A gutter trash advertisement wearing the clothes of Dark Souls like flayed, dripping skin.
Developer: Bandai Namco
Publisher: Bandai Namco
Format: Android, iOS (reviewed)
Released: February 28, 2016
Copy is free on iOS, and is still too expensive
It may be harsh to trash a game that’s quite literally free, but sometimes an experience is so utterly contemptible that not even the lack of an entry fee can justify its existence. This is the case with Slashy Souls, a collaboration between GameStop and Namco designed to encourage Dark Souls III preorders.
It’s complete and total shit.
Make no mistake – though this is ostensibly “free,” it still costs an investment of time – time that we as mere mortals only have a finite amount of on this planet. To waste a single minute of that precious currency called life on Slashy Souls is a losing gamble of downright tragic proportions.
Even worse, the existence of this poorly constructed interactive commercial is an absolute stain on the respectable work of From Software, not to mention the good name of the Souls series itself.
A basic runner game, Slashy Souls is all about a pixellated warrior automatically sprinting across the screen while players control jumping, blocking, and slashing. Various traps and enemies stand in the way, while pickups can be found to replenish health, cast spells such as fireballs, and equip more powerful melee weapons.
I like a good runner game, and the idea of one inspired by Dark Souls is fantastic in theory. Sadly, no effort was made whatsoever to infuse Slashy Souls with even a smidgen of the quality found in From’s work. At best it’s a wholly unimaginative endless runner that pays only scant tribute to the source material. At worst it’s an amateur, broken mess.
For a start, the game’s obstacles are randomized with no thought given to balance, spacing, or common bloody sense. Enemies and traps are often bunched together so closely they’re impossible to avoid. While blocking would fool players into thinking there might be some tactical depth, the shield barely works and it’s more reliable to just brainless stab the air and hope things die.
The protagonist is uncomfortable to control, with a stodgy little double jump that barely clears anything and attacks that carry no sense of power or basic connection with the monsters they’re hitting.
Slashy Souls is ugly, using a murkily colored bare-bones “retro” art style that could belong to any number of barrel-scraping indie platformers. Character models appear to have been drawn by pigs.
A series of high-pitched digitized squeals masquerade as a soundtrack, threatening to pierce one’s eardrums and skewer the brain with merciless sonic talons.
As if this wasn’t bad enough, this unambitious, sloppily designed, thoroughly basic runner game is somehow littered with game-breaking bugs – perhaps the biggest clue Namco Bandai was involved.
In attempting to play the game just today, I had it refuse to start over and over again, barely loading a new run before abandoning it and booting me to the Game Over screen. At other times, the game was running but the screen was pure black, with only stylized bloodshot damage indicators creeping in as I was attacked.
Currently, my copy of Slashy Souls is stuck reading “YOU DIED,” unable to even load the Game Over screen or main menu. Theoretically, I could forcibly close down the app and start it up again, but you know what? I don’t think I’ll bother.
I’ll follow in the footsteps of the miscreants responsible for this abomination’s creation.
I won’t fucking bother.
Slashy Souls looks like a joke game, and I’m not just trying to be insulting. I mean, I am, but I’m also quite sincere.
It literally looks like something somebody would make for a bad gag.
It’s certainly nothing professional, and it absolutely does not deserve to be mentioned in the same breath as a real Dark Souls game. That anybody thought this monstrous garbage was a good way to promote an upcoming game speaks volumes about the disconnect from reality videogame executives suffer from.
I know, I know, it’s free and all that bollocks.
Sometimes you just have to look a gift horse in the mouth, especially when the mouth is full of wet hot trash and the horse is a sex offender in a pony costume.