Written by ALFA_OverloRd
This game had been on my wishlist for a GOOD amount of time, and it finally went on sale for 75% off, and when I bought it, I completely forgot about it. Then I figured out around 3 months later that it was in my library, and I dove into it.
Dungeon Souls is a dungeon-crawling RPG rogue-lite, featuring a top-down bullet-hell combat system, equipped with appealing pixel art and a very fitting soundtrack. Seriously, some of these tunes are just great.
You choose 1 of 10 classes to dive in for the run, and are dropped into baby-easy mode for the first few floors. Gold and materials for the Arcane Forge (more on that later) litter the floor as you wipe out any and all opposition. Crushing simple melee units in the palm of your hand and harvesting their XP to get stronger for the future battles, it truly is a satisfying time.
Your main goal is to dodge traps in hallways or corners of rooms, activate 5 runes (which summons enemies for each), then escape back to the spawn point to move to the next floor. Each floor has 2 standard levels, followed by a level-specific boss battle.
The bosses have rather simple patterns (some exceptions), but they punish you for not respecting them. Hard. These guys hit like trucks, and on certain classes, it can be instant-death to get caught in a bad spot just once. However, it's easy to not get caught in the bad spots with proper planning and execution - death is to learn the dungeon and your enemies, so use your fallen character as a key to success.
Using a specific class gives you star ranks, which increases their stats, as well as a new look, and bonus stat points when they level up in a run. On top of that for an advantage, the Arcane Forge can be used to craft new gear for your characters, making them more stronger than their vanilla selves. I, personally, prefer piercing shots on all of my classes, but having the ability to freeze or burn enemies with your basic attacks could come in handy on some classes.
So where's the downside? Balancing. This game is SUPER imbalanced, and I don't say that lightly. In order to feel not-disadvantaged at all on difficulties above normal, you need 5 star rank. However, the only bonus for higher difficulties is more XP, and if you're 5 star, you don't need XP anymore. It, also, makes that advantage you worked super hard for completely null, as you're back to square-one, except you're equipped with your knowledge of the game. (not that it matters)
Additionally, late-game content is erratic. One level (no spoilers) is baby-easy, the next is "I was a pixel off and got insta-killed." Remember me mentioning the bosses hit hard? The main antagonist of the dungeon literally one-shot me with absolutely no warning whatsoever - no showing of an attack or anything. I was watching her to learn her patterns, looked at me for any explosion indicators, then just rolled over. No bullets - no explosions, my character just died. I actually laughed; I had expected it to happen based on what had happened to my previous characters, and I was STILL surprised I was right.
Another problem is the gold and materials glows stack on top of each other, if you have 6 gold pieces on your screen, any enemies near them might as well be invisible behind the intense glare streaming into your eyes. It's probably a simple issue to fix, and will be fixed soon once the developers work out their internal issues that they have going on, but man, it's really bothering at the moment.
On top of that, melee classes are far too slow and clunky - there is absolutely no joy to come with walking towards the enemies, doing EXTREMELY short-ranged swings and hoping they don't attack while you are on your way there. They're durable, sure, and it would fix my instant-death problem, but their DPS is negligible (at least early on - I sure hope their scaling is great), and having 0.37 seconds to identify a pattern and get out of the way (not factoring in character movement speed) is down-right ridiculous.
FINAL SCORE: 7
"Really? After that huge rant you're giving it a 7/10? This game sounds like it blows!"
I did word it that way, because it puts to shame the game it could be. This could be one of the most fun games ever made, if the bugs and the balancing get worked out. There is so much potential in this game, and the devs have said they plan on updating it more in the future. Despite all of that ranting, I still play the game, because it IS fun. Sure, the last(?) boss is busted overpowered and unfun to face, but getting to her is a blast.
Once this game is put back on track with updates, it might even make it to 9.5/10 (because explaining how this game is equal to Enter the Gungeon and Dead Cells would be an extreme challenge)