for me – A rogue-like with tough as nails combat and an interesting risk/reward system based off of roleplaying, AND it’s on my favorite handheld? Sign me up.
…But I didn’t know to sign up for this was like signing up for a boring cult where all you do is walk slowly and look at ugly environments.
So let’s start off with the story of Soulblight. Like all rogue-like stories, it’s dumb and I don’t care; except I especially don’t care because nothing about this game makes me want to actually feel like playing it – However for those who want to know here is what I know, there’s a big powerful tree called the Soul Tree, it’s essentially a god, so it’s really important. One day the Soul Tree decides that it fucking hates people and goes, “Naw fam, here’s a plague or something xoxo”. You’re some no named jackass who has to reach the Tree and cleanse it from the Taint. Yeah, you heard me, you’re gonna be hearing the word, ‘Taint’ a lot in this review because that’s one of the most important things in the game.
So what are Taints? Well, they aren’t what you think, that’s for sure. They’re essentially a mechanic that you choose to take on which can give you benefits in your run, but it can also give you a hell of a lot of downsides. The cool thing about Taints is that they are essentially the main thing that brings the whole roleplay aspect to the game – The closest example I can bring up is Darkest Dungeon, much like when your jackass Crusader becomes a kleptomaniac and steals stuff that is really valuable, similarly Soulblight uses Taints to make you essentially play a certain way hence the roleplaying. It’ll get you some benefits, but it’ll also force you to make certain decisions at certain points depending on what Taint you choose to take on.
So there, that’s the one cool thing about this game. Now let’s talk about how goddamn ugly it is – I really can’t fault this game for looking bad, I mean maybe it’s just subjective, but I can’t bear to look at it. The first couple of times I played this game I really couldn’t tell what was what – It took me a solid minute that something that looked like just a white cube was a goddamn chest, and maybe I could forgive how ugly this game looked if it actually ran properly on my Switch. There are constant frame drops during crucial moments so it makes the already boring combat even more unbearable; let’s not forget about the number of times this game crashed on me; at least FIVE times, and sure that isn’t a lot but when all five of those crashes are in the tutorial area which then forces you to restart fully, then maybe you need to have checked your game before you decided to ship it.
Another aspect of the game is it’s top-down nature; that’s not a bad thing one of my favorite rogue-likes of all time is a top-down – The Binding of Isaac, but it’s kinda frustrating when your combat is the dumbest thing I’ve ever witnessed. It’s essentially just strafing back and forth smacking the enemy or getting smacked in the head, blocking a whole lot. Maybe activate what is essentially Witch Time if you do a perfect block or grab an enemy and wail on him if you can even get close to em’ without dying. The game gives you plenty of defense to fight around, but suffer 4 mortal wounds and you’re out. Mortal wounds are also a pretty cool mechanic which reminds me of MGS3 with its healing system. Like, suppose you get a concussion or a big nasty gash – You’re gonna be feeling the effects of that wound until you treat it.
So let’s sum up how many things I like about this game. The Taints are nice, and the mortal wound stuff is pretty neat… But other than that there’s not much else working for this game. Alright now, let me just go ahead and throw this Taint of a game in the trash and play Darkest Dungeon instead. That way I can hate my life more but at least be playing a game that I enjoy being fucked in.
If I could, I’d give Soulblight a Taint out of 10… Instead, I’ll give it a:
3.0 / 10