3Souls (Wii U) Review

By Nikola Suprak 07.12.2017

Review for 3Souls on Wii U

The key for a great episodic game is to release substantial content within a relatively quick time frame. Release something boring and people won't stick around for future instalments, and take too long and people will stop caring by the time the next part is released. 3Souls went a different route with things. The developer released the first episode in the middle of last year and it was terrible. It would be hard to put forward anything that could make up for the time since and the quality of the first episode. With the second and third episode recently released, it is time to revise Cubed3's initial impressions and review the experience as a whole.

3Souls is an interlocking story of three, uh, souls. The guy who was supposed to come up with a creative title was apparently out sick, but regardless, the story is told from the point of view of three different protagonists, one for each chapter. The first chapter and first protagonist was told over a year ago and no one remembers enough about the game to provide any sort of accurate summary. Not that it matters, because the plot here is so paper thin that it doesn't really matter how much of the first episode is remembered or not.

Each protagonist has their own very terrible voice actor that sounds like they were just pulled off the street to read some lines because the actual voice actor called in sick, with a sort of loose plot about this dystopian world where someone's soul can be taken by a flower for breaking one of numerous rules. The focus of the story is on these three characters, and very little of the backstory of the actual place is explained in any way. It seems like some sort of dystopian world, but again not much thought is put into fleshing any of this out. Only the most superficial attention is even paid to any of the characters, and as a result, the story here feels like a generic mush of nothingness.

Screenshot for 3Souls on Wii U

That is, of course, if anyone can even still remember what the first third of the story was about.
This feels like the ultimate waste of an episodic game. The first episode came out over a year ago, and then the second and third come out at the same time long after anyone could possibly still care about how the experience concluded. Both episodes here are each only roughly twenty minutes in length, and there isn't any significant new gameplay added, raising the question as to what the developers spent the past year on. It certainly wasn't the visuals, because the third episode here looks like something that could be found in a ten-year-old's notebook. It's just this sort of rough doodle, and it is hard to tell if this was done because of some sort of artistic design choice or if because they were six months behind schedule and just needed to get the game out.

It is just mind boggling that a game this short and with so little content could have possibly taken this long to get out after the first episode was released. A twenty-minute game took another year to get the rest of the game out, and it's only another forty minutes long. It doesn't matter how extraordinary the game itself would be, the distribution here is a complete mess and soured any chance the game had to be remotely entertaining.

Fortunately, that doesn't even matter in the slightest, because the game itself is terrible. Like its first episode, 3Souls is a lazy tech demo pretending to be a full game. It spends so much time trying to figure out how to integrate all the features of the Wii U GamePad into the gameplay that it never actually gets around to doing anything interesting. The most egregious example of this is portions where a gate needs to be opened and the only way to do so is by selecting the correct colour corresponding to the gate.

Screenshot for 3Souls on Wii U

Most games would have the player doing this by having them select the colour or picking the right option, and that's because most games don't actively seem to be trying to annoy the person playing it. Here, they want you to use the camera for the GamePad to go and scan something of the corresponding colour nearby. The game can't even pick up the colours all the time depending on the lighting, so a good chunk of the game is spent wandering around the house, trying to find the right shade of blue with enough ambient light in the background to get the game to register something. This isn't fun. No one, upon playing this game, has ever gone, "Oh, boy, time to get up and find something green!" At its absolute best, this is an annoyance that was shoehorned into the game without the developers considering if it would be fun or not.

That is the greatest issue with the 3Souls here. This is a puzzle platformer where the majority of the puzzles are just simple uses of the GamePad, but they never stop and think if using the GamePad in this way will make things more fun. Why should someone have to go find something the right colour just to do a simple scan? Is moving the GamePad around to find the secret panel more fun than just using normal buttons to do so? Does scratching off things on the GamePad to reveal the thing underneath even count as gameplay? 3Souls effectively gives you a bunch of meaningless chores to do, but apparently thinks they might be fun if you have to use the GamePad in some way to do them. Barely anything here counts as actual gameplay, and instead it feels more like they were tasked with showing off the technology of the GamePad to potential investors.

Screenshot for 3Souls on Wii U

The game itself is a sort of puzzle platformer that is light on both the puzzles and the platforming. A lot of the puzzles frequently repeat themselves, and there are stretches where the GamePad needs to be used to scan some colour back to back. There are also plenty of locked safe puzzles, where the GamePad needs to be oriented in a certain way and buttons needs to be pressed in a correct order to unlock whatever needs to be unlocked. Clues will be spread somewhere out on the screen as to which order the buttons needs to be pushed, and there was one example in the entire game where they actually got kind of clever with it and force you to think. Almost all of them, though, are some variation of "look up" or "look down," and it honestly just feels like the developers ran out of ideas at times.

So many extremely basic puzzles and a couple of sections of extremely basic platforming are all 3Souls has to offer, and there is nothing here challenging enough to make progressing through the game feel rewarding. There is one part at the very end where it requires colours to be scanned quickly, but again that isn't what most people consider to be fun. It's the same annoyance as before, but on a time crunch, and the rest of the game can't even offer that. There are simply no ideas here, no real thought put into making things interesting or fun, and it is just one, slow walk from beginning to end.

Screenshot for 3Souls on Wii U

Cubed3 Rating

2/10
Rated 2 out of 10

Very Bad

In a sense, 3Souls is amazing because it has the decency to be universally bad. There are no qualifiers that need to be added, no "Well, if someone enjoyed this other game, they might enjoy 3Souls." There is no one that will like this, and 3Souls is one of those rare games that is entirely devoid of any merit. It is a short, pointless, boring chore that doesn't have a single good idea from beginning to end. The only good thing is they waited so long to release the second and third episodes that hopefully everyone else out there forgot this existed and won't have to play it. This isn't a reason to dust off the old Wii U again. If anything, this is a reason to launch it through the window and never look back.

Developer

Red Column

Publisher

Red Column

Genre

2D Platformer

Players

1

C3 Score

Rated $score out of 10  2/10

Reader Score

Rated $score out of 10  0 (0 Votes)

European release date Out now   North America release date Out now   Japan release date None   Australian release date Out now   

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