By Josh Speer / September 2nd, 2016
PAX West is always a hectic and fun experience, and the first game I got the privilege of demoing this year was Soulblight. All it took to get me interested was the word “roguelike”, and I dived in headfirst. Soulblight is set in a dark and ominous world, complete with top down graphics and a simplistic, yet colorful, art style. The thing that makes it unique from other roguelikes is that it has tried to eschew standard XP for a new system based around Taints. Despite the somewhat unfortunate name, Taints are a feature that customizes each experience, as well as allowing you to get stronger depending on how closely you adhere to your Taint. For example, if your Taint is that you are a coward, and if you stay away from battle, you’ll get rewarded. However, if you decide to be a brute and crush your foes, you’ll get penalized with less rewards.
The game is slated to hit PC first, and it reminded me a lot of Gauntlet, just with less swarms of enemies and more exploration. I started off by picking my Taint, Paranoid, and then jumping into the fray. I quickly found out that my paranoia could be temporarily mollified by searching in chests and sneaking around enemies. However, I tend to skew aggressive in this genre, so I went and repeatedly punched any foes I saw in the face until they fell down dead. I never did find a weapon, but I started out with a helmet and a bandage. That bandage quickly came in handy, as you can take 4 progressive wounds before your hero dies. You are able to stem their negative effects if you have the proper item. For example, I got stabbed and was bleeding, so that bandage allowed me to heal my wound and move on. What it did not help, however, was when I got myself cornered by three spear wielding foes who quickly made mincemeat of me. I did manage to kill one of them beforehand, which I’m quite proud of.
All in all, I enjoyed my time with Soulblight, and look forward to seeing how it progresses. Be sure to check it out when it eventually hits PC.