The soulslike genre has taken the gaming world by storm, rising as one of the fastest-growing genres in recent history. Inspired by the monumental success of FromSoftware's legendary Dark Souls series, both big-budget and indie studios have embarked on a quest to replicate the winning formula that thrust challenging games back into the limelight. Join us as we delve into the realm of soulslike games and uncover the absolute best this genre has to offer.
Ender Lilies: Quietus of The Knights - A Haunting Symphony of Souls:
In the desolate remnants of a once-great kingdom, Ender Lilies: Quietus of The Knights stands tall, unafraid to showcase its Dark Souls inspiration. Set in a world akin to the Dark Souls universe, Ender Lilies tantalizes players with tough yet predictable enemies, reminiscent of its predecessor's combat system. However, this game manages to forge its own unique identity through mesmerizing artistry, a Metroid-inspired world, and a slightly more forgiving difficulty level. Prepare to join Lily, a priestess in Land's End, as she binds with the spirit of a fallen knight, embarking on a perilous journey to vanquish the encroaching evil once and for all.
Eldest Souls - A Pixelated Saga of Epic Proportions:
Venturing into another fallen kingdom, Eldest Souls presents an isometric boss-rush soulslike experience. Though its setting may appear somewhat derivative, Eldest Souls captivates players with its breathtaking pixel art and imaginative boss arenas. The combat mechanics stay true to the genre's roots, featuring menacing bosses with telegraphed attacks that demand precise stamina management. The addition of a magic-focused skill tree injects fresh life into the soulslike formula, offering a unique twist on character progression. Prepare to be enthralled by this pixelated masterpiece.
Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order - May the Souls be with You:
In a galaxy far, far away, Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order takes the spotlight as the most renowned soulslike experience. Blending triple-A shine with a slightly diluted version of the genre's combat system, Fallen Order offers a more forgiving experience than its counterparts. However, on higher difficulty settings, its soulslike DNA becomes more apparent, punishing players for even the slightest misstep. Brace yourself for the gripping tale of Cal Kestis, a Jedi Padawan battling to escape the clutches of the Galactic Empire, armed with an array of Force abilities and a lightsaber that demands mastery.
Dead Cells - A Roguelite Symphony of Chaos:
Breaking away from the traditional soulslike mold, Dead Cells embarks on a mechanically unique journey through a roguelite world. Instead of exploring a static kingdom, players face randomized levels and a relentless onslaught of challenging foes. Dead Cells ditches the stamina bar, opting for battles against progressively tougher enemies to test your timing and skill. With each run, you must cobble together the best gear and abilities, leading to ever-evolving gameplay. Brace yourself for the role of the Prisoner, as you strive to escape an island using the bodies of the fallen.
Nioh 2 - Unleashing Ancient Demons with Style:
Standing tall among non-FromSoftware soulslike games, Nioh 2 presents an awe-inspiring realization of the Dark Souls formula. Transplanting the setting to ancient Japan, Nioh 2 elevates the difficulty to new heights, challenging even the most resilient players. Prepare to be pushed to your limits as you immerse yourself in its incredible combat and meticulously crafted world. Step into the shoes of Hide, a half-demon warrior harnessing great powers, and engage in intense battles against legendary Sengoku Era foes. Team Ninja's masterpiece awaits your indomitable spirit.
Salt and Sanctuary - A Bleak Symphony of Despair:
Pioneering the 2D soulslike genre, Salt and Sanctuary still shines as a prime example of effective adaptation without outright mimicry. Trapped in a kingdom ravaged by ruin, you're not burdened with the grandiose task of saving it; instead, your singular goal is to escape. The oppressive horror of Salt and Sanctuary's art style and crushing boss fights envelope you as you delve deeper into the kingdom. Prepare to immerse yourself in a dark and unforgiving world, where escape is your only salvation.
Hollow Knight - A Journey Through Sublime Darkness:
Among the 2D soulslike giants, Hollow Knight reigns supreme, captivating players with its delicate art style and intricately designed levels. Beneath its deceptively simple 2D exterior lies a rich and immersive plot, waiting to be unraveled. Embark on an exploration journey as The Knight, traversing a Metroidvania setting, conquering challenging bosses, and navigating a vast map that beckons you forward. Hollow Knight's allure lies not only in its visual and gameplay aesthetics but also in the profound depth of its world and narrative.
Lords of the Fallen - A Majestic Battle Against Demonic Tyranny:
In the realm of soulslike games, Lords of the Fallen offers a visually stunning and challenging experience that pays homage to the Dark Souls series. Set in a world ruled by a fallen god and his demonic army, players assume the role of Harkyn, a convicted criminal with a chance at redemption. With a weighty combat system that emphasizes strategic timing and weapon choice, Lords of the Fallen delivers intense battles against colossal foes. Immerse yourself in its atmospheric world and face the ultimate test of your skills as you combat the forces of darkness.
The soulslike genre has spawned a rich tapestry of games that aim to capture the essence of challenging gameplay, atmospheric worlds, and deeply satisfying combat. From the haunting beauty of Ender Lilies and Eldest Souls to the galactic adventure of Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order, the roguelite chaos of Dead Cells, the brutal elegance of Nioh 2, the despair of Salt and Sanctuary, and the sublime darkness of Hollow Knight, each game offers a unique take on the soulslike formula. Embark on these soulful journeys and discover the best soulslike adventures that will test your skills, reward your perseverance, and leave an indelible mark on your gaming experience.