Review – Souldiers

Who doesn’t need a good metroidvania in their life? Being what is likely one of the most rewarding, but sometimes one of the hardest (looking at you, Hollow Knight) genres in gaming, metroidvanias are appealing to all types of gaming fans. On top of that, it’s a genre that really works well with every console type. Play games on mobile? Dead Cells actually runs quite well. Switch, Xbox, Playstation, take your pick of games like Bloodstained, or Metroid Dread for some more recent, highly praised games. Today is looking at another game that falls under the genre, Souldiers, from Dear Villagers.

Souldiers is a metroidvania that kicks off immediately with an important choice to how you’re going to handle its plot. What class would you like to play as? Do you want to play as a knight, being tankier, but being slightly limited on reach? You could go for an archer, bow and arrow is always a fun gameplay mechanic. Last option is a mage, cast spells to really put yourself at an advantage. After a brief run with all three classes, I will say that the two ranged classes were definitely my preference.

Souldiers Spider

You’re a big boy, aren’t you?

While my preference may have been ranged, specifically with the archer, I will say the the mage made some of the enemies quite trivial. It was definitely better to play the mage after getting a grasp of the game though, because the limited health is really detrimental. In the spider lair there were small spiders that pop out of holes and shoot webs at you, not super powerful, but with minimal invincibility frames after being hit, quite dangerous when there are a lot of them.

The mage easily dealt with these, the basic attack from the mage shoots a magic homing arrow that will defeat them all in one hit. Luckily as you see any webs being shot at you, you are able to block. This is an advantage the knight has, a lot of blocking power, but shorter reach makes spiders climbing all over the wall a bit more of a hassle, not too bad though. The archer is right in the middle of these two, and I think the archer was actually the worst to try and defeat the spiders with. After so long, I just did my best to run through the spiders if it was an option.

A big part of what makes the archer a bit more difficult to use, and was expressly apparent with the archer specifically, was how touchy the controls are. With the analog stick, trying to shoot an arrow is quite difficult. The slightest touch up will make you aim up, and the slightest touch down will make you crouch. Unless you can keep the stick directly left or right at all times, I highly suggest changing controls to have the d-pad control the character, and the stick to use consumables.


Oh wise owl, what secrets do you have to share?

Time for a positive and a negative. First of all, the negative, I really, really don’t like spiders. Especially cawling everywhere in video games, it’s one of my biggest issues and why I never finished Resident Evil 7. A positive, maybe not for me, is the art style in Souldiers is incredible, and all the different enemies, namely the spiders as this is where we kick off the game, look different and are quite apparent that they are different and will have varying abilities. Seriously, more games need an arachnophobia mode like Grounded.

One of the most interesting parts of Souldiers is the usage of elemental orbs. Fire, sand (earth), water, wind and lightning make up the various abilities throughout Souldiers and are used for an elemental advantage or disadvantage, as well as traversing the world. Deciding what’s strong against who, what you’re weak to so you don’t take extra damage, and what you can use to progress the story is quite fun and almost gives the game a Mega Manstyle feel.

Souldiers Combat

Sometimes there’s just a lot to take in, and fire is always a solution

While the enemies in Souldiers sound great, all of them being quite noticeable in cases before you can actually see them, and the ambient sounds are great as well. Being deep in a cave with other soldiers and spiders feels creepy and unnerving. The music doesn’t quite match it as much though, boss music isn’t as high energy as you would expect, while the music in the terrain doesn’t fit completely.

Souldiers is an all-around joyful experience; its three classes being unique enough from each other, warranting different playthroughs. The use of different elemental types to fight enemies and gain an advantage, plus using them to traverse the world, is a great implementation. Characters feel unique, enemies are distinguished and not just reskins throughout, and the ambient sounds are all great. A genuinely memorable game all metroidvania fans should check out.

Graphics: 9.0

Foreground, background, and whatever other various grounds there are. All are distinguishable, decorated, and made to really fill out the world of Souldiers.

Gameplay: 9.5

Unforgiving in sections, but Souldiers throws you in and tells you “sink or swim.” Enemies telegraph their attacks with enough time to block or dodge, but you definitely need to be paying attention at all times. Marked down slightly as it is VERY difficult to use the control stick at times, specifically with the archer, but this is a control you can change.

Sound: 9.0

The ambient sounds and sound effects all throughout Souldiers are great. The biggest downfall here is the music doesn’t entice you into getting lost in the world.

Fun Factor: 10

I guarantee any and all metroidvania fans will play through this game a minimum of three times, once with each character. While the story may be the same, the way bosses, areas, and everything else need to be handled are quite different, making each run feel unique.

Final Verdict: 9.5

Souldiers is available now on Nintendo Switch, PC, PlayStation 4, Xbox One.

Reviewed on Xbox One.

A copy of Souldiers was provided by the publisher.