Top Critic Average
Mortal Shell is an extremely loyal Dark Souls homage with just enough clever new ideas to make fighting through its gorgeous world feel like something more than a rehash.
Both its world and story are entertaining to investigate, with glimpses of brilliance hidden amidst its gloomy environments and obscure characters. Ultimately, Mortal Shell is not a Souls game, but it is the best not-Souls game I've played so far.
The best Dark Souls clone so far features a number of interesting new ideas and also offers an experience that is easier to acclimatise to for new players.
Developer Cold Symmetry's budget action-RPG is a love letter to From Software's work, but Mortal Shell's take on similar ideas feels aimed at those who struggle to get through Soulsborne games.
At the end of those levels, I collect an object that I need to return to Fallgrim Tower — as the game drip feeds me information, I learn I need all three of them to escape. I fight my way back, deliver the item, and then start off again toward a new temple. The premise is concise and understandable — go here, collect this, come back, repeat two more times, win.
Mortal Shell’s scope ends up being a more significant net gain as it offers a brisk Soulslike experience without trying to overwhelm players with content for content’s sake.
Mortal Shell is a great debut for Cold Symmetry, but it's not a perfect game. It has awesome ideas with the shells, but it is also an opaque world with no clear story.
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Mortal Shell is just an incredibly satisfying experience. It'll punish you constantly, but if you can master the mechanics it lays out in front of you then you'll have an incredible time of things. The lore is a little more obvious that in other soulslikes, and the story it tells and the world it puts you in are both rather enthralling. This is definitely a game that fans of dying a lot will enjoy, but it's probably not for everyone.
Unfortunately, while Mortal Shell has a heart of gold, there are mechanics and core decisions that prevent it from being a truly great entry into these hallowed halls.