|Developer||Fallen Flag Studio|
|Publisher||United Label, CI Games|
|Platforms||PlayStation 4, PlayStation 5 (Reviewed), Xbox One, Xbox Series X|S, Nintendo Switch, PC|
|Release Date||July 29, 2021|
Like a moth to a flame, almost anything resembling a Souls-like becomes a must-try. Win, lose, or draw, I have to see what kind of experience the devs have in store. Apart from sharing Souls in the title, Eldest Souls emanated elements of both Dark Souls (a brutal action RPG) and Titan Souls (a brutal boss-rush game). The result is a fun, infuriating mashup that will both satisfy and incense fans.
Spiritual Content: The lore for Eldest Souls heavily contains content of deities and mankind being derived from something greater falling to earth. A great, evil deity named Eksyll has corrupted the deities. In the wake of a great war, only our hero stands a chance of toppling the god-like foes.
Violence: There’s substantial animated violence, though no gore to be concerned with.
Sexual Content: There is no sexual content.
Drugs and Alcohol: There are no drugs or alcohol I can recall.
Language/Crude Humor: I believe I remember seeing the use of a minor swear word, D***, in the game once. There is nothing otherwise mature I recall in terms of language.
Positive Content: Difficult games encourage character building through perseverance.
Eldest Souls is the first title from freshman developer Fallen Flag Studio, though you would mistake them for seasoned vets by its quality. The game features beautiful, fluid pixel-art graphics with eerie boss design and a varied, interesting world. This is a game I could see fans playing again and again.
The world is left in ruins. Eksyll, a chief evil god, has corrupted the remaining deities. With humanity all but wiped out, you’ll have to conquer the fallen celestials with nothing more than your obsidian greatsword, a bag of tricks, and special shards you take from your foes along the way. You alone are capable of conquering the corrupt gods and giving mankind a fighting chance. This will be no easy task, though. Your journey will be a difficult one.
Eldest Souls is, at its core, a boss rush game. There is a little exploration to be done, but you’re primarily just moving from one villain to the next. Each boss has its own unique look and skillset to test your mettle. You’ll have to learn each foe’s attack patterns, striking when an opening presents itself. The game rewards players for aggressive play, too, allowing the daring to restore health with follow-up attacks after a well-placed charge strike. As you play, you can mix and match loadouts from three different skill trees to let you find a style you’re comfortable with and build it up. From the passive boons of wind to the gambling rewards of fury and more, there’s more than enough to keep you experimenting throughout the game.
Don’t mistake Eldest Souls for a simple romp in the park. The difficulty is unforgiving and subsequent playthroughs only get harder. More often than not, you’ll die at least a dozen times (often, much more), learning to capitalize on attack patterns and openings in your foes’ defenses. It’s entirely plausible you’ll need to step away for a breather on occasion. Even so, you can likely finish a single run of the game in just a couple of hours or less.
I love Eldest Souls‘ pixel-art. From the creepy, otherworldly environments to the unusual NPCs and slew of boss monsters, everything is gorgeous in its own way. Animations are crisp and clear, too, ensuring nothing is lost in the muddle of on-screen action. I wish there were other weapons and gear sets to equip, as a single set of sprites feels mildly underwhelming in this day and age, but the shard and skill systems still give players ample opportunity for personalization.
I’m quite happy with the time I spent fighting the lineup of brutes Eldest Souls put in front of me. There were absolutely some frustrating fights, but it makes victory that much sweeter when you overcome. It feels like you need to dig some for the quests and narratives, pulling focus from its combat for what feels like an insubstantial reward. With the wide range of skills and ample replayability, however, players looking for a challenge should absolutely consider giving Eldest Souls a shot.
Review copy generously provided by United Label.
The Bottom Line
Eldest Souls is a difficult boss rush game with great combat, fun enemies, and a mysterious world that could break the spirit of casual adventurers.