Review – Beat Souls (Switch)

The “-Souls” suffix is something used at this point to be synonymous with “difficult.” With Demon Souls/Dark Souls known for being some of of the hardest RPGs out there, “soulslike” has become its own genre of ultra difficult RPG. So seeing a rhythm game called Beat Souls piqued my interest immediately, being a big fan of any rhythm games, especially harder ones like Arcaea.

Beat Souls Combos and Damage

Fun fact, you can get no damage, but not full combo, but you can’t get full combo, but not no damage.

So the thing with Beat Souls is it’s not only a rhythm game, but in a way, a puzzle game. The goal of Beat Souls is to hit all the notes with two note catching tools your character has. I wish there was a proper word to use, but that is genuinely the best description, a note net. Basically, these note nets are on either side of your character, and can be moved both to one side or the other. You play across a five lane track with notes being thrown at you. Running into notes will damage your character, basically to lose you need to take enough damage. There aren’t only notes to catch though, on top of this there are walls to avoid, some things to jump over, and sometimes the colour of the notes change, so you’ll need to keep an eye on that as well.

Beat Souls Note Colours

Yellow, yellow, blue, blue: it’s almost like Guitar Hero?

The first handful of tracks, specifically with the first character, Mei, aren’t hard by any means. The difficulty spikes up rather quickly in a lot of places though, almost obscenely quickly if you bounce between a song’s normal and hard modes. The arcade mode has three characters to play, each with fifteen stages (songs), and each song has a normal and hard mode. Mei is more indie pop, for the most part not exactly to my personal taste, and the first few songs are so mellow they’re almost boring. NeNe is a bit more uptempo pop, a bit higher of a BPM making it a bit more fun. Plus, I never expected to see a song called “Urinary Intention” and not have it be by R. Kelly. Last up is Rinko, my favourite, whose tracks are a bit more rock and hard hitting. Still nothing crazy, and unfortunately no random speed metal songs tucked in, but with the last song, “Noisy Iterance” being the only song to hit 200bpm, probably the hardest of the set.


These walls can get insane.

Beat Souls also features a Hell Mode, pick your character just like in arcade mode, and survive. This mode spikes in difficulty so quickly it’s almost hard to grasp at first. Even after a bunch of runs, trying on a Pro Controller, Joy-Cons, docked, and in handheld, my highest level is still only seven, and even I’m not sure how I managed that one. If there is one thing I can suggest to make the playing experience a bit better though, adjust the visual settings; this game will burn your eyes after a while if you don’t stop the constant strobing and blinding lights. It helped maintain my focus on the actual game instead of losing track of notes and walls in the flashes.

High Score

After writing all of this, I set a new hi-score for Hell Mode. This is just here for a humble brag.

Beat Souls does genuinely deserve the –Souls title. This game’s Hell Mode is genuine hell and I challenge anyone to see what kind of a level they can achieve in it. The soundtrack strays from pretty good, to downright boring, but that’s to be expected in rhythm games. Even Guitar Hero III is boring at the start because all the good songs are the tough ones. Now, onto trying to break double digits on Hell Mode.


Graphics: 6.0

The game is cute, has a nice art style, and things are distinguishable. However, there’s minimal variety in looks outside of the three character stages, and the flashing and strobing effects are turned up WAY too high.

Gameplay: 9.0

A lot of fun to pick up and play, even if it’s only for a few songs at a time. Outside of aiming for a higher level on Hell Mode or trying to get perfect on every stage, there’s not enough reason to return. Hopefully some new songs can be added, or even a way to earn songs.

Sound: 7.0

As mentioned above, the songs in this game vary from good, to not so good. Just like any rhythm game, it can be a slog to try and get through anything you find boring. When the song hits just right though, it can be a blast to attempt over and over again.

Fun Factor: 7.5

All around a very enjoyable rhythm game, all it’s missing is a reason to keep coming back outside of playing the same handful of short songs over and over, or to improve on Hell Mode.

Final Verdict: 7.5

Beat Souls is available now on Nintendo Switch, PC, PS4, PS5, Xbox One, and Xbox Series S/X.

Reviewed on Nintendo Switch.

A copy of Beat Souls was provided by the publisher.