Void Sols is an atmospheric and highly customisable Soulslike for people who are rubbish at Soulslikes

You know me and Soulslikes. We’re not particularly best buddies most of the time. We’ve had a couple of successful outings over the years with the likes of Death’s Door and Hollow Knight and company, but anything with pure FromSoft blood running through its veins has always left me cold. Void Sols, however, is an upcoming Soulslike that feels like it might be able to satisfy both sides of the ‘git gud’ camp, appealing to nervous dodge-rollers like myself while also giving hardened Elden Ringers a run for their money. It’s all down to its plentiful supply of approachable customisation options, allowing you to ratchet up the difficulty if you’re finding things a bit easy, or knock it down, reapply your stat points, and even create whole new loadouts – each with their own individual stat combinations – to win the day. It’s all wonderfully considerate, and having played the free demo that’s just launched on Steam, I’d strongly recommend giving it a go if you’re feeling in need of a little training ahead of Elden Ring: Shadow Of The Erdtree coming out.

You may well have come across Void Sols before now, of course. Back at the end of 2022, solo developer Kartik Kini at Finite Reflection released a short free prologue for the game, mostly to see if there was any player interest to warrant turning it into something more. The demo eventually caught the eye of publisher Modern Wolf, who are now helping Kini turn it into a full game – and today there’s a new, spruced up Steam demo to celebrate.

Void Sols | Announcement Trailer

I had a sneak peek of this demo earlier this week and had a smashing time with it – and not just because it looks like Geometry Wars as a top down Soulslike. It’s certainly a challenge on its default difficulty mode, but as Kini was keen to point out, the game’s been deliberately designed with approachability in mind. As well as Forgiving and God Mode options, for example, you can also whack up its custom difficulty sliders in the other direction to really give yourself an incredibly hard time indeed if you prefer. There’s no right or wrong way to play Void Sols, he told me, and the hope is that it can act as both a gateway into the genre, as well as a sizable, meaty challenge for returning Soulslikers.

The demo begins in a dark, moody prison, the glow of your tiny, white triangle barely illuminating what’s in front of you. As you wander through its torchlit halls, the shadows will bend and wrap around its corners, gradually revealing a room’s nooks and crannies as you push forward, but closing off your line of sight for what’s behind you. It’s wonderfully atmospheric, and the tension between its visuals and moody soundscape does a brilliant job of putting you on the back foot as you tentatively try to find an escape route.

A triangle fights a prison archer in Void Sols
Image credit: Modern Wolf

The sight of a guard filled me with dread every time I came across them – often in pairs or gangs of three with a mixture of enemy types in tow – though thankfully their clearly-defined silhouettes made it easy to remember which was which. Their attacks are reasonably well-telegraphed, too, giving you ample time to settle into a steady rhythm of dodge-rolling and attacking them with your sword. Eventually, though, I found a neat little stabby dagger, which I paired with throwing knifes as a secondary weapon type that could stun enemies in their tracks. I also found numerous relics that buffed certain stats, though all of them came at a cost of another. There are still some synergies to be found in its clever stat system though. While sword power relies on Strength, for example, my dagger’s attack power comes from Dexterity, making the relic that increased my speed at the cost of strength an easier choice to make.

If I wanted to switch back to my sword in the future, however, I’d be able to do so without crippling my current build or stat improvements, as you’re not only able to have different loadouts in Void Sols, but any time you rest at a campfire to either level up or restore your health, you can freely reassign all your current stat points however you wish – both for your current loadout and the other three you might have in reserve. It’s absolutely genius, and places a real and profound emphasis on player expression and experimentation that isn’t just there for the sake of it.

A stats menu in Void Sols
Image credit: Modern Wolf

The combat itself felt weighty and satisfying in the hands, too, and every encounter felt like a fraught and intense little dance inside a shadowy and oppressive pressure cooker. There’s also a particularly nasty boss waiting at the end of it who I won’t spoil, but once you succeed in cleaving a way past him, Kini tells me the world of Void Sols will open up dramatically, thrusting you out into a semi open world of icy mountains, dense forests and deep cave networks. You could just as easily book it to the final boss, but there will be power-ups, weapons and more to find in these other locations if you take the time to explore them. He says he’s taken a lot of inspiration from Breath Of The Wild and Hyper Light Drifter on this front, and players will be mostly left to their own devices to pick their way through its story.

It’s a tantalising prospect, and if Kini can marry the tentative pacing of the prison with these kinds of larger, more open ended spaces, then Void Sols could be quite the promising Soulslike indeed. It doesn’t have a release date just yet, but this is definitely one to watch – so get that Steam demo played pronto if you fancy giving it a go yourself.

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