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Video Game / Soulblight

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Soulblight is a top-down real-time Roguelike, developed by the Polish studio My Next Games. It was funded on Kickstarter in November 2017 and released for PC through Steam on March 15th, 2018, then ported to Nintendo Switch on October 4th, 2018. Unfortunately, the port was initially riddled with technical issues, contributing to the game's low score on that platform.

It is set in a dark fantasy world, where life and death used to war eternally, but eventually realized their battle was fruitless, and struck peace, represented in the creation of Soultree. It had nurtured the rest of the world and was protected inside the Sanctuary in kind. Now, however, it had developed a blight, and instead warps reality and summons terrors that torment the world's remaining inhabitants. The player character sets out to right this by any means necessary, but this won't be easy. In particular, you no longer gain experience as is common for the genre; the player character instead becomes Tainted as they accumulate negative personality traits, which helps them become stronger, but at an obvious cost to self.

Tropes present in Soulblight:

  • The Alcoholic: The player can potentially develop their character into one, which makes them more effective while drunken, yet weakened whenever sober.
  • The Corruption: The crystal plague stemming from the Soultree.
  • Critical Existence Failure: Averted; getting wounded has negative effects on all of your stats. Traits determine which ones will be affected more or less; i.e. Hypochondriacs possess greater Synergy (stat affecting the damage you dish out and resist from the enemy blows), but also lose it at a greater rate as they get wounded.
  • Hollywood Darkness: Averted; much of the world is so dark that you can only see things that are in a close radius to the player character.
  • Inexplicable Treasure Chests: Many of the items are found within the chests placed across the levels. Even the mechanism parts needed to travel to the next area are often present within chests.
  • Optional Stealth: It is possible to sneak up on the enemies (who possess visible cones of vision) in order to instantly backstab them. You may even try to completely avoid killing them, if you so wish. Cowardly trait rewards these approaches and punishes open combat.
  • RPG Elements: There are four stats: Mobility (affects stamina cost of actions), Synergy (raw damage and damage resistance), Attack and Defence, with the latter two split into melee and ranged. None of these are directly improved, and are instead indirectly altered by traits, usually at the cost of something else.
  • Sprint Meter: All of the actions like moving and attacking consume stamina, with the Mobility stat determining how much of it each action will consume.
  • Story Breadcrumbs: There is not much of direct storytelling, and much of the storyline needs to be pieced together by the player from the item descriptions and the dialogue spoken by the rare peaceful NPCs.
  • Video Game Cruelty Punishment: Killing innocent NPCs further taints your character, in ways that benefit few, if any, builds.
  • Wizard Needs Food Badly: Getting hungry is rarely lethal on its own, but it does diminish your character's synergy, which can quickly lead to bigger problems.