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A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this game.
The game's primary aim is to dazzle with intense fantasy combat, but the story contains strong themes of sisterhood and sacrifice, with the two main characters repeatedly professing their loyalty and love for each other.
Positive Role Models
The main characters -- sisters Briar and Lute -- are devoted to each other, and to ridding the world of wraiths. They express sadness that their enemies have corrupted and broken so many humans, and sorrow that they must now be the instrument of their demise.
The two main characters are young pale-skinned women. Non-player characters are male and female and similarly light-skinned.
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Ease of Play
There are a lot of combat systems to learn, including button combinations for more powerful attacks. In-game tutorials and tips explain everything, but if it's too challenging, players can adjust a wide variety of settings, from combat difficulty to accessibility options that allow certain abilities to be triggered automatically, making the game much simpler.
Violence & Scariness
Third-person combat is composed primarily of melee attacks with weapons such as swords mixed with magical fields and effects. Enemies -- most of which were once human, but are now possessed monsters -- are frequently cut to unidentifiable bits, blood splashing up from every swing of Briar's sword. Dead bodies are found lying around environments, often impaled or crumpled in unnatural ways. Players have the option to increase the amount of blood and gore depicted in the game, and can switch blood color from black to red.
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Sex, Romance & Nudity
Some enemies appear partially naked from the waist up.
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Mild language pops up in text and spoken dialogue, including the words "damn" and "hell."
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know Soulstice is an action role-playing game for Xbox Series S/X, PlayStation 5, and Windows PCs. Players are cast in the roles of a pair of transformed sisters -- one a superpowered human, the other a ghost-like entity who trails behind -- who fight together to rid a gothic fantasy realm of an invasion of wraiths. The pair use a mix of powerful melee attacks and magic to strike down enemies that were once human but are now corrupted monsters, chopping them to unrecognizable bits, dark blood flowing with each strike. They also pass the remains of countless slaughtered humans along their journey. The sisters share a strong and emotional bond, and are committed not just to completing their mission and saving humanity but also to each other. They express sorrow at the state of the world and for the humans who have been transformed into soulless monsters, but that doesn't stop them from their violent task. Spoken dialogue contains infrequent and mild profanity. Parents should also be aware that while the game can be very demanding, the developers have included multiple difficulty and accessibility options that can make it much more approachable for rookies and players with special needs.
Is It Any Good?
Players in search of a linear action-RPG (role-playing game) with plenty of style and loads of difficulty and accessibility options will find it here. Soulstice doesn't aim to knock your socks off with innovative action, but is instead satisfied to deliver an enjoyable combat-oriented experience. Its dark, gothic environments are pretty and framed such that they feel much larger and more open than they really are, creating a cinematic atmosphere. Most of the story -- especially the details of Briar and Lute's history and sisterly relationship -- is efficiently revealed through emotive dialogue that pops up organically as the pair work their way through each level. And while the fighting isn't exactly original -- it's mostly just button combinations to attack and well timed taps to dodge and defend -- the controls are tight and the action is nicely animated, capable of getting a player's blood pumping.
What's really nifty is that players have an enormous range of options when it comes to tuning how they want to play and how challenging they want the experience to be. Finding it a bit too overwhelming to activate Lute's defensive abilities while fighting? You can set many of her actions -- such as blocking incoming attacks or throwing up magical fields -- to activate automatically. Having trouble landing some of Briar's more challenging combinations? Just enable auto-attack and she'll perform spectacularly when you get close enough to an enemy. And this is in addition to choosing from five separate generalized combat difficulty settings. What all this means is that players who like a challenge can experience the satisfaction of learning how to do everything manually while taking on relentless foes, while less experienced players can still succeed and view the action in all its glory without having to master more sophisticated mechanics. Soulstice's barrier to entry is low, and that's a welcome surprise for a genre typically known for its punishing difficulty.
Did we miss something on diversity?
Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive portrayals in media. That's why we've added a new "Diverse Representations" section to our reviews that will be rolling out on an ongoing basis. You can help us help kids by suggesting a diversity update.