This is Niche Spotlight. In this column, we regularly introduce new games to our fans, so please leave feedback and let us know if there’s a game you want us to cover!
Today’s Spotlight is Soulblight, a difficult top-down roguelite RPG by My Next Games, Movie Games S.A., and PlayWay S.A.
What sets Soulblight apart from your typical hardcore action-roguelite is the heavy emphasis on roleplaying. Throughout your adventure, your character will develop personality quirks, called Taints. Embracing these quirks will gradually give you buffs and bonuses for playing a specific way, to the point that deviating from this playstyle can have serious consequences.
One example cited in the game’s Steam blurb is alcoholism, which will give you buffs when drunk, and debuffs when sober as your character’s mental state gradually deteriorates when they are forced to contemplate their own mortality and the deeds they have done. You can find a trailer above.
Soulblight‘s reception was pretty mixed when it first launched back in March, but the developer has been putting a lot of work into the game since then. My Next Games has been very active with the community, implementing new mechanics and features based on feedback, and doing polls that allow players to choose the new Taints and items added each month. A Switch port was also just announced, and will be out October 4th.
Soulblight is now available on Windows PC via Steam for $14.99, and its currently 35% off until October 8th. There’s a free demo on the Steam store page too, so why not give it a try?
Here’s a rundown of the game:
Soulblight is a dark, unforgiving, top-down action roguelike luring you to cross the thin line between good and evil. Instead of XP grinding, it introduces a Tainting Mechanics. While traveling through the shattered reality of the Sanctuary, you will receive personality traits based on your choices. These will be the main source of your strength. To harness them, you will have to act accordingly. Becoming an alcoholic means that you will be rewarded for getting drunk, but from that point being sober might prove to be unbearable.
Before entering each level of the Sanctuary you get to choose a Taint that represents a certain personality trait. That choice will shape your future experiences as each Taint unlocks a new way of gaining power – a custom mechanic designed to encourage role-playing. Tainting Mechanics channels your will to survive into actions that are aligned with your hero’s personality. As you go deeper into the Sanctuary you’ll be able to add more Taints to your character’s personality making the shifting levels of the dungeon itself a skill tree of a kind. However with each new Taint you’re a step closer to the point of no return. Are you sure you know where it is?
We look back with nostalgia at our pen and paper RPG memories. Back then, gaining XP and leveling up was only part of the fun. The thing we were most excited about was actual role-playing. For a brief moment becoming a character with all their merits but also with all their flaws. Sometimes their shortcomings would stand in the way of solving a quest at hand making the game more difficult. But because of that the characters felt more alive and that’s why we wouldn’t have it any other way.
The situation with video games is different. For the most part players can’t miss an opportunity to get precious loot or XP knowing that the game will penalize them for it. That’s why no one expect players not to fight a giant spider just because their character might have arachnophobia. So if we want players to actually roleplay there needs to be a special mechanic that will encourage them to do so. That is how our Tainting Mechanic came to be.
- A unique Tainting Mechanic designed to encourage role playing
- Tons of weapons, armor, and utility items
- Dynamic and tactical combat build around stamina management and distance control
- Optional stealth approach that complements fighting
- Randomly generated, visually breathtaking levels
- High difficulty level emphasized by permadeath mechanics
- Gameplay-driven narrative