Reply Game Studios’ upcoming action title Soulstice, which is now available to pre-order ahead of its release this fall. The new combat-focused game will have our main characters, the sisters Briar and Lute, work in unison, using an array of destructive weapons and otherworldly powers to overcome their enemies and save the city of Ilden. With the announcement of their newest game, they released a demo along with it. We got our hands on the Reply Game Studios demo. Find out how it is with our preview of the game demo of Soulstice.
Story: Save a city fallen under a supernatural threat
In Soulstice, we see the sisters Briar and Lute as our main characters, reborn as a chimera. The transformation has granted Briar superhuman strength and resilience, while Lute, who was sacrificed in order to bind her soul to her sister’s, has become a ghost with mystical powers. The two are sent on a seemingly suicidal mission by the Order when the balance of the Holy Kingdom of Keidas is compromised when powerful, feral creatures known as wraiths invade from the other side of the veil surrounding and destroying the city of Ilden through a tear in the sky. They arrive in the city only to find out that there is certainly more at play in the fallen city that may involve the Order they work for and may have their very own origins.
Jump into an intriguing story of supernatural forces and dangerous secrets as you play and master the two characters, Briar and Lute. The pacing isn’t too bad, with plenty of cutscenes to watch within each chapter allowing for the surrounding events in the city to unfold. The story doesn’t feel to dragged out, the characters will do a bit of exploration and combat before another cut scene or short conversation will take place, giving enough time in between to break up things. Unfortunately, the world does feel a bit empty, with only a handful of characters littering the massive city. With so much happening in the city, it would be interesting to see side areas with survivors allowing players to dive into the city’s history a bit.
Gameplay: Work together using your powers to explore and defeat enemies
Soulstice will have players jumping, hacking, and slashing their way through enemies with a Devil May Cry flair. Controlling two characters at once: sisters named Briar and Lute. You primarily control Briar, using her powerful melee attacks and abilities, while Lute, her sister, a spirit bound to Briar, acts in a support role by using her otherworldly abilities to affect the battlefield. Using slowing effects, shields, and reflection, Lute augments Briar’s capabilities creating a more versatile character in combat. Lute can activate both a blue evocation and a red banishment field that allows Briar to interact with enemies and objects of the same color. You’ve got to be careful, though, because if Lute keeps a field up for too long, she will overcharge and be out of commission for a few seconds, leaving Briar largely defenseless.
The evocation and banishment fields are also wielded in the field, allowing the sisters to gain more resources to enhance weapons and abilities or to access previously inaccessible areas. Soulstice will have players almost constantly wielding these abilities in full all of the time between combat and exploration. Unfortunately, during our preview of Soulstice, we found that communicating with Lute in tense situations could be strained. Switching between the fields, Lute would become unresponsive when needing to switch fields or turn them on or off. This would also occur with the Briar’s dodge ability but less often. The mechanics of these characters are deep and offered a greater level of challenge, but when at the moment, the response times of these mechanics would fail. Of course, with time, we’re sure these issues will be worked out with some time left on the clock before the September 20th release date.
Players are still going to find a game with rich mechanics that will offer a terrific challenge. For the more casual players, beware. There are various challenge portals scattered throughout the game. While the challenges are fairly reasonable in the beginning, as the game progresses, these challenges scale much higher to sometimes anger-inducing. If you’re not looking for that kind of challenge, it won’t hurt to pass them by.
Graphics & Audio: A beautifully dark world full of obstacles and danger
Soulstice really shines when it comes to the look of the game. It’s a treat to the eye. The developers at Reply Game Studios built a gorgeous world that made it almost sad that the world couldn’t be explored further. With the city of Ilden as its backdrop, players are going to explore a richly detailed world of destruction and despair with great-looking characters. The players will also spend a lot of their time interacting with this world jumping from broken platforms, resetting bridges, and making their way through a city that’s crumbling around them.
We did run into some difficulties when running the game during our preview of the Reply Game Studios demo of Soulstice. On a handful of occasions, we experience stutters in gameplay or severe frame drops, but we imagine much of these issues is they persist and will be worked out by the September 20th release. Even with the minor issues, players will still be treated to a beautifully designed world with gorgeous backdrops.
Unfortunately, the game does utilize an old-school approach with its use of the fixed camera, which does allow the team at Reply Game Studios to deliver beautifully dark and gritty set pieces but also restricts the control players have over the camera. At times during our preview of Soulstice, we had to fight over control of the camera to see the corner or ceiling of a room or to get a better view of the enemies during combat. At times the camera would deliver beautiful set pieces to view but would also get in the way or not offer enough during gameplay.
Conclusion: A game worth keeping an eye on
While Soulstice has its issues here and there, we can only say that these are merely nitpicking. The Reply Game Studios demo of Soulstice offered a beautifully dark world that made us only want to explore and learn more about it. With characters and enemies that we beautifully stylized and enemies that filled out the gorgeous world along with mechanics that were challenging and fun, albeit at times a little clunky, we could only recommend keeping an eye on when released at the end of next month.
After reading our preview of the Reply Game Studios Soulstice demo, you can pre-order it on PC, PlayStation 4 & 5, and Xbox One & Series X|S for &49.99. Additionally, you can follow the further development of Soulstice by heading over to the games product page. You can also learn more about the developers at Reply Game Studio by checking out their development page.