Soulless: Ray of Hope (PC) Review

By Adam Riley 23.12.2016

Review for Soulless: Ray of Hope on PC

How far would you go to save a friend? That is the question asked of Elin, a sort of Moomin-styled character, in Frisky Fatal Games and Meridian4's Soulless: Ray of Hope. There have been more and more platform puzzlers in recent years that use a silhouette style of graphical approach to augment the atmosphere, lulling gamers into that safe zone that "it looks lovely, so it can't be too hard, right?" sort of mindset. Soulless does the same, but hey, that's getting ahead of ourselves a bit, so let's take a step back and kick off this latest review. What does this latest indie style effort have that the competition lacks?

Being classed as an "enigmatic indie 2D puzzle platformer" pretty much hits the nail on the head. Right from the start, Soulless: Ray of Hope gives off the feel of games like Ori and the Blind Forest, Knytt Underground, or even the lesser known, yet just as engaging, Typoman. The beauty of it is that there is such depth to the adventure, rather than merely being skin deep in its appeal. From the dastardly platform leaps, to the smart puzzles preventing progress, to the oddities in terms of characters met along the way, and the high levels of detail put into the entire experience, it is all a real sight to behold.

Screenshot for Soulless: Ray of Hope on PC

The lead character, Elin, is the eponymous "Ray of Hope" in a very bleak world full of monstrosities, with the aim being to rescue Elin's friend by overcoming some of the deepest, darkest fears around. Get ready for dark hands chasing you down corridors, buzz saws whirring away and waiting to chop Elin down with the slightest touch, evil eyes watching your every move, and all manner of traps to stunt advancement towards the final goal of redemption.

Soulless may not be the longest platform romp around, but there are more than enough conundrums thrown in along the way to keep players satisfied, as well as numerous tortuous platform sections that thankfully have very close checkpoints available because death is something the will happen often. Not quite Super Meat Boy levels of often, but still more than would be expected given the sedate start to Ray of Hope. After all, Elin starts the game off by slowly meandering around, hopping on switch panels, and carrying a few boxes around.

Screenshot for Soulless: Ray of Hope on PC

Even then, getting a little further in, Elin sprouts wings that can be used once having leapt into the air, spreading wide and allowing for gliding when needing to float longer distances or to ensure some of the nasty looking spikes dotted around do not bring harm to the hero of the hour. There are even plenty of gravitational elements brought into play later on, with leaping into portals that switch Elin from ground to ceiling and back again being present, with one particular moment of needing to constantly switch mid-air to avoid the depths below and spikes above being of real note, getting those nerves a-rattling! The gravity aspect also gets used for attack bosses with falling debris, using a portable gravity-switcher to reverse the direction of projectiles. Real love and attention has gone into the crafting of Soulless, and it is felt almost every step of the way.

Screenshot for Soulless: Ray of Hope on PC

Soulless: Ray of Hope will delight and surprise gamers, then possibly frustrate them at times, before making them fall in love with how masterful a creation this is. Do not be fooled by the lead character's appearance - this is no softy, cutesy title, as there is plenty of bite ready and waiting in the shadows. One tougher than necessary boss long before the end credits, and a slower than sometimes ideal camera that causes a few leaps of faith are the only two drawbacks, but barely detract from the splendour on offer. Trying to unlock the different endings via replaying is a definite joy. Here's hoping this hits other platforms, with a sequel to follow.

Screenshot for Soulless: Ray of Hope on PC

Cubed3 Rating

8/10
Rated 8 out of 10

Great - Silver Award

Rated 8 out of 10

What an intriguing game! Soulless: Ray of Hope mixes all sorts of clever puzzles with some fine platform antics, keeping players on their toes in terms of the difficulty throughout. Sure, there are times where it may seem too tough to the point of having to almost memorise a certain pattern to progress past specific hazards, and the camera's slow movement does not always help matters at all, but there is so much charm here that simply cannot be overlooked, complemented by a gorgeous soundtrack full of emotion and a wonderful art approach. Ray of Hope impresses at every turn, taking a now well known formula and polishing it to reveal new beauty within.

Developer

Frisky Fatal Games

Publisher

Meridian4

Genre

2D Platformer

Players

1

C3 Score

Rated $score out of 10  8/10

Reader Score

Rated $score out of 10  0 (0 Votes)

European release date Out now   North America release date Out now   Japan release date Out now   Australian release date Out now   

Comments

There are no replies to this review yet. Why not be the first?

Comment on this article

You can comment as a guest or join the Cubed3 community below: Sign Up for Free Account Login

Preview PostPreview Post Your Name:
Validate your comment
  Enter the letters in the image to validate your comment.
Submit Post

Subscribe to this topic Subscribe to this topic

If you are a registered member and logged in, you can also subscribe to topics by email.
Sign up today for blogs, games collections, reader reviews and much more
Site Feed
Who's Online?
jgeist

There are 1 members online at the moment.