Mastermind video game architect Hidetaka Miyazaki and developer FromSoftware Inc. introduced the Soulslike genre to the industry with the Demon’s Souls series in 2009. low level enemies. can feel like standalone boss fights.
On paper, this formula does not make for an engaging or fun video game experience. However, Soulslike games can be innovative, memorable, and even groundbreaking when done right. If you’re looking for a game or series to quench your thirst for punishment, redemption, and victory over the soul-tainted odds, sit down at the bonfire, my friend; here are some of the best Soulslike games.
10/10 The surge
Deck 13’s The Surge is an action RPG where you save the world by dismembering aliens, robots, and zombies without harm. The developer’s dedication to the Souls formula makes the game feel like Techno Punk Dark Souls.
The Surge lets you target various limbs and body parts in hopes of dismembering them for items and armor. You can use these items to craft weapons that can be modified and upgraded. The Surge introduces a countdown mechanic to the Souls-branded corpse race. Do not return to your corpse and you risk losing hours of experience.
9/10 Let it die
‘Let It Die’ from developer Grasshopper Manufacture is a Soulslike action-RPG where you and your skateboarding grim reaper guide – Uncle Death – smash your way through a tower of monsters dripping with its unique style and goofy storytelling .
In Let it Die, when you perish, your death data and combat skills are downloaded into a clone of your character. Beware of death in this game because the more you die the harder your doppelganger becomes.
8/10 Ni-oh 2
Fight your way through distinct and unique environments in beautifully stylized 1600s Japan in Nioh. If you’re a gamer who prefers Soulslikes to have deep combat mechanics focused on weapon stances and synergy, intense encounters, and varied environments, look no further than 2017’s Nioh from Team Ninja and Kou Shibusawa.
Complementing Nioh’s smart and intense combat is how weapon stances and synergy unlock various abilities, buffs, and a living weapon skill that makes you more powerful and invulnerable for a period of time.
Beautifully animated and beautifully scored, Sloclap’s Sifu can rival the most popular Soulslike games. The game packs no punches in micro-dosing its levels of abuse. With over 150 unique attacks, Sifu is not a game that will get old quickly (pun intended).
In Sifu, you age several years when you die and are resurrected where you died all those years ago. Along with your intergenerational revenge story, you can unlock permanent upgrades to help you on your journey. As you age, you will gain more powerful attacks and experience, but at the expense of your overall health. Each time you die, you lose a percentage of your health until you can’t revive again, and it’s game over.
6/10 Salt and Sanctuary
Ska Studios and designer James Silva adapt the Souls formula wonderfully in their side-scrolling 2D platformers Salt and Sanctuary; more recently, Salt and Sacrifice. Released in 2016, Salt and Sanctuary has a unique Souls art style that lets you dodge enemies at your leisure.
What sets this game apart from the more user-friendly Soulslikes is that it explains very little and relies on you to explore and experiment with various character builds and weapons.
5/10 Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order
Respawn Entertainment’s 2019 action-adventure Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order is a masterful blend of Soulslike combat and breathtaking scenery. An instant classic upon release, Fallen Order excels in nearly every development category. The game asks you to manage stamina during combat, but the overall difficulty of this game is arguably lower than most Soulslike games.
Even gamers unfamiliar with the Star Wars canon will get more out of this game than most licensed video games. Be prepared for challenging gameplay, intense lightsaber battles, and a rather dark Star Wars narrative.
4/10 Remnant From The Ashes
Remnant From The Ashes takes fourth place on this list because it marries the Soulslike flow of combat with fun co-op gameplay. Explore this vast world with distinctive locations and environments suitable for grinding rare loot. Along with the harrowing difficulty of Soulslike games, a common thread that keeps most fans coming back to Remnant From The Ashes is the grind.
With a total of 49 weapons ranging from sniper rifles, blunt hammers, explosive crossbows and a railgun, you and your friends will rarely have a dull moment. Remnant From The Ashes also excels in the impact feel of all weapon types. Enemies react so realistically to impact that you won’t even notice the hours pass.
Tunic is a wonderful isometric action-adventure game where you play as a little fox in a beautifully rendered open world. A masterpiece and marvel of video game development for sure, Tunic is heavily inspired by Zelda A Link To The Past and is equally a joy to control and explore. Created by one person, Andrew Shouldice, Tunic excels as a Soulslike game due to its smooth control, visually arresting art style, absolute darkness at the start of the game, and the way its level design encourages exploring.
Armed with your wits and a staff, you embark on an adventure with little instructions or an explanation of the state of the world. Washing up on an island with no sense of direction can be a death sentence for most, but venture further and be rewarded with the tiniest bit of information presented in the form of an old-school NES instruction manual. Although challenging in some areas, the whole package will end with a delightful gaming experience.
2/10 Hollow Knight
Hollow Knight sets the standard for a 2D open-world action platformer with a Soulslike hook. You play as a silent protagonist insect-knight in an incredibly vast and wonderfully detailed underground insect kingdom known as Hallownest.
Geo is Hollow Knight’s currency which is used to power spells and abilities. You can also use it to heal your bug knight. You lose your Geos when you die and must return to your place of death, or Shade, to collect them. If you die again before reaching your Shade, the Geos disappear forever.
Exploration and curiosity are greatly rewarded in Hollow Knight, and the cohesive world design is second to none. Team Cherry has masterfully crafted dozens of distinct enemies for you to destroy with abilities, charms, and spells. All of these elements keep the gameplay fresh and unique. The music and sound design also deserve an honorable mention, as the moody and intense settings will keep you engaged throughout the exploration.
1/10 dead cells
In Developer Motion Twins’ award-winning triumph, Dead Cells, you are a bag-of-bones 2D character who is miraculously brought back to life after being infected by a green globe of sewage. Get used to this scene because you will see it often.
Dead Cells is a delightfully challenging 2D platformer where the goal is to get as far between levels as possible without dying. Throughout each run, you will encounter different bosses. You can tailor your abilities to pair them with item constructs. You uncover weapons, which are then added to cups as items you uncover on subsequent runs.
Combat in Dead Cells is fierce and viciously fast. Enemies are smart, brilliantly animated, and extremely punishing. On death, you are rewarded with cells to power up various weapons, stationary turrets, healing/damage totems, and other abilities.
Taking the top spot on this list is no small feat considering the titans of previous Soulslike games. But, Dead Cells is a game like no other as it borrows gameplay tropes from other well-known Soulslike games and executes them flawlessly.