With 2D pixel art that looks a lot like Terraria, 6Souls is a casual platformer with light environmental puzzle solving and combat. The lower amount of difficulty creates an easy going experience which I personally find to be refreshing here in the 2021 gaming landscape of tedious and hard roguelikes. Although “souls” is the title, it shouldn’t be confused with any type of Dark Souls-like game as this is almost the opposite of one of those brutal titles.
Playing as an average dude looking for treasure in a hidden castle, players have access to a basic melee attack, a single jump, and a wall jump with climbing mechanic. Everything controls well but I do have a gripe with the climbing maneuver. In order to climb, the player needs to hold the R1 button when it feels like it should have been an automatic action. Most restarts are the result of forgetting to hold down this button to climb, falling in a pit to a one-hit death. At times, Jack’s dog Butch will escape from his backpack and reach areas his human counterpart cannot access. Uniquely, this playable dog has access to a double jump but no ledge climb. Personally, I found this to be confusing because I wanted to double jump and auto-climb with both players, especially since they both move the same, resulting in more accidental deaths.
I mentioned 6Souls is not a challenging game, which it totally fine, but there is no denying there are some odd design choices that come with this lower level of difficulty. First, the environmental puzzles are never hard but nor are they that fun. Pushing a box to reach a ledge is a gameplay mechanic that should have stopped in the NES era. Next, combat is mostly unnecessary. Although most common enemies will fall with a standard 3-hit button mashing combo, the player will actually have an easier time simply jumping over them. Killing enemies doesn’t reward the player with XP or even health drops so there is literally no point to combat. Sure, you might need to stab that slime so you can get a better angle on that next jump but even bosses are not that difficult and can mostly be defeated without finesse or dexterity.
The gimmick behind this 3-4 hour campaign comes from the soul crystals that are obtained after defeating each boss. These gems give the player an additional ability like dashing which enhances platforming and gaining access to a ranged attack. Combo these new abilities with a handful of optional collectables, and the player now has something in which to aim. There is no time limit or restrictions put on the player either, so each stage can be completed with as much or as little time as needed. This fact, in addition to the lower difficult factor, makes this an experience most players should have no trouble finishing.
6Souls is far from a bad game, and I actually enjoyed the laid-back approach quite a bit, but it never reaches must-play, high quality status. But to be perfectly fair, this is a low cost game, just like so many other Ratalaika published titles, and it also features easy Achievements worth large amounts of Gamerscore. There is even a bigger emphasis on the narrative which does add to the experience; the dialog between dog and owner contains some mild humor. Honestly, the experience is a little basic and isn’t without flaws there is still plenty to enjoy in this indie developed title.