Published on July 13th, 2014 | by JC Richardson0
Wayward Souls: Destroys Your Free Time, Gives You Free Hats
Rocketcat Games (via Noodlecake) have taken a hammer to the Rogue genre and arranged the broken pieces into something really special – a massive, action heavy dungeon crawler with no IAPs, and over 200 hats to discover. If your interest isn’t piqued by this, then get the nurse to check your EEG and make sure there’s still brain-stem activity. Then tell her to download Wayward Souls before she pulls the plug on you.
Wayward Souls packs so much in, it’s hard to know where to start here. The evil tower you’re exploring is a living, breathing world, randomly generated and simply dripping with detail – pretty much everything in the environment is destructable, hanging lamps sway as you pass them, etc. Gone is the turn-based play of other Rogues, replaced with frantic swiping and maneuvering to avoid being mobbed: at times it’s like you’re playing some awesome new take on Gauntlet as you cut a swathe through a roomful of mobs leaving the place littered with corpses. Yes indeed, Wayward Souls is all about the action.
Starting with a choice of three traditional adventurers, you unlock a further three as you make your way up from the depths. Each character has a back story which gets revealed in atmospheric cut-scenes between levels – the warrior wants his brothers corpse back, stolen by a Necromancer who fled into the tower. The Adventurer is haunted by dreams of a Silver Eye, the key to the mystery lying somewhere within. It’s polish like this that sets a game apart, and Wayward Souls is in a league of its own.
One thing that surprised me, though, is how rare upgrades are. You can only improve your weaponry and armour at forges which appear very occasionally, and even then you can only upgrade one item. It adds greatly to the survival pressure, though, and encourages you to explore every bit of every level in case you miss one of these vital boosts. Luckily, you collect a lot of gold from dead mobs and treasure chests which you use to upgrade your stats between plays, and you’ll need to if you’re going to get anywhere in this arduously tough game.
Summary: Wayward Souls is better than Pixel Dungeon. There, I said it, and if that's not enough to make you invest in this game then you need to re-assess your priorities this instant.