A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this game.
The game is light on conveying messages. There are notes scattered throughout the world that provide details about its history and culture, but a general takeaway from Thymesia is that caution and care are needed in the care and study of nature and biology.
Positive Role Models
Just about every character besides one that you interact with is hostile. The friendly one helps you in your quest to recover your memories, but her role is more functional than story driven. Other characters are spoken about in story logs, which reveal some who try to use their scientific advances in alchemy for good, whereas others succumb to using these for selfish gain.
The main character's identity is mysterious. The only friendly character that helps you is a young girl. Any human-like characters are an even mix of men and women at various stages of turning into monstrous creatures. Thymesia is a medieval fantasy in a presumably European-like kingdom, so the humans are white.
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Ease of Play
Thymesia is a "Soulslike" that takes a lot of inspiration from the popular Dark Souls franchise. This means that tense, difficult combat defines the experience. The player must study enemy movement patterns, especially those of bosses, in order to properly dodge and deflect attacks. Trial and error is common, and it will take a couple hours to adjust to the mechanics. But Thymesia looks and feels great as an intentionally challenging game.
Violence & Scariness
You wield a sword and dagger with an arsenal of ethereal green melee weapons that can be summoned at will. Players will brutally hack, slash, claw, and stab foes with splatters and bursts of blood aplenty. Blood trails and pools can be seen in environments as well. Most of the enemies are like normal zombies, but some will have especially disfigured and mutated features that can be scary. But there's no dismemberment or excessive gore.
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Sex, Romance & Nudity
There's one enemy character that wears a harlequin-like outfit with a formfitting bodice, but barely any cleavage is shown.
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Drinking, Drugs & Smoking
There's a fictional vaccine called "Pure Blood" that cures people who are infected with a plague. But its usage has gone awry with others who use it to turn animals and humans (or themselves) to gain powers. One such character injects himself with a vial before transforming into a monster.
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that Thymesia is an action-RPG (role-playing game) inspired by the popular Dark Souls franchise, and is available for Nintendo Switch, Xbox One S|X, PlayStation 5, and Windows PCs. You play as a skilled warrior who survives within a prosperous kingdom brought low by a plague that turned everyone into monsters. Your memories have left you, and now you must relive the past by exploring the kingdom to discover how the world came to this sorry state. Thymesia contains a lot of monsters, some of which with exposed, infected flesh and disfigured bodies. There's blood with pools and trails of it in environments, and splatters and bursts of it amid combat. But there's no dismemberment or excessive gore. There are substances called Pure Blood and Vile Blood that characters are described as using to become immune to a plague or increase their strength. One character is shown injecting this into his neck and transforming into a monster.
Is It Any Good?
This short adventure takes its influences from dark, difficult games, but its combat is the star of the tale. In Thymesia, players fight their way through a medieval kingdom with a sword and dagger in hand, along with a slew of ghostly "plague weapons." These can be temporarily summoned to not only do damage from near or far, but also add to or enhance existing abilities like healing and dodging. Players are even incentivized to single out foes who will drop items that upgrade particular weapons' capabilities. Character stats, potions, abilities -- all of these can be enhanced as well, sometimes without penalty for experimentation when a certain ability isn't cutting it. For example, you can choose to have your dagger deflect or block attacks. There's more risk and reward with the former, but the latter is the easier option without timing required. There's flexibility and permutation with core abilities that makes feeling out what works for you fun, even if it would've been nice to have one or two more main weapons instead of a single sword.
Thymesia is a beautifully animated and fluid game. Some enemies can be a drag to fight with moves that are hard to read, but with some patience, figuring out and memorizing their attacks is thrilling as you dodge and parry blows. Normal enemies and bosses vary greatly in their moves, which makes each new encounter fresh. Players are encouraged to revisit locations with entirely new bosses, and while this shows the game's depth and breadth, the same isn't true with exploration. There are only three major areas that take a couple hours each to complete. New quests are largely the same main levels starting from different locations that lead to small new areas. Some levels are unusually lacking of enemies or small in scope as well. There's no voice acting, and the story isn't that compelling or essential because, where it counts, Thymesia is a reasonably priced experience for what it does offer with exciting and polished combat.
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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.