Dark Souls for Mobile
If you’ve been waiting for the mobile equivalent of Dark Souls your wait is over. Pascal’s Wager by Giant Global thrust players into a dark and desolate world. It’s an intensely thrilling action title with gorgeous 3D graphics that challenges players with intense combat, pitting terrifying beings in a quest to bring light back to the world.
Pascal’s Wager borrows heavily from both the Souls series and games like Nioh. You make your way through treacherous environments and attempt to reach the next altar. Players can dedicate bone fragments, which you’ll accumulate as you explore, at an altar to level up. When you level up, you’ll acquire an attribute point which you use to upgrade a stat such as vigor or strength. Altars are also where one goes to craft potions and rest. Resting allows you to fully heal, however, taking another page out of the Dark Souls handbook, resting also causes all enemies to respawn. Therefore, it’s best not to rest unless you’re in dire need of some healing.
Unlike its inspiration, Pascal’s Wager is dived into distinct levels that are accessed via the map in your caravan. While I loved the interconnected world of Dark Souls, trying to navigate such a complex world via mobile would have been daunting.
A Dark World
The storyline of Pascal’s Wager is a bit difficult to follow at first as early cutscenes don’t go out of there way to explain too much. With the sun gone, the Colossi are the only sources of light. These giant creatures emit light strong enough to disperse the dark fog known as the Sendril. Humans follow the Colossi around as their survival depends on staying in the light. Throughout the game you’ll battle the marred which are creatures that have been tainted by the Sendril. You begin the game as Terrance, who is tasked with finding the mythical Colossal Grave thought to be humanity’s last hope.
Pascal’s Wager allows you to seamlessly change between its two playable characters whenever you’re not engaged in combat. Terrance is a gruff older gentleman, who relies on his sword to destroy enemies. Then there’s Norwood, a mysterious figure who wears a golden mask. Despite having only one arm, Norwood is a formidable fighter who uses a coffin on a chain as a weapon. Switching between the two is simple; just tap on the character’s icon.
By Coffin or Blade
Combat is the key component of Pascal’s Wager and Giant Global manages make its combat system simple yet challenging. Whether playing as Norwood or Terrance, combat depends on a mix of light and heavy attacks. Light attacks are faster but do less damage. Evasion is essential, especially during boss fights. While there is a block button, for heavier attacks its best to use dodge. You can also purchase throwing knifes which allow you to attack from a distance. Terrance and Norwood have different stats and fighting techniques. Thus, there are certain enemies that Terrance will have any easier time defeating and vice versa. While in combat keep an eye on your stamina. If you run out of stamina, you’ll have to wait for it to replenish which doesn’t take long. However, in the midst of battle a moment’s pause can be life or death.
The Price of Insanity
Stamina isn’t the only thing you’ll need to keep an eye on while in combat. Taking a page from H.P. Lovecraft inspired games, the longer you spend fighting the marred, the more your sanity declines. When your sanity falls below a certain threshold your character becomes abnormal. If your sanity falls even further your character will go form abnormal to lunatic. When your character is in the abnormal or lunatic state, the marred are stronger and often will unlock new combat moves.
Being abnormal effects characters differently. When Terrence is abnormal his maximum health is reduced, and he can no longer continually dodge while Norwood’s resistances decrease by half. Luckily chugging a Sanity potion or two will have your character back to themselves in no time. However, keeping your sanity low does have its benefits—player’s receive better rewards for beating an enemy while in these diminished states. It’s an interesting concept and I enjoyed the extra challenge being abnormal brings to the table.
Pascal’s Wager is an epic adventure and honestly the most hardcore title I’ve yet to experience on Android. Combat is engaging and the marred are fearsome foes. While the storyline is a bit confusing it just makes the game feel that much more mysterious. Pascal’s Wager is well worth the 3.99 price tag.
Is It Hardcore?
Pascal’s Wager is a stunning action game set in a macabre world inspired by Dark Souls that delivers an engaging experience and top-notch combat.