Can’t wait for Elden Ring? Play these games while you wait

Ring of Elden is the most anticipated game of 2022. It’s the next massive game from renowned developer FromSoftware, creators of the Soulslike genre, and the game already looks like brutal fun. That said, its release is still over a week away. As such, some players might get a little anxious and want to scratch that Soulslike itch before playing. Ring of Eldenthe start.

Those who can’t wait to play Ring of Elden – or those simply looking for similar games to enjoy alongside – should check out these titles. They will all give players a tough, but enjoyable time.

Sifu

Released earlier this month, Sifu is an intense action game with a unique hook. Each time the player dies in Sifu, they will age. Players get a bit stronger with each death, but also have less health to work with until death as they age over 80. Sifu rewards dedication and memorization as players are forced to learn the correct combos and routes through levels if they are to beat each level’s boss before dying of old age. Fans of FromSoftware games will appreciate how Sifu encourages players to improve by harshly punishing failure. This game can be quite frustrating at first, but once players learn the right strategies, it becomes extremely rewarding.

Beloved Digital Trends Sifu, giving it four and a half stars. “SifuThe punishing loop and intense fights are just brilliant,” says Otto Kratky’s review. “It’s one of those rare titles that doesn’t just ask players to do their best; it demands it instead. Not meeting this requirement means that the whole experience will be that much harder until you start doing better. For the majority of people, this won’t result in a fun gameplay experience, but it serves the themes of the game perfectly.”

Sifu will definitely give Ring of Elden a run for its money as the hardest game of February 2022. It’s available now on the Epic Games Store, PS4, and PS5.

Deadly Shell


For those who don’t want to replay the FromSoftware originals but want something that hits all the same notes nearly as well, I recommend Deadly Shell. It’s a shame dark souls clone, but it makes up for it by introducing some surprisingly solid twists on the Soulslike formula. Players own the “death shells” of dead warriors and have access to weapons and abilities dark souls players normally associate with certain classes. Players can also harden up at any time, even while attacking.

These little tweaks to the formula add a ton of depth, as players can find and upgrade the shells that work best for them in any situation. The hardening mechanism also means Deadly Shell feels a bit more aggressive to play than traditional Dark Souls, as players will be constantly evaluating when to harden or tank and attack for maximum effect. The game is available for PC, PS4, PS5, Xbox One and Xbox Series X. It is currently included with Xbox Game Pass.

Skul: The Hero Slayer


Skul: The Hero Slayer is more of a roguelike – a genre where you have to replay the adventure from the beginning when they die – rather than a Soulslike. Still, those who enjoy games that reward a player’s mastery of mechanics will love the punishing roguelike gameplay loop of Skul: The Hero Slayer. It also flips the script of most fantasy adventures as players control a character who would usually be considered the villain. The Hero of Caerleon and the Imperial Army unexpectedly attack the Demon King and his forces after a truce, so players take control of a skeleton that can equip different skulls to gain different abilities.

Playing as villains is a fun change of pace, and the constant skull switching is reminiscent of class building in Soulslikes or shell switching in Deadly Shell. Skul: The Hero Slayer is a challenging game where the smallest enemies can give the player as hard a time as gigantic bosses if the player doesn’t attack or dodge at the right time. Fans of Soulslikes, roguelikes, and pixel art should always enjoy this game on PC, PS4, Xbox One, and Nintendo Switch. It is currently included in the Xbox Game Pass.

infernax

A knight fixes a purple monster in Infernax.

The new release infernax is a 2D game inspired by Zelda II: Link’s Adventure and the Castlevania series. Players control a knight on a quest to free his homeland from a curse. It’s a bloody retro action game full of skeletons, dungeons, and lots of pixelated blood.

Although it doesn’t look like a Soulslike, it has some surprising similarities. For one thing, players earn experience points which can be spent on stat boosts by killing monsters. However, they lose all that experience if they don’t accumulate it at a save point, similar to how bonfires work in games like Dark Souls. It’s also packed with spooky, gothic monsters that fans of the Souls series will love. Since it can be knocked out in a matter of hours, it’s the perfect indie for fans who want to prepare for Ring of Eldenthe general feel of in a game with similar risk-reward (but lower stakes). infernax is available now on PC, Nintendo Switch, PS4, PS5, Xbox One and Xbox Series X/S. It’s also available as part of the Xbox Game Pass. ~ Giovanni Colantonio

The gate of death

A crow stands before a giant obelisk in Death's Door.

It’s not as difficult as any of the other games on this list, but The gate of death is still one of the best indie games of 2021. It follows a crow who collects the souls of giant bosses in order to unlock the titular gateway. Despite the involvement of souls, The gates of death is structured like a Metroidvania and plays more like underworld Where The Legend of Zelda: Link to the Past. Still, its world captures the eerie vibe that makes many FromSoftware games so thrilling, and is much more accessible than other games on this list due to its low difficulty.

Digital Trends really liked the game, giving it four and a half stars. “The gate of death presents players with an endless fantasy world filled with secrets, exhilarating boss fights, and a dark story that managed to make me laugh more than a few,” writes Otto Kratky. “Between it all, there’s a simple yet thrilling combat system that once again proves that the right developer can do a lot with simple tools.” The gate of death is available now for PC, PS4, PS5, Xbox One, Xbox Series X and Nintendo Switch. It is included in the Xbox Game Pass.

Demon’s Souls

Tower Knight in Demon's Souls.

Gamers who bought a PS5 for Ring of Elden should check out this FromSoftware classic if they haven’t already. Bluepoint Studios, now owned by Sony, has remade the first Souls game from the ground up exclusively for the PS5. Next to Ratchet & Clank: Rift Apart and Forbidden Horizon West, Demon’s Souls is one of the best showcases of what the PS5 can do. Its austere medieval world is realized in gruesome detail, with impressive lighting and visuals adding even more to the atmosphere FromSoftware is so good at creating.

For the most part, the gameplay of Demon’s Souls remains relatively intact, so the experience should play out exactly as you remember it. It will remind gamers why they love this kind of game before they discover what could very well be FromSoftware’s magnum opus. Really, gamers can’t go wrong replaying another of FromSoftware’s games before Ring of Eldenbut PS5 owners will get the most out of trying Demon’s Souls as a primer.

Ring of Elden will launch on February 25 on PC, PS4, PS5, Xbox One and Xbox Series X.

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About Laura J. Bell

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