6Souls is a 2D pixel-art platform game in which our hero Jack and his loyal dog Butch explore the abandoned Clifford Castle. Developed by BUG-Studio and published by Ratalaika Games, the game is now available on PS4, PS5, Xbox One, Xbox Series X/S, Nintendo Switch, and Steam. I’ve been keen to try 6Souls ever since seeing the platforming action on display in the trailer. So, how does it fare in real life? Find out below in my 6Souls review.
6Souls – One man and his dog against the World
Join Jack and Butch as they explore the mysterious Clifford Castle and uncover the fate of the Clifford family who vanished there years ago.
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The platforming action takes place over eight different chapters, consisting of many relatively short levels. The main character, Jack, has quite a large set of moves introduced during the initial tutorial level and throughout the game as more are acquired. Jack can jump and grab walls to climb to higher heights. Stamina steadily drains when wall climbing, so being too over ambitious results in an embarrassing slide to the ground. Jack also has some equipment to help him on his quest. Binoculars allow Jack checkout the upcoming terrain, and he has a sword and shield to defend himself against the nasties that inhabit Clifford Castle. The reward for completing a chapter is often a Soul Crystal. These unlock a dash move that allows Jack to cover huge gaps easily. Additional Soul Crystals allow dashes to be chained together to cover even greater distances.
Combat is the main area where I’d like to see some improvements. Jack’s shield blocks three hits before he is staggered, and he wields his sword to dispatch enemies in his path. But there is no knockback when hitting nasties, so it’s challenging to chain attacks together without being hit yourself. I ended up avoiding enemies and found that it’s possible to jump past most of them.
Jack isn’t alone on his quest. Butch, your loyal canine travelling companion, usually travels in Jack’s backpack but can be deployed at specific points. Butch can squeeze through tiny gaps to explore otherwise inaccessible areas and retrieve collectables like keys, coins, or bacon.
While levels are on the small side, they are packed with hazards. As one wrong move ends in instant death and restarting, the balance feels just right. Chapters end with a boss battle that you’ll be able to dispatch once you learn their attack patterns quickly.
There probably isn’t much here that you haven’t seen before, but 6Souls does provide enjoyable and precise platforming.
Graphics & Audio
I played 6Souls on PS4 and PS5, and the graphics were always smooth and responsive. Every level is based in a different section of the castle so that the backgrounds can be repetitive, but the BUG-Studio has managed to give each chapter a distinct look and feel. Character sprites, while small, are packed full of personality and well animated. Bosses aren’t huge, but they add some variety. 6Souls is a well-presented game, and there are nice touches to be found throughout, like how dashing warps the background or the transition effects between levels.
Each chapter has a different electronic soundtrack that drives the action along. Sound effects are nice whooshes and swipes when moving around, and other environmental sounds are atmospheric. The music and effect volume is customisable individually, so they can be boosted or muted as you desire.
Each of the eight chapters contains many levels and a boss battle, so 6Souls offers a decent challenge and excellent value. Collecting all of the hidden bacon and coins increases playability for those who missed them the first time around.
There are 14 trophies to collect on the Playstation version, but you won’t have to go too far out of your way, and you will attain most through normal gameplay.
Whether or you’ll like 6Souls or not depends on your temperament and, possibly, your dexterity. If repeatedly failing a level and starting from the beginning frustrates rather than delights, perhaps give this one a miss and save the cost of replacing your TV after you’ve embedded your controller in it. Personally, this might just be me; my fingers constantly confused the jump, wall grab, and dash buttons. I’d jump, wall grab and fall to an untimely death instead of jumping and dashing. I also found myself dashing in the wrong direction quite often, which, after you’ve successfully chained several together, is galling.
That said, I did enjoy 6Souls. It’s good, honest, and challenging platforming fun. Finding the one true way through a level leads to some enjoyably head-scratching moments and pulling off a flawless sequence of jumps, dashes, and wall grabs to reach the end.
If you like challenging platformers, then give 6Souls a whirl. It’s undoubtedly worthy of Thumb Culture Gold Award.
Disclaimer: A code was received in order to write this review.