Title: Mortal Shell
Developer: Cold Symmetry
Genre: Action Role Playing
Release Date: August 18, 2020
Version Tested: PC
Anyone who decides to try out Mortal Shell is going to be struck by the idea they’ve seen the game before. This isn’t a title that does things so differently that it stands out from the pack.
On the other hand, Mortal Shell does things well enough, it doesn’t need to be entirely new in order to succeed. If you got a chance to check out the beta about a month ago, or even just the reveal at the video game show this summer, you were likely reminded of Dark Souls.
While developers Cold Symmetry never straight up said they were trying to make a Dark Souls clone, it certainly seems as though that was the goal. Mortal Shell looks so much like Dark Souls that there are times when a person could be excused for getting confused and thinking that’s what they’re playing.
The controls are even similar. There’s the light attack and the heavy attack. There’s dodging and rolling out of the way. If nothing else this game could pass as some rather interesting DLC.
What Stands Out In Mortal Shell
While the game looks and feels like a Dark Souls clone, there is one thing that allows it to go its own way. While you take on a character that looks exactly like someone who came from Dark Souls, there is something that stands out. That is the ability to take over a shell.
In Mortal Shell you start out as a kind of spirit warrior, though it doesn’t take long for you to find the body you’re going to wear when you go into battle.
There are actually several differnet bodies you can wear and they all slightly different abilities and attributes, though this isn’t a thing where you’re going to get super powers if you find the right shell. Mainly, you go into battle with a set of weapons and hack and slash, and dodge your way through those battles.
Like Dark Souls, the battles can be pretty unforgiving. This also where your shells can come in handy.
If your health gets knocked down to a certain level, you will be ejected. You’re incredibly vulnerable while you’re outside without a body. One more hit and you’re going down.
On the flip side, if you’re able to get back into that body and that shell in time, you’re going to get your full health back. That comes in handy when you are taking on an enemy that is well above your weight class.
You’re going to find those enemies quite a bit. Did I mention this game is quite a bit like Dark Souls? Because it’s similar in that way too.
The shell is also a shell because it’s able to harden. That’s a really cool feature that becomes stronger as you go along. Time one of those hardenings just right and it becomes quite useful in battle.
The shell is a cool feature that makes the game worth playing.
Where … In The Heck Am I Going In Mortal Shell?
If there is a giant drawback to this game, it’s that it’s really, really hard to figure out not just where you’re supposed to go, but where you’ve been. While most of the maps are fun to look at and explore, one area of the world looks quite a bit like the other parts of that area.
That makes it extremely easy to get lost. It’s also easy to back track.
More than a little bit of time will be spent doing so. You’ll find yourself in spots you never wanted to return to. You’ll also wonder where the next mission is taking you.
While exploring the world is plenty fun, it gets annoying quickly. Especially considering there’s a mystery to be solved here.
The map isn’t the only thing lacking in Mortal Shell. The story in this game is a mystery that is supposed to be unraveled but that’s not made clear right away.
The reason you’re supposed to unravel the mystery is also not front and center. Granted, when playing this game, the story isn’t the reason you’re doing it. But it would still be nice if it added a little something rather than subtracted.
Verdict: Mortal Shell isn’t a great game but it’s plenty good. It’s quite a good looking game, and the enemies definitely have their own take. The problem is that there just isn’t much on offer that gamers haven’t seen before. Mortal Shell does have one gimmick that sets it apart from the crowd of Dark Souls games, but if you really want to play this kind of title, you can always go with the original.