Release Window: Q3 2024
Platforms: Xbox Series X|S, PlayStation 5, Nintendo Switch, and PC
Publisher: Merge Games

The thing about Selfloss is that it is a beautiful, slightly slower paced, puzzle-like game that you can irrevocably fall in love with quite easily like I did during my brief hands-on demo. Inspired by Slavic lore and set in a fantasy world, you play as Kazimir, an old healer who is trying to heal his own soul wound. For my Selfloss demo, I was dropped in at the beginning of the game and I was given an opportunity to complete the first level.

The gameplay mechanics are fairly straightforward: You can maneuver around the world, and you use the light from a magic staff in order to destroy Miasma — which are dark blobs that threaten the world. You focus the light from your staff on enemies to defeat them or on particular ‘spots’ to light up runes in order to solve puzzles. You can even park your staff in one spot and direct the light around with one joystick while you run around with Kazimir elsewhere.

Truthfully though, you will have a hard time not enjoying how simply beautiful the world is and how wonderful the music by Arigto is. The waves of the water are mesmerizing, the graphics are clearly inspired by paintings in a format similar to BABYLON’S FALL, and the world feels like a truly semi-open experience. I felt like I spent more time wandering around the world of Selfloss just seeing what is around each corner — as there are large optional areas to explore — than I did actually pushing through the demo storyline.

The puzzles in Selfloss often have multiple ways to solve them. I did one rotating ruins puzzle towards the end of my demo where I would hit the button, rotate the necessary rune around, and then hit it with my light staff to glow. After I finished, the game’s developer explained to me that another way he had seen people solve it was to drop the magic staff next to the runes, hold the light on the spot where the runes appear, and just stand on the button to light them all up at once. Both approaches are equally valid, and I honestly did not feel dumber for how I did it versus how other people did it.

Selfloss | Crossing various environments.
Selfloss feels like an exploration game first and foremost, with a real desire to tell its story before anything else. (Images courtesy of Goodwin Games).

Selfloss| Piloting a ship across waters.

Selfloss‘ story is told through images that appear in thought bubbles above various characters’ heads, and I was able to follow the plot for the most part. The goal for each level is to solve the soul wounds and to help beings move on via the Selfloss ritual. For the demo level I did, I had to help a sea turtle move on. In order to do so, I needed both a Blue Feather and to extract the essence from a Selfloss fish. Obtaining the blue feather was fairly simple, but extracting the Selfloss fish essence was a different matter. You play a type of reflex minigame where you have to hit buttons in time with audio/visual cues, and I struggled to do that. It honestly took me longer than I expected to do, though that will hopefully be something better ironed out before release.  One final aspect that I want to talk about is combat — you have to use your light staff on Miasma enemies in order to defeat them. The fighting is fairly basic, but it was fun enough to do and not overly difficult.

Selfloss | Statute pointing in a direction.
Selfloss tells its story through wordless actions of characters and images that appear above their heads. (Image courtesy of Goodwin Games).

I am genuinely looking forward to Selfloss when it comes out in Q3 2024. This game feels like a story experience that is meant to be explored by gamers over time to uncover all the little secrets everywhere within it.

Are you excited for Selfloss and its focus on storytelling?

Let us know in the comments below!

Quentin H.
I have been a journalist for oprainfall since 2015, and I have loved every moment of it.