The Dark Souls games (Bloodborne, too) have always been a bit hit-or-miss with folks. Those who can stomach the punishing difficulty, or learn how to work around it, tend to love them. So much so that a third (technically more of a fifth) title release is right around the corner. Yes, I’m talking about Dark Souls 3, and yes, I’m really looking forward to it myself. But what to do in the meantime?
Sure there’s always the option of playing Demon’s Souls, Dark Souls, Dark Souls 2, and/or Bloodborne. But what if you’ve already played each of those games to death? Well I mean… you know what I mean. What if you’re looking for something to tide you over in bite-sized chunks? Something you could even play while you’re waiting in line to pick up Dark Souls 3?
That’s where DragonSlasher comes in.
DragonSlasher is a seemingly little-known mobile game that was released almost five years ago as a sort of unofficial, 2D side-scrolling stand in for the punishing but popular series. And it still holds up pretty well today, if you can believe that. Granted it’s meant to be played in shorter bursts and most likely won’t suck away dozens of hours of your life, but it’ll definitely keep you occupied.
You play the part of the hero, naturally, on a quest to fight the baddies and save the something from the something else. In other words, it’s a framework for why you get to go around killing things and collecting loot. I’d complain, but in all honesty I think Dark Souls-ian levels of exposition and lore would be a deterrent in a mobile action game.
So the how is DragonSlasher actually like Dark Souls (aside from sharing the same initials, obviously)? It all comes down to the push-your-luck elements. Here you’re collecting Gold – either from random piles of junk laying around the levels or from straight up murdering anything that looks at you funny. Then you use that gold to buy better gear, learn powerful spells, and increase your character’s stats so that they’re more effective in combat and can use better stuff.
Oh, and if you die, all the gold you were carrying is dropped on the spot and you’ll have to fight your way back to it or risk losing it forever if you die again before you can collect it. Sound familiar?
That, plus finding all the secrets hidden in each level, excitedly discovering some new (and really nasty) weapon that you can’t quite use yet, and facing tougher and tougher enemies give DragonSlasher a pretty effective Dark Souls vibe, albeit on an obviously smaller scale. The levels aren’t massive and the enemy variety is somewhat limited, sadly. But for what it is – a simplified, 2D Dark Souls you can play on your phone – it does the job quite well.
So if you’re looking for some pocket Dark Souls, look no further than DragonSlasher. You can download a pretty extensive demo on the App Store for free, with a full game unlock only setting you back $0.99.