A World Destroyed
You fall from the sky onto a ruined world filled with all manner of monsters. Armed with unusual powers and weapons, will you survive this frightening apocalypse? From Gameforge 4D GmbH, SoulWorker Anime Legend tells of school-age children fighting mutated creatures. Dive into a world of colorful battles and complex characters.
From the Great Void
15 years ago, the Great Void tore apart the sky and sucked most of the world inside. After, the Void spat out monstrous, mutated creatures to attack who and what was left. Humanity, and the normal lives of six children, was destroyed. The story of how this devastating event affected these children unfolds differently depending on who you choose to play. SoulWorker offers four girls and two boys to choose from, each with their own weapons and motivations. Will you choose the snobby Lily Bloommerchen, hiding deep-rooted madness brought on after watching a monster devour her brother? The enraged Iris Yuma, who lost her whole family in an instant? Maybe the kind-hearted Haru Estia, unable to save her mother as she died in her arms? Or Stella Unibell, a traumatized and lonely doll-like girl? Whoever you pick, you’re in for some unique and graphically stunning life-or-death fights.
Any human taken by the Void who fall back out fully intact are SoulForcers. They are the only ones able to fight the monsters known as SoulDregs. After your character falls, they meet a mysterious glowing pink girl who said she swore to protect them. For example, she’s the one who shows them how to fight with their new weapon. Each character brandishes a different kind of weapon. Notably, Lily wields a Mist Scythe while Haru uses a Soulum Sword. Additionally, there’s even a character that fights by playing a guitar. Tap and hold the weapon button on the lower right screen for a Basic attack so your character can strike SoulDregs repeatedly. A character can be moved by a button on the lower left. also, there’s buttons for defending, evading and Skills. All six characters have their own unique Skills that strike multiple enemies at once.
Skills cost SoulForce, a special power that generates during battles. The more powerful the Skill, the more SoulFource used. SoulForce is the blue bar underneath your character’s health bar. Skills have cooldown times, but aren’t very long and can be used often. Good thing, as SoulDregs tend to swarm your character. SoulDregs range in appearance from giant acid-spitting spiders, electric wolves, and even mannequins wielding massive buzz saws. There’s even human-like SoulDregs to fight, though they’re more difficult as they have some intelligence. Enemies become progressively harder as you advance through the game, thus you’ll need more than your weapon.
Upgrades & Rewards
To make a character stronger, SoulWorker provides some options. For example, certain NPC’s give you quests to complete that involve fighting SoulDregs. Destroy them to earn Zenny, the game’s version of gold. Fully completing quests has you winning EXP, more Zenny, magical weapons and armor. After your character levels up with EXP, extra Skills are unlocked along with minigames and game modes, such as PvP. Your attack, defense, and health increase as well. Zenny is used to improve your weapons and armor, along with your Skills. The higher the level of your items and Skills, the more powerful you’ll be, and the faster you’ll defeat enemies.
Beautiful Yet Flawed
By all accounts, SoulWorker is a well-made game. Cutscenes and fighting animation are both colorful and fluid. Likewise, player characters and NPC’s move naturally. Although characters speak in Japanese, the written text is in English, so none of the story is missed. The personality of each character shines through stellar writing devoid of the grammar and spelling mistakes often seen in most foreign games. Sadly, there are a few noticeable issues, the first being the female player characters. An unfortunate constant in much of Japanese media, these underage girls are inappropriately dressed for battle. Generally speaking, real-life Japanese schoolgirl uniforms at the very least reach their knees, if not lower. Lily, Haru, Iris, and Stella (who looks like she’s five) wear skirts that stop halfway down their thighs.
It’s distressing to think that developers feel the need to sexualize girls who couldn’t be more than fifteen or sixteen. Though there isn’t any fanservice (i.e. panty shots), it would have been better if they’d worn pants. The last issue was moving your character around non-battle areas. At first, I had trouble getting my character to even begin moving. When they did move, they overshot the area where I wanted them to go, as if moving on their own. Thankfully, I figured out a solution. By tapping the quest button, my character would go to the necessary area with no trouble at all. A bit of knowledge that saved me a lot of potential stress and rage quitting.
Save the World
As shown above, SoulWorker Anime Legends is a fantastic RPG that’s colorful and well-animated. Each character has unique personalities and weapons, and their fighting styles reflect that. Keep in mind, the girls remain needlessly sexualized. In spite of this, fighting SoulDregs is incredibly engaging. Ultimately, the story draws you in and you don’t want to let go.
Is it Hardcore?
Well-written with fluid animation, this game is hard to put down. I do wish, however, the cycle of sexualizing minors could’ve been broken.