Soulslike games are ever-increasing in popularity. Since the first major splash made by the release of FromSoftware’s Demon’s Souls on PlayStation 3 in 2009, the subgenre has been unstoppable. Series creator Hidetaka Miyazaki and his team have continuously iterated on the formula over the years, bringing us the likes of Dark Souls, Bloodborne, and Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice.
The popularity of Soulslike games has not gone unnoticed by other developers. Hollow Knight, Nioh, Salt & Sanctuary, and many more critically acclaimed games were created off the foundations FromSoftware set.
However, there are some gems that may not have hit your radar. We’ve compiled an incomplete list of Soulslike games that will likely pique your interest.
Hellpoint from Cradle Games is a relatively new addition to the list of Soulslike games. It features all the similar trappings of a Soulslike game, so you’ll feel right at home. Though, it’s the game’s environment that sets it apart from most.
Hellpoint has a deep sci-fi spin and takes place on a derelict space station. Players will fight their way through an onslaught of demonic enemies, and try to solve the mystery of what happened on the Irid Novo station.
The game also features an interesting game mechanic in its Black Hole Clock. As the Nova station circles around a black hole, the map and enemies will change when the in-game clock hits the “black hole hour.” Secret doors will open up and enemies will become more difficult during this period. It’s a novel addition that consistently keeps you on your toes throughout the game.
Lords of the Fallen
Deck13’s Lords of the Fallen may have escaped the purview of many players as it is relatively older than many other games on the list.
It leans on its heavy close-quarter combat, set in a more traditional medieval fantasy world. Once you start to get used to the game, it feels more accessible in its difficulty than other games of its ilk. However, what throws many off, including me, is the slower combat. Many Soulslikes give you option to fight slowly and deliberately, but combat in Lords of the Fallen feels outright sluggish.
That said, customization is top notch. Harkyn, the playable character, can be customized through a selection of different classes. While other Soulslikes allow for more freeform in how you play, the classes here enable a classic RPG approach.
Developed by Spanish studio The Game Kitchen, Blasphemous is equal parts Soulslike and Metroidvania. This is the first on the list that takes a liberal deviation from the third-person perspective. Instead, Blasphemous is reminiscent of the 16-bit era, yet proudly wears its Souls inspiration on its sleeve.
Blasphemous ‘ setting and story are largely influenced by Roman Catholicism. With heavy inspirations from games like Castlevania, Blasphemous has remained in my mind long after playing it due to its rich setting and amazing soundtrack.
The enemies hit hard, but as you progress and learn their patterns, you can hit even harder. Reaching those late-stage boss battles like Tres Angustias, you’ll be overwhelmed with a sense of satisfaction when (eventually) claiming victory.
Titan Souls from Acid Nerve is another game that is formed around its own unique gameplay perspective. The game is a 2D top-down action adventure with frenetic combat. Apart from having Souls in its name, Titan Souls plays fast and loose with its Soulslike inspirations. That said, based on its approach to difficult boss battles, Titan Souls should not be overlooked as a Soulslike game.
The game offers a different difficulty curve, as you are quite powerful from the start. However, so are the bosses. While your damage output can take down a boss in seconds, you will fall from one or two hits.
This risk-reward system layers the combat approach in that you can’t go into each battle headstrong. Instead, learn the boss’s patterns and form an approach that guarantees safety.
A44 released Ashen in 2018 and as far as underrated Soulslikes go, this is near the top of the list. While staying so near to the Souls formula, Ashen takes clear steps away to differentiate itself, and it all works.
Games like Dark Souls have a touch of co-op play, in that you can call on other players to assist you during bosses. Ashen is a passive co-op experience, you just may not know it yet. As you progress, you’ll round up new NPCs that can follow you and help battle enemies. However, those NPCs can be optionally controlled by players. Random matchmaking can occur at any time. With no voice chat, you and your companion must face dangers and assist each other in clever ways.
From its setting, Ashen is the anti-Dark Souls. It’s bright and vibrant. The art style is as minimalist as it comes. For those looking for a break away from the gothic darkness that the genre is usually steeped in, Ashen is very refreshing.
Finally, we’ve reached Cold Symmetry’s Mortal Shell. This is by and large the game that comes closest to replicating the Soulslike formula. From the moment-to-moment gameplay loop to the precise pixel-perfect combat, Mortal Shell knocks it out of the park.
Mortal Shell is a much more contained experience than the Souls games. While only lasting 10-12 hours, the world and story of the game strings you along and envelops you. The assortment of weapons – especially the balistazooka – make combat as satisfying as you’d expect.
Though, it’s largely the game’s Hardening mechanic that makes it stand out. Using this move, you can withstand an enemy attack without taking damage. It’s an interesting addition to the gameplay loop that adds more texture to the game.
If you’re a fan of the Soulsborne franchise and Soulslike games, and have been patiently awaiting the release of Elden Ring, try some of these games and let us know your thoughts!