Final Verdict: 8/10
Dolmen is an action RPG with cosmic horror elements in a futuristic sci-fi setting. The existence of your timeline depends on your survival. So do anything in your power to survive.
Revion Prime is where you will decide the fate of not just yourself but your whole timeline. Prepare to take on hostile aliens and change the universe forever with the help of Dolmen.
Multiverse of Madness
Dolmen is set in a hypothetical universe where humanity has colonised a number of planets throughout the galaxy. They created the Xeno species by genetically altering individuals to make them drastically different in order to thrive in the harsh environment. A mercenary hired by Zoan Corp was asked to interfere while the Xeno were engaged in research and excavating activities on the planet Revion Prime. The player is the first on the scene, tasked with containing the situation and retrieving Zoan Corp’s sensitive data and equipment. Even though some Drillers are still alive, it is not necessary to save them. As you progress through the story, not everything seems as it should. Zoan Corp has been hiding some horrifying secrets and dangerous technology.
Dolmen gets the atmosphere and cosmic dread right away. My surroundings made me feel uneasy from the moment I stepped onto Revion Prime. The strange growth on the cave walls, the distant echo of unknown sounds My fears were shortly confirmed when the game threw you right into the middle of a conflict. Revion Prime’s world is a fascinating location to visit. Every nook and cranny of the planet feels plucked from a Lovecraftian tale, and it’s evident that environment design was a key focus for the devs. I was curious about this planet and regularly found myself turning over every stone that could reveal additional information about it.
The term “Soulslike” is frequently used to describe Fromsoftware’s successful formula for tough action RPGs. This trend is unlikely to change very soon. Dolmen is inspired by the Souls series. From the fundamental gameplay loop and death screen to the lovecraftian Bloodbourne components, there’s something for everyone. However, the word “Soulslike” is appropriate because the game does not just imitate those components.
You can choose between different classes when creating your character, which will change your starting weaponry. Swords, pistols, axes, shields, and spears are all examples. Your starting stat distribution will also be determined by your class. Fortunately, Dolmen allows players to swap up their loadout or prioritise their numbers as they see fit, so you’re not stuck with your decision. Dolmen leans heavily on its RPG side when it comes to progression. Human, Revian, and Driller skill trees are available under the Technologies tab. Increased health, stamina, melee damage, defence, and other benefits are available in each tree. You can fine-tune your construct using the Technologies tab, according to your play style.
Combat in Dolmen can be difficult, but it often feels fair. I like the cycle of finding a new enemy, defeating it, learning its behaviours, and then returning with a game plan.
In combat and world exploration, the fact that you can’t jump in Dolmen was rather aggravating. I felt like I should have been able to leap over a little enemy, hop across a gap, or jump onto a level where I wanted to inspect something amazing multiple times, but I couldn’t. It’s a limiting absence that makes the game feel dated as a whole.
The Look of Horror
Dolmen is a beautiful game visually. The cosmic horror of it all lends itself perfectly to bright but eerie landscapes, as well as bright technology and gadgets that you carry around. The Lovecraftian influence is evident in the sound design, much as it is in the visual identity of Dolmen. As players sneak through different passages, the haunting themes follow them, heightening the sense of dread that surrounds Dolmen. In other cases, the game also knows when to be quiet, allowing the ambient sounds to set the tone.
Dolmen is a soulslike game that does exactly what it sets out to do. A Lovecraftian horror game that challenges you and sucks you into its world. And while the game isn’t perfect, Massive Work Studio have done an incredible job with their first big title.