A couple of years ago Cobra Blade hit us with Powerslam (OSX), a wrestler that played like it came straight from the SNES era. This year Cobra Blade serves that nostalgia-like factor one more time by going a bit old school (think PSX this time around) with Soulless.
In Soulless the unthinkable has happened: a zombie outbreak has taken out a settlement in the distant future. Okay, it’s pretty thinkable…Anyways Soulless is dripping with 90’s vibe from it’s graphics to its general game mechanics. This is a 2D platform-shooter where you’ll choose to play as one of 9 Space Marines and blast zombies. The catch here is that in order to play as a Space Marine, you’ll actually need to rescue/encounter them throughout the game. I actually missed a couple Space Marines so therefore didn’t have them as a playable option.
So why does that matter anyways? Well like in the older gaming days when games were less forgiving, once a soldier dies, he/she dies for good. So finding soldiers is like finding extra lives which is very important to beat the game. Let me throw a bit more harshness at you! Although there’s some health packs and ammo placed here and there in each level, if your Space Marine takes damage, that damage is spread through the rest of the game! Ouch! But I love it!
Pushing the 90’s vibe a bit further are the different types of zombies that you’ll be facing off against. You’ve got your standard slow walkers. You’ve got zombies that toss knives as well as puke up a gross toxic green mass. Even a zombie with a chainsaw? For a retro feeling game, there’s a bit of variety here.
I played Soulless on both the iOS as well as OSX version. Everything in this review can be said about both platforms, with the only difference between the two being the controls—yet they both have control issues. On the iOS side, the virtual controls are so small that it is very difficult to maneuver. I’m talking about even having a hard time climbing up/down ladders (like a few seconds of trial and error with each one). This problem doesn’t exist on a Mac since you’re using a keyboard (there’s no instructions telling you what keys to use so I had to push buttons until I found the right ones: Z-shoot, X-jump, and arrow keys to move). The problem is more of a pet-peeve rather than an issue. The virtual controls on the iOS screen show up on OSX! While this is a bit annoying, this should be a super easy fix in an update. The one thing that I do want to say though is that the controls are responsive…they just have issues.
The Bottom Line: Soulless hits a fun 90’s vibe all of the way with it’s level design, gameplay mechanics, and the ramped up difficulty that you’ll find later on. The only major downside is the control issues.