Our Rating: 8/10
The plot of Mortal Shell is similar to that of Dark Souls. Nothing is clear; so if you want to learn more about the universe, you’ll have to linger over the various texts scattered throughout the adventure. For some, the lore of this type of game has never been necessary.
Aside from its history, the levels’ architecture forces you to confront yourself. Even if a few hints are strewn about thanks to visions depicting a setting to be reached, you’ll never know exactly where you need to go. Mortal Shell, on the other hand, never manages to achieve the intelligence of a Dark Souls level design. It instead only provides a playing field that gives the impression of quickly going in circles in a very structured scheme.
As cryptic as Dark Souls
Sadly, the visual inspirations will not save this feeling of déjà vu. The various environments are similar, even if the biomes manage to confuse us at times. It’s a shame that you can’t practice the round trip in a loop.
Similarly, once you’ve used various items and consumables a few times, you’ll be able to fully comprehend them. Indeed, a familiarity gauge will alert you to the item’s effects. The more you use or consume the object, the more secrets it contains; the concept is appealing, and it occasionally leads to amazing discoveries.
A shell of possibility
Early on in Mortal Shell, skill customization is almost non-existent. The skill system is based on the ability to unlock different carnal envelopes as you progress. Each shell has its own set of characteristics. You can use the tar you collect to unlock skills specific to that shell.
Fortunately, the movement palettes are very distinct. Embodying one character over another makes a significant difference in confrontations. The enemies, on the other hand, are all extremely readable and end up being nothing more than cannon fodder in a story that moves far too quickly.
Due to the different skill levels of the players, you may be still struggling from beginning to end, even if this isn’t the case for everyone. Boss fights are the same way; once you’ve assimilated the Pattern, you’ll be able to dispatch them quickly. In addition, the story will take approximately fifteen hours to complete.
The gameplay is similar to what we’ve seen before in the world of Souls-like games, but with a few new twists. For example, even if it appears to be completely random, a perfect parry is possible to place. This upcoming action is extremely inconvenient and difficult to comprehend. Furthermore, in the event of death, you will be given a second chance to recover your character’s carnal envelope as soon as your life points drop to zero.
The DLC: Mortal Shell: The Virtuous Cycle
The DLC includes a new body shell and a new weapon in addition to a completely new game mode. Aside from these features, the all-new roguelike game mode is the downloadable content’s main draw.
Mortal Shell has the brilliant idea of plunging the player back into an innovative game loop, allowing them to break free from the title’s overly predictable reading. As a result, you’ll explore the adventure’s previously explored levels, discovering enemies in unexpected locations. The monsters you need to slaughter will not always be the same, adding to the title’s enjoyable depth.
The game’s quirks are quite dark, and the feeling of constantly seeing and performing the same routine in previously seen and reviewed environments tarnishes the roguelike mode’s appeal. Furthermore, the appearance of the defeated opponents has not changed, and no new information has been added about them.
Death is unavoidable, as it is in any self-respecting roguelike. Permanent abilities will allow you to enhance your abilities while also allowing you to combine them with short-term bonuses that will be unlocked during the current run. The roguelike soul is present, but not nearly enough to rekindle the desire to walk back to Mortal Shell’s world.
Finally, Mortal Shell manages to escape with honor, although it is far from innovative in terms of Souls-like. The title plays well and manages to fill the void left by the absence of FromSoftware games to some extent. And The Virtuous Cycle adds a fresh twist with to the formula, and a decent amount of replayability to keep players coming back. Even though it’s unlikely that the developers intended for this gaping hole to be filled, Mortal Shell’s patch is probably all we can expect. Cold Symmetry has managed to accomplish quite a bit with Mortal Shell, and the game is easy to recommend to anyone looking to scratch the souls-like itch.