Elden Ring – a Dark Souls successor in all but name – has been out for a while now, and there’s a good chance that many wandering Tarnished have now come to the end of their journeys. If you’ve completed your journey to become Elden Lord but are craving those Souls-like kicks, here are some of the best Souls-like games (not called Dark Souls, Bloodborne or Elden Ring) you can play today.
There’s a lot of crossover between Souls-like and Metroidvania games, which we’ve also created a list for here.
1. Hollow Knight
Hollow Knight remains quite possibly the best Souls-like out there not made by FromSoft. From its atmosphere to world design and key facets like the fact that when you die you need to go and retrieve your souls from the place that you died, Hollow Knight nails the Souls-like formula while very much carving its own path.
Hollow Knight’s combat is mechanically simple but deceptively difficult, as you need to warily monitor enemy attack patterns in order not to get pounded into the ground. It really is a beautiful game too, with a crisp haunting art style and lots of stylistic flourish (such as how the hero actually gets out a map and slows down when you bring up the map screen).
2. Mortal Shell
Amidst all the games that are clearly derived from Dark Souls, you have to admire Mortal Shell for being quite so brazen. From its forlorn kingdom that you explore to your hollowed out protagonist, Mortal Shell is basically shouting ‘Yes, I’m ripping off Dark Souls, you have a problem with that?’
No, no we don’t.
Mortal Shell has a few hooks of its own too. You can possess the husks of four different warriors, each with their own play style and progression system, and the ability to turn to stone for one hit is a player-friendly touch in an otherwise tough old Souls-like.
Stretching the definition of Souls-like (how about Souls-like-like?), Outward takes a lot of cues from Dark Souls’ combat, and has an interesting way of making death an integral part of your journey. It’s a little less ‘RPG’ than Dark Souls too, without a classic leveling progression system (you instead spend money to be trained in various skills, letting you kind of freeform your build).
An open-world game split into a few huge and distinct zones, one of the biggest challenges in Outward is the survival element, as you need to watch that food, drink and temperature to survive out there. Oh, and the whole thing can be played co-op split-screen or online, letting you share in the agony and ecstasy it puts you through.
4. Remnant: From the Ashes
Returning to games that more closely follow that Soulsian blueprint, Remnant: From the Ashes pretty much transports it directly to a post-apocalyptic setting where you get to use a mix of melee weapons and guns to take down all kinds of monstrosities from evil ents to scythe-wielding demons.
It’s a fair bit simpler than Dark Souls in terms of level design, with certain randomized elements that mean it doesn’t feel quite so clever, though the environmental art looks great. It goes all-in on co-op too, letting you play through the entire game alongside up to two other friends once you complete the tutorial, making for one of the best co-op experiences around.
5. Death’s Door
We’ll let you in on a little secret: Souls-like games don’t have to be balls-hard!
Death’s Door is proof of that. One of the sleeper hits of 2021 has the sad worn-out world, the huge bosses and that wonderful sense of exploration, but scraps the respawning enemies and punishment for death.
The game looks beautiful too, casting you as a bipedal crow traversing a sombre but magical world in which you run around harvesting souls of all kinds of monsters out to trample you. True to the Souls style, a big part of the game is learning enemy attack patterns, dodging and countering at the right moments. It just doesn’t beat you up so hard when you fail.
If you’ve trawled our pages here at WebGeekStuff, then you’ll see that this gorgeous guilt-and-penitence-filled Metroidvania populating other pages too. As we mentioned earlier, Metroidvania and Souls-likes share a lot of traits, and Blasphemous borrows pretty evenly from both genres.
Set in a world inspired by medieval Catholic Spain, Blasphemous casts you as the Penitent One, who traverses the world’ keeps, sewer systems and barren landscapes in search of… something? In truth, the story is pretty obscure but that lets you focus entirely on the crunchy mechanics and beautiful pixel art. It’s a stunning game, with some memorable bosses and a tough death system that sends you back to checkpoints and requires you to retrieve your body if you wish to return to full strength.