This article is based on impressions from the first few hours of the game.
I have always appreciated the Souls games. From Dark Souls to Bloodborne, I have played them all and have had a pretty good time. I have never beaten one of these games, due to lack of time, patience, and overall skill. The Dark Souls games definitely reward all of the above, but I have always hit a point where I fall off because I just can’t go on anymore.
Mortal Shell feels like a game made for someone who doesn’t have the time or patience, but does have the skill. Mortal Shell is a “souls” like where you are a mysterious figure in a mysterious land fighting mysterious enemies. It is blatantly an homage to the Souls games, and doesn’t try to hide it.
The game is extremely obtuse and relishes in purposely not informing the player. Information is hard to come by, and when you do find it you will still be missing a few pieces of the puzzle. Objects you pick up won’t tell you their use until you use it. There’s no clear direction on where to go or exactly what you’re supposed to be doing early on. It is one of those games, and it makes no qualms about it.
Like Dark Souls, combat is based on timing. It you swing your sword at the wrong time you may get hit with a devastating counter attack from an enemy. The combat feels good, but is not as precise as what From Software has mastered, the developer of the Souls games. It is a serviceable replica of the slower and methodical combat of a Dark Souls, but is not quite as satisfying.
What gives Mortal Shell its own flavor is the ability to “Harden” which essentially locks you in place. If any enemy hits you while you are hardening you will not take damage and they momentarily flinch back. It acts as a quasi parry and allows you to get the upper hand.
The world itself is very dark and oppressive. There are a few friendly figures you will find in the world who will aid you, but for the most part everyone attacks without asking questions. It can be overwhelming if you do not take your time. Running away from a small group of enemies may lead you to even more enemies, meaning you’ll eventually be overwhelmed. Patience is rewarded, methodically making your way through the neatly designed world and picking off enemies is the way to thrive.
Overall my first hours with Mortal Shell have been enjoyable. If you are someone who likes the Souls games you will likely enjoy this game. If you are someone who has been interested in this genre but don’t want to invest the time, this game is a much easier sell. I haven’t beaten the game but I have heard it runs roughly 15 or so hourss, meaning you can likely beat it in a few play sessions. The game is 29.99, so the monetary investment is less as well. Give the game a try if you want a condensed, yet well made, game in the Souls genre.
Review copy provided by Playstack