The indie video game scene is full of dark souls clones. Impersonators and games inspired by FromSoftware’s great series have been inspired by everything from the game’s brutal difficulty to its hauntingly melancholic aesthetic. However, some of these tributes have been more effective than others, and Deadly Shell Brilliantly captures the best aspects of the legendary action RPG.
With Ring of Elden a few more months, Deadly Shell is the perfect Soulslike to keep fans til the next release from FromSoftware. With the Enhanced Edition now upgraded for PS5 and Xbox Series X/S, and the PS4 available as one of December’s free PS Plus games, it’s the perfect time to grab Cold’s fantasy epic. Symmetry.
Why Mortal Shell Looks Like A Perfect Soul
Deadly Shell takes place in a ruined, mist-shrouded kingdom named Fallgrim, which is beautifully crafted and echoes the tragically fallen empire of dark souls“Lordran. Much like FromSoftware’s classic, it’s populated by hostile soldiers and other monsters, offering a limited and enigmatic explanation of its desolate state, encouraging players to consume the knowledge available in item descriptions and in the poetic and disconcerting dialogue of the game.
Deadly Shell casts the player in the role of “the foundling”, a humanoid creature capable of inhabiting the corpses of dead warriors to give them new life. Not only does this ability play heavily into the game’s lore and ambiguous Soulslike storytelling, but it also drives the gameplay, with the player able to find four different fallen fighters to use as their “shell” and battle the deadly denizens of Fallgrim. .
Deadly Shell also features a number of different weapons, allowing for multiple combinations and playstyles. players to focus on separate building, perhaps prioritizing hit points over speed, or vice-versa.
Crisp and satisfying combat mechanics once again call to mind the best elements of dark souls‘ fights and rewards players for well-timed parries while encouraging caution rather than an all-out attack approach. Excellent creature design and animation further enhance these encounters, and the game’s challenging boss fights are uniformly stunning.
Like all Soulslikes, the game’s difficulty is hard and unforgiving, making each successful battle very rewarding, especially when one of the main bosses is killed. However, for players who reach a sufficient level of mastery, Deadly Shell offers additional secrets and challenges, such as an intimidating mini-boss that grants access to additional weapons when defeated.
How Mortal Shell innovates on the Dark Souls formula
Despite its gameplay and aesthetic similarities, Deadly Shell is not just a hollow dark souls clone. The game features a number of original ideas and mechanics that set it above its competition and make it a must-seek title for Soulslike newcomers and hardcore fans alike.
The first is its innovative “hardening” feature, which allows the player to transform into a stone statue, making their flesh impervious to damage. However, this temporary invincibility also renders their avatar briefly immobile, meaning they must time using this maneuver to coincide with an enemy’s attack so they can relax and fight back. Although many players found this feature initially confusing and difficult to master, it quickly became a favorite mechanic for many reviewers and fans.
Indeed, once his fighting style is mastered, the game’s difficulty is generally lower than that of some of the more brutally difficult Soulslikes. It’s a refreshing change for some players used to making dozens of failed attempts before overcoming the subgenre’s infamously difficult boss battles. After settling on their favorite weapon and shell, fighting hordes of enemies becomes a bloodthirsty joy rather than a demanding job.
The game also focuses less on finding in-game currency (referred to here as “tar” rather than “souls”), and more on rewarding exploration driven by the discovery of items for character progression. It encourages players to explore Deadly ShellThe vast and complex game world of , which is cleverly interconnected and includes a number of shortcuts and secrets, including the four available corpse wrappers and their harrowing stories.
However, perhaps the most impressive aspect of Cold Symmetry’s debut is its visuals. Although it was made on a tight budget by an independent studio, Deadly ShellThe graphics are gorgeous, easily rivaling some AAA games and perfectly realizing the various worlds of Fallgrim, whose themes range from icy catacombs to flame-soaked lava sanctuaries. The design of the creatures that inhabit these areas is equally superb and innovative, including an enemy whose body is pierced with multiple swords, which it draws from its torso to hurl at the advancing player.
With all these qualities, it’s not hard to see why Deadly Shell has been such a hit for Cold Symmetry, and fans will be eagerly awaiting news of the developer’s next project. In the meantime, and before Ring of Elden arrives to glue fans to their consoles for months to come, Soulslike enthusiasts should allow Deadly Shell to occupy their minds as well as their trusty sword-weapons.
Deadly Shell is now available for PC, PS4, PS5, Xbox One and Xbox Series X/S.
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