Not many games come along to completely define a genre on its own spanning multiple games and a passionate fan base while doing so. Among legends like Metroid and Castlevania, Dark Souls is one of such games. The series has been such a success; it’s garnered many games that aim to replicate its formula, some more successful than others. Similar to the staple franchise, the games listed below will test the player to their limits and then some.
Lords Of The Fallen
Lords Of The Fallen is one of the closest games to FromSoftware’s signature titles you can think of. It has a similar mechanic, as well as aesthetic and play style. It was also one of the few games in the then-budding sub-genre. While Lords Of The Fallen is a unique game, it wasn’t enough to set it apart from other more original titles at the time. Regardless, hardcore fans of the Souls series will still find a thing or two to enjoy with this game.
Salt and Sanctuary
One of the easier titles to follow up with a Souls game, but on a 2D perspective. Salt and Sanctuary is by far one of the best 2D Metroidvania games that also provides a level of difficulty most masochists will be proud to take on. It has a unique but familiar combat system, and much like the Dark Souls games, it also has incredible world-building to boot. If you’re a fan of both the Souls series and 2D games, this one’s made for you.
Often referred to as Robo Souls, The Surge is a game that captures the Souls formula quite well from the essential aspects such as the third-person perspective, health, and stamina system, to more specific elements like the combat system and lore. While it is generally considered a souls-like, it still has enough unique properties to stand on its own.
Perhaps the most different entry in this list, Ashen takes the Souls formula and mixes it with its own elements such as it’s simple cell-shaded graphics and its unique and refreshing atmosphere. The game’s co-op system is reminiscent of that of Journey’s and further adds to its tone. The enemies you’ll be fighting have an advanced level AI that’s sure to keep even any Souls veteran on their toes.
Dead Cells is one of the most popular Rouge-like that also happens to be a souls-like as well. It amazed players when it initially released back in 2018 with its exciting gameplay mechanic, flashy, almost blinding visuals and of course, its brutal difficulty. Players should expect to die multiple times and use the pain as fuel to learn the enemy moves and dominate them later on. Much like the staple series we all know and love.
As the newest title on this list, Mortal Shell has quickly become one of the most followed and loved souls-like games, and with good reason, as the game’s highly unique shell mechanic, as well as its eye-catching visuals, splendid world design and lore, succeeds in beckoning Souls fans alike. As a game inspired by the iconic series, it’s easily one of the best games in the sub-genre. For more information on Mortal Shell, you can read our recent review of it here.
Speaking of high tier games, Hollow Knight is objectively among the best games currently out. Upon first glance, you’d think it’s just your usual Metroidvania game, but it has a level of depth and complexity most games don’t even come close to having, coupled with its incredible boss battles, enemy design, lore, and atmospheric backgrounds and you have one of the best souls-like titles available. The game has had multiple new additions and adjustments and a sequel titled Silksong, is well on its way.
Perhaps the most popular 3D Souls-like, Nioh is an action RPG from Koei Tecmo and the famous Team Ninja. It’s also a game that has been compared to Dark Souls many times but has its own distinct properties, such as the existence of a coherent storyline, use of authentic Japanese weapons to match its setting, and overall more linear mission structure compared to Souls games. While its sequel is a better game in almost every way, Nioh is still very much a game worthy of being on this list.
Who better to make one of the best souls-like games than the masters who defined the genre FromSoftware. Sekiro is the latest title in the catalog of the developer that succeeded in winning the hearts of millions of players worldwide winning the Game of the Year achievement while doing so. FromSoftware also succeeded in transforming the established formula by introducing an all-new fleshed out combat system, unique prosthetic weapons, and a linear storyline. Not all things changed however, as a staple of FromSoftware titles, Sekiro is still an incredibly challenging game fit for veteran Souls fans.
Finally, we have yet another Juggernaut FromSoftware title. Bloodborne was the first title game director Miyazaki used to change the formula and successfully so. It sets the player in Yharnam, a fictional location inspired by Victorian London and integrates a mix of cosmic Lovecraftian horror as well as introducing a new style of gameplay to the Dark Souls games, from slow and precise, to fast and sporadically fun. The world design is fantastic and the bosses are incredibly fun, yet incredibly difficult to fight. Souls fans will feel right at home with Bloodborne, that is if there are any out there who hasn’t played it yet.
- This article was updated on:August 21st, 2020