Wayward Souls is a 16-bit, top down RPG for the iPhone or iPad with a very steep learning curve, and let me tell you the team at Rocketcat Games didn’t make it an easy game. It’s a game that you’re either going to love or hate.
I really enjoyed my time with the game, although this was once I got the hang of it. Wayward Souls starts off with a Castlevania-esque style castle where your starting character, the paladin, has discovered that dark magic has consumed the once great Baron Amaranth and changed him into something vile.
As a true paladin, he cannot believe this and confronts the Baron, ready to vanquish the evil that is plaguing him. Sadly, with one swift blow aimed at the paladin, the Baron kills him. You start off with a choice of three characters at the beginning of the game, and more are unlocked as you go through the main quest or side-missions. You have the noble warrior, the sly rogue, or the magically gifted mage.
Each hero has their own traits and abilities, all of which are upgradeable with in game coins that you get from fighting off your enemies, and trust me there are plenty of them. Your goal is to make it to the top of the castle with one of these warriors and vanquish the evil Baron from whence he came. Unfortunately for you my friend, is no easy task at all.
Monsters of all kinds surround you at every turn and potions are few and far between, whereas boss fights are incredibly hard if you’re not smart about the moves you make. However, with a little patience and grinding, Wayward Souls will begin to really draw you in.
Upgrading your abilities and seeing that you made it a little further towards the castle is a real treat as the game gives you stats at the end of each death, just to show how far you’ve come. This kind of thing simply makes you want to strive to go even farther.
The dungeons within Wayward Souls are randomized every time you die, and monsters change from demons throwing pick axes to worms that dig underground and pop up right behind you.
Coming from this, it never gets old when you have to go through the first half of the dungeon again. There are also random forges and altars that give you random perks or weapons scattered throughout the dungeons, key points where you can try to even the playing field – and trust me you will need it.
You will keep getting mobbed and you will die a lot, however when you die, all of the loot you had collected gets dropped next to your corpse, and you’ll respawn back at the beginning. Hopefully, this type of learning experience will make you think before you just go running around swinging your sword.
If you want to survive in this game dodging, evading, and timing your attacks are critical to overcoming your enemies, while running blind and aimlessly swinging your sword will just get you wiped out – losing that killer sword you just forged, or the perk you just acquired.
The soundtrack in Wayward Souls is amazing, making the game a true delight coming from your phone’s speakers. Hearing your sword swing and cut into a room full of monsters never gets old. This really surprised me how well the developers took even the sound design very seriously when they made this game.
The controls in Wayward Souls are tight with only a few hiccups, like when I tried to swing my sword I would mistakenly throw out an ax or put my shield up. I also noticed when the screen has a lot of enemies, it would get overwhelming trying to run, throw, and swing a sword. However, once I got more comfortable with the controls, those small issues didn’t really bother me.
Graphically, the game is beautiful for being a 16-bit palette, but it reminds me of older games from that era. Each sprite looks the part, and there are plenty of different hordes of monsters that want to take your life. Caves look great as you walk through them while they’re lit with the torches that hang on the walls.
The developers really made a tight game, the only thing that I would add is a way to buy potions after you left the floor of the dungeon, or if there was a way to purchase weapons. Wayward Souls is game for people who really like a game that doesn’t hold your hand and coax you every step of the way.
If you like a challenge and games that crush your soul in difficulty are your cup of tea, then Wayward Souls is your next contender. For the money you’re getting a great game that you’re not beating in a day or getting bored with easily. The game keeps you on your toes and gives you just enough to keep you hooked for while, for five bucks it’s money well spent.
I have to say I really liked this game, despite the fact that it kicked my butt and punished me for making stupid mistakes. Despite this, it never felt like it was too much to where I wanted to rage quit.
The game features more of a learning curve that I scaled every time I died. I only played it on the iPhone, although it would of been nice to try this out on the iPad and I think for a game like this, it could make the difference having a larger screen.
Wayward Souls truly shines as a beautiful, well done game with a huge learning curve that may make some shy away from its difficulty level, but others will find that the challenge makes the game truly stand out above the rest.
Wayward Souls was reviewed using a code provided by Rocketcat Games. You can find additional information about Niche Gamer’s reviews/ethics policy here.