They say you should trust your gut instincts, and while perhaps this isn’t the most comprehensive advice you’ll ever hear, the unmistakable sense of dread I felt loading Soul Hunters proved to be prophetic. Simply put, you should avoid wasting your precious time on this poor excuse for entertainment and instead pet your dog or have a small snack. I assure you that either of those things will be more fruitful.
If you need further convincing, the game provides ample evidence that doesn’t take an overly critical inspection to pick up on. Soul Hunters is a side-scrolling fantasy beat ‘em up where you control a gang of fantasy stereotypes, strolling through waves of increasingly difficult run-of-the-mill enemies. “Increasingly difficult” only in theory, though, because the master strategy I employed throughout the early levels was to simply sit and watch. If you’re the passive gaming type, you’re in luck, as a hands-off approach to managing your fantasy goon squad is the bulk of the experience. The only input you have in game is the use of “special moves”, which are so uninteresting, the developers might as well have programmed a giant broom to sweep the baddies aside. In all fairness, there is eventually a need to use these abilities in order to progress, satisfying the player input criteria. This evolved my strategy into massing these attcks for the final boss round, a stroke of tactical acumen which has since served me faithfully.
As you might expect, the story is equally pathetic, with some kind of plot involving evil versions of your friends. It’s terrible and cliché in every way; I can’t convince myself that it wasn’t just a shortcut for the developers to not have to make new enemies. The game would’ve been better served just telling me to hit the skeletons because they’re evil. The RPG elements are superficial, as all your accrued gear weirdly gets absorbed into your character to level up. Not that itemization matters at all or even requires an inkling of thought, since each character is limited by what they can wear and you only get small number of dropped equipables per battle. All you do is sprinkle items on whichever speechless minion can use it and assume it’s making a difference.
“Uninspired” doesn’t quite do the game justice, and if it doesn’t dawn upon you at some point that watching your characters robotically bop copy-pasted enemies over and over isn’t fun, you should check your pulse to make sure you’re alive. When you gather all the evidence, this game is nothing but a diseased pustule from the larger infection that typifies the mobile gaming platform. From the limits to how much you can play, to the in-game currency which it’s quick to try and sell you, Soul Hunters is nothing more than a scam posing as a game. Not to say that developers shouldn’t be compensated for good work, but these trap-type games are a sickness, heartless and insipid cash generators which need to be excised before they kill the genre more so than they already have. Unfortunately, given the rising popularity of these games, a cure doesn’t seem on the horizon. Unless you have an unruly toddler who wants to try their hand at gaming, do the games industry a favor and ignore this with all your might.
Is it Hardcore?
Not at all.
A worthless excuse for a game which doesn’t deserve your time