Starry starry knight or Good knight?
It’s very hard not to like Soul Knight, even if, on first impressions and first few playthroughs,the game feels very much like a medieval version of Enter the Gungeon! There is a big hill to climb here to match the big guns of randomly generated dungeon exploring. Pretty much once Binding of Issac established a very large fanbase and massively favourable reviews, developers haven’t dragged their feet in creating a wealth of similar games, some succeeding with the afore mentioned Gungeon and others falling short with random generation throwing too many enemy types or too little in various multiple runs. There has to be balance, and luckily in this case with Soul Knight, it is pitched just right and also with a few extra tricks up its sleeve..!
After the load screen, players are certainly spoilt for choice in the character selection department.(or in this case the waiting room)There are the standard types like Knights and Wizards, mixed with Assassins and Engineers and even Werewolves and Vampires to name but a few, with each carrying a particular ability that really is down to player and their style of gameplay. Of course, experimentation is key and there is certainly plenty of hours spent just trying each character out and levelling one or all up accordingly.
Dungeons are varied with each room containing surprises.Generally its enemies that come in waves, and clearing the room reveals a chest that may contain coins, potions or a new weapon. There are rooms that just contain a single chest to open, or a statue requiring a small payment to pray granting buffs, and interestingly you may find a character who will help you out like recharge energy, grant you a new weapon or even accompany you in battle. As I stated before, Soul Knight has a few extra tricks and one of those being an hero with a fellow associate( a cat to be precise!) aiding you in battle from the off. Certain Npcs even grant to strengthen your associate or upgrade your weapon,so meeting characters can turn out to be massively beneficial in clearing out rooms quickly and easily.
With these games of course, exploration is key and on every 5th floor of the level comes a boss fight. Bosses are varied and each has different attack patterns,like the snow yeti who throws multiple snowballs and summons piercing icicles from the floor or the robot surrounded by laser shooting cctv cameras, and although I did find each boss to be a little on the small size and not the giants you usually experience in gaming, the difficulty was set just right and certainly not the souls like hardened behemoths you come to expect. Of course, beat the boss and you are rewarded with coin and special items and then you continue onto the next level,defeating more enemies, collecting coin, new items like weapon types, defeating bosses until you finish all dungeons. It’s not without death coming eventually at some point, and should that unfortunate event happen, any coin collected gets converted to blue currency and this will allow you to either continue from where you died or you can submit to the end of the run, and spend it on upgrading your character and a small boost in stats.
No character is good without decent weapons and this game has an impressive range. In fact the game boosts 170+ weapon types ranging from small knives, spears, bows, pistols, shotguns, machine guns up to futuristic laser cannons and some strange choices in between. You certainly have no excuse for not causing carnage, and the game even has a crafting room, where materials gained in dungeons can be used to create new sorts of armour and weapons,which is another addition that certainly is welcome here.
Graphically, everything is standard trend these days, pixelated visuals leaning towards retro, with an Irish jig soundtrack playing throughout, which is pleasant and kind of puzzling at the same time.
Overall, Soul Knight boasts loads of options and plenty of surprises and some slight niggles. To begin with,combat has fixed auto aim which can take some getting used to, and it can be annoying when moving around rooms and not targeting exactly what you want to shoot at.I had a few instances of camera wobbling in certain rooms which was sporadic and slightly irritating. It also just seems, that with the wealth of options and collectables here and everything looking and playing exceedingly well, that you end up with the feeling that something somewhere is missing!? A certain polish, a certain extra to make the experience seem just special and fully satisfying,yet the cause still eludes me.Still,this game is quite solid, enjoyable and addictive enough to warrant a purchase and further replays.
Soul Knight is a roguelike with many similarities to other games, yet luckily has enough extras to deviate from the same standard path the others often tread.
Very Good… just not fantastic somehow..
Thanks to Chillyroom for the code.