Some people may not be very aware of this, but even games have specific genres. We’re not just talking about horror, sci-fi & fantasy, or action. There are genres that came into existence due to the popularity of certain games that followed a specific formula and had certain tropes to them. A classic example of this is the Roguelike genre and the Metroidvania genre.
The gaming industry is massive and highly popular, so much so that it is no longer a media that appeals just to children – even adults these days are avid gamers. We spoke to TechQuarters, a company that provides IT support services London businesses have been using for over a decade. TechQuarters have their own gaming culture within the organization – ranging from old-school gaming that the CEO and senior executives hark back to, and some of the more junior staff that can be seen with gaming chairs and RGB keyboards in their offices during video meetings. We asked them what their favorite genre is game is, and their answer might not be familiar with some people – the Souls-like.
What is a Souls-like Game?
With the release of the highly anticipated Elden Ring (a game which has been in production for more than 6 years), there has been a significant focus on the genre of Soulslike games. This is an example of how specific games can be so popular that they inspire their own genre.
Many people will now be familiar with the Dark Souls franchise, but they might not necessarily know the term Soulslike. FromSoftware first gained popularity with their game, Demon Souls, which was devilishly hard, but that was why people loved it. The spiritual successor to that game was the Dark Souls franchise – equally known for being incredibly difficult (and at times frustrating), and having a fantasy setting with a dark, gritty tone to it.
FromSoftware has since diverted from the Dark Souls franchise with new games that weren’t part of the franchise, but which followed on many of the same themes, and were definitely spiritual sequels to the franchise, if not direct sequels. What is more, many other games from different developers started coming out that had many of the same concepts.
A Soulslike game can loosely be defined as a game with a dark fantasy setting. There is usually not a rigid plotline that the player must follow, however the worldbuilding is usually very rich and details. A Soulslike game usually has a very high level of difficulty – frequent deaths are to be expected when playing these games, and it is all part of the learning curve and style of play.
So, if this style of game appeals to you, what Soulslike games should you consider playing?
A game that was released a year before the conclusion of the Dark Souls franchise, Bloodborne is very much in the same spiritual vein. Another Dark Fantasy game, but set in a gothic Victorian-style work, where you play as a Hunter looking investigating the source of a plague-like disease. The game is heavily inspired by H.P. Lovecraft and Bram Stoker, the author of Dracula.
Remnant: From the Ashes
While Demon Souls, Dark Souls, and Bloodborne are primarily melee combat games, there will of course be many gamers who are most familiar with shooters – games featuring games as the primary type of weapon. For these gamers who want to explore the Soulslike genre, Remnant: From the Ashes is perfect.
Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order
Star Wars is a highly beloved franchise that spans film, TV, novels and comic books, and video games. One of the most recent and highly beloved entries to the franchise is Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order. In this game you get to play as a Jedi, but if you think the game will be easy, think again. The combat mechanics are incredibly difficult, and quite similar to another FromSoftware game: Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice.
This game might appeal to some due to its relatively short duration – making it a great way to explore the genre without making a big commitment. The general consensus of Mortal Shell is that is is brutally hard, but much more forgiving than the average Soulslike game, as it has more methods for healing, and death is not as instant as in the original Souls games.
Unlike every other game in this list, Hollow Knight is a 2D platform game. But don’t let that fool you, the game features many of the same mechanics and themes as the other games on this list. It has an astonishingly deep lore, a non-linear storyline, and its health and live mechanic make the game very difficult. This game has a cult following, and is expecting a sequel.