So I heard you like Platformers. Celeste a tad too intimidating? The End Is Nigh too dark and spooky? Then give 6Souls a whirl which released on December 3 for PC, PlayStation, Xbox and Nintendo Switch. Developed by Bug-Studio and published by Ratalaika Games, 6Souls is a 2D action-adventure platformer that places the player in the shoes of Jack and his adorable talking dog Butch. Their goal is to investigate the abandoned Clifford Castle and get to the bottom of the disappearance of its inhabitants. The art-style for 6Souls is 2D pixel-art and is one of the main reasons I was drawn to the game with Terraria-esque soil, grass, trees and moving background.
With more than 80 individual levels spread across 8 different locations, Jack and Butch overcome various platforming obstacles, skeletons, goblins and slimes. The inclusion of combat within the game is really what sets it apart from other sole-platforming games. At the end of each location Jack is pitted against a different boss, for example one of the earlier bosses in the game is a giant teeth-baring book. Essentially once you learn the mechanics and abilities of each boss, they aren’t too difficult to overcome. In saying that there was one boss (a Knight) which I did struggle a little bit before overcoming.
After defeating each boss you essentially free the soul of each captive member of the Clifford Castle. With these souls you gain additional jump/dash charges. These additional charges enable more complex platforming required later in the game. However, I did find myself completely skipping levels purely by going over and above most of the obstacles due to the increase in jump/dash charges.
Whilst exploring the castle you are given the opportunity to play as Butch, who otherwise hides in Jack’s backpack. These locations are denoted by a short little tunnel connecting to another area. When controlling Butch you are only given the option of a double jump without combat. Most locations you explore with Butch require you to either pull a lever or collect a key to unlock a door. There was a certain location where you played exclusively as Butch which I quite enjoyed. There were multiple obstacles and enemies (mainly goblins who wanted to eat you) to avoid. The goblins were searching for Butch and if you got caught in their spotlights, you were taken back to the previous auto-save point. The most efficient way to avoid being seen was to hide behind boxes and time your movements against the spotlights.
Throughout each individual level there are a few collectables to obtain, notably coins for Jack and strips of bacon for Butch. These are generally in simple easy to spot locations, but on occasion they require a bit of tactical platforming to reach. These serve as purely collectibles and are not necessary for completion of the game, that I treated like the strawberries from Celeste. The completionist in me just had to collect these.
I did encounter one slight issue during gameplay and this was practically at the end of the game. During the final boss encounter (no spoilers!) I kept getting flung to the very top of the screen out of view. This was infuriating to say the least, especially in a multi-phase boss fight. Fortunately due to the auto-save feature, I wasn’t set that far back after having to forcibly die.
Overall, 6Souls is a brilliant entry point into the very punishing and often unforgiving genre that is 2D platforming. Given I have over 100 hours of gameplay in similar games (Celeste, End Is Nigh), I found it a nice change of pace to the rage-inducing normality of the genre. It took me approximately four hours to complete which most people can do in a single gaming session. Now that I have completed the main story mode, I can go back and do the adventure/challenge mode which promises increased difficulty.
This review utilised a Steam code provided by PR Hound. 6Souls is available on PC through Steam for $6.99 and PlayStation, Xbox and Nintendo Switch.
Written by: @menthonso