I’m purchasing an Xbox Live Indie Game (XBLIG) every day, seeking out the quality titles that got lost in the shuffle and are not well represented in the top 50 lists on the Xbox Dashboard. Today is day #173, and today’s game is “Soulcaster II”.
Back on day 91 I reviewed “Soulcaster”, and loved it. I finally got through my backlog enough to buy Soulcaster II today, and I wasn’t at all disappointed. It’s a fabulous update to an already great game. But I’m getting ahead of myself.
First, from the developer (MagicalTimeBean):
“He’s back. Venture beyond the borders of Avericia into a new world of mystery and peril. Solve puzzles, discover secret treasure and destroy hordes of foes with the aid of your summoned Guardians.”
As with the first game, Soulcaster II has you invoking the souls of warriors in strategic combat. You cast them into combat, placing them where you need them to turn back enemy attacks, using the archer “Shaedu”‘s ability to shoot distances, the molotov-cocktail throwing “Bloodfire”‘s ability to fire over walls, and casting knight Aoex into areas where he can protect the others by engaging the enemy in melee combat (noting that he’s vulnerable from the sides and the rear). Experimenting with where and when to cast them keeps the game fresh, even on subsequent play-throughs. Leveling up the souls you carry with you returns in Soulcaster II, but new to this game is an ultimate weapon at the very top of the upgrade tree. Finally, the game is harder this time out which is a good choice given the first game was undeniably well crafted and very enjoyable but not a particularly hard game.
Looked at from an aesthetic perspective, Soulcaster II feels like a true sequel. Levels are different (providing a reason to play the first game, if you haven’t already), and the visuals have received a much appreciated facelift. The colour palette is deeper now, and the art a little more detailed. Looked at from a game engine perspective, it feels more like an expansion pack, as the core gameplay is little changed from the original. But when the original’s as good as it was, and with the game costing a pittance compared to the latest Call of Duty map pack, Soulcaster II is easy to recommend.
Click here to download “Soulcaster II”, and then please come back after playing to rate the game.
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