Nowadays game trend is starting to pay attention to some uncommon playing styles like horror survival. With team play, combined a bit creepy gloom that it brings to, will make it more and more attractive. Since 2016, there have been many horror survival games released on all platforms, such as Palmyra Orphanage, Paper Dolls, and many other indie horror games. In particular, there is one title recently getting a lot of attention is Soul at Stake, a new product has an oriental identity and developed from Chongming Studio – China.
Game background is a bit creepy and spooky.
Soul at Stake is placed under a strange and lifeless background. The four “gamblers” try to escape from devils but cannot find a way out. All they can do is fight against these demons and regain their souls.
Ghost Xi’E built each illusion based on the real world therefore they were too real to see the truth. It was an abandoned train station where loud explosions could be heard in the wind. The next place is a deserted palace, and occasionally bitter sigh resounds at midnight. It was a spectacle of a distant Hakka Tulou cursed for a terrible ghost wedding.
Thrilling and horror circumstances
Experience Soul at Stake; gamers will have to be obsessed with Xi’E appearance, an evildoer who lurks and specializes in doing bad things with the earthly life. You have to face many challenges, and it is essential to kill other devils. Some situations will lead you to spooky stories, unjust murder cases, or bloody murder scenes that make many people dare to continue playing the next stage. So, let start if you are a confident person.
Soul at Stake gameplay, unusual team
Soul at Stake gameplay is the same as other indie horror games, such as Detention. Four gamblers will find a way to get out from monsters who are hovering behind like traditional ghost movies, we used to watch before.
All main tasks are to activate some scattered structures to get out of here. However, Soul at Stake activation mechanism is slightly different; they only work by playing Western cards, called Poker. Players must arrange a trio of cards so that it will be valid for these structures to use.
Cards are searched all over the map, and it’s your job to figure out and combine them. Besides unlock function, player can also use those cards to restore themselves if devil accidentally hits them. It can be seen as a card game where you bet your own life and other players’ lives.
An unfair competition
All who participated in this war were stripped of their souls and dragged into a 4-man battle. What they see are monsters. So Soul at Stake players will have to collect any cards or break any seals on the way. However, everything they earned from Xi’E is just a small opportunity to survive.
Each “gambler” fights for a particular purpose
Each player will hold one soul and fight for different goals. Someone has lost loving people, money, wants to regain youth, beauty, or even life. Someone is hiding from prison and wants to end everything here. Someone was innocent, and Xi’E deceived them in this confrontation. But whatever their purpose was, in Xi’E’s eyes, he only needed to steal their souls to accomplish the goal.
In every Soul at Stake gamble, gamers can receive their stakes through sealing the cardholder. This staking gives both sides hope for victory and arouses their greed. Bet bonuses can be exchanged for all items hunted from Ghost Xi’E. Of course, behind these hopes are demon tricks who always wanted to eat human’ essence and energy.
How to win?
In Soul at Stake gameplay, gamblers and demons are continually exploring and learning from each other. If you’re a gambler, you have to decide whether to focus on cardholders or help an injured teammate or escape to protect yourself.
If you are a devil, you have to decide whether to hunt or wait for all gamblers to come to you, to chase players or sneak attacks. Every encounter is a life-and-death battle where any choice can be dangerous for you.
After all, it’s a game of souls, and stakes are your life. To be a winner, gamblers and demons have to continually improve themselves to discover new abilities, which will help them live longer and face new gambles. It is not about characters’ endless greed, but they have to overcome above difficulties to survive.
Soul at Stake graphics is quite similar to Southeast Asians
This kind of survival horror is not picky about players, but almost games nowadays have a survival style with quite Western graphics, and some Southeast Asian players find it challenging to feel the “soul” of this genre. But Soul at Stake may be a new exception when game graphics are almost entirely pure East Asian cultures, specifically China.
From gambler’s high-cut cheongsam to devil’s Man Thanh dress, it all creates a very peculiar, very familiar feeling that is more accessible and empathic than Western clowns or masks out there.
Soul at Stake reviews said game graphics must be said to be quite and very good than many other indie horror games. When outside standby screen, you will be impressed with extremely standard devil and gambler’s shape. Among them, Tan Nuong is a character with the most impressive shape.
Dressed in a dark red wedding gown on a happy day, with her head off and scissors in hand, I think no one would be foolish to provoke this bride. The effect of swaying light bulbs in sparkling light makes the “beauty” of Soul at Stake’s characters more magical and mysterious.
Game sound has successfully recreated context of ancient Chinese era. Cries of gamblers and devil also exuded haunting game atmosphere.
Assessing Soul at Stake limitations
Indeed, life is not a dream; when I first started experiencing Soul at Stake, I realized this game had many limitations. The effects are less smooth. Even flaps while moving, they seem fake. The character’s moves are relatively rigid, although other’s actions are not bad.
In addition to graphics, match-finding system in Soul at Stake also makes other people bored than ever. Although it was a team play, I had a big problem when I went to play with the next 3 players because match-finding system was too slow and took too much time.
Despite its limitations, I still rate Soul at Stake as a pretty successful game. Soul at Stake release date is June 25, 2018. At that time, it had a significant effect on gaming community because of its gameplay. I was particularly impressed with game’s character creation, and to me, Soul at Stake is still a game worth experiencing.