Looking for more games to play that mirror FromSoftware’s Souls formula? These are the best Soulslike games you can try after the genuine Souls series.
With Elden Ring being a monumental success, FromSoftware’s Souls games have finally entered the mainstream space. Before, the series was considered relatively niche, despite the success of games like Dark Souls and Bloodborne. As a result, an entire sub-genre of third-party games that resemble the Souls series has emerged known as Soulslikes.
Many of these Soulslike titles are so much more than just imitators, while heavily inspired by FromSoftwares games, each brings its own deep lore, addictive gameplay, and a breathtaking world to explore. Each also brings the crushing difficulty associated with genuine Souls games.
Below, we’ve ranked the very best Soulslike games for you to try once you finish off FromSoftware’s own catalog of classics.
Soulslike vs. Souls games
There’s a clear distinction between Soulslike games and actual Souls games that we’ll briefly explain.
A Souls game is a title developed by FromSoftware that follows the formula set by 2009’s PS3 game Demon’s Souls. While these FromSoftware titles are all unique, many of them share various elements and gameplay loops/troupes, and despite being considered independent franchises, all fall under the Souls game umbrella – even if they’re released under different publishers. Each has one key architect, and that is FromSoft’s Hidetaka Miyazaki.
Each is considered the spiritual successor to the last and these games include Demon’s Souls (and its 2020 remake), the Dark Souls trilogy, Bloodborne, and Elden Ring. Collectively, this group of FromSoftware games comprises the Souls series, although each is set within its own self-contained universe – however, some elements, themes, locations, items, and even characters do crossover as a nod to fans.
Therefore, a Soulslike is any game that follows this style that is not designed by FromSoftware. Here are the best Soulslike games you can try in 2022:
Best Soulslike games ranked
As we explained above, the below list will only feature Soulslike games rather than games from FromSoftware’s Souls series. This means Demon’s Souls, Dark Souls 1-3, Bloodborne, and Elden Ring won’t be included:
Thymesia is heavily inspired by FromSoftware’s Bloodborne even down to the character and world design. However, the game never quite matches the horrific beauty of From’s nightmarish masterpiece. Still, Thymesia is a worthwhile distraction for Soulslike fans looking for a bitesize fix of bleak RPG action.
The game has its own lore and world, which are certainly worth exploring, but Thymesia mostly just made us crave a Bloodborne 2 – or a PS5 remaster if you’re listening FromSoftware.
The Surge / The Surge 2
The Surge (and its even better sequel) could be considered Robo Souls if you’re a fan of the sub-genre. By The Surge 2, the series had really found its footing and while it emulates the Dark Souls formula to a degree, offers its own futuristic take on that style of gameplay.
It’s also a game that rewards players with lots of lovely loot, letting you constantly upgrade your character until you’re a robot ass-kicking legend.
Steelrising is far from perfect and its combat can feel a bit dull by the end, but its premise is amazing. The game is set during the French Revolution in a timeline where the king has used creepy clockwork robots to frighten the rebels into submission.
Naturally, everything goes horribly wrong and the robots soon lead their own uprising. That is until Aegis, the player character and a robot herself, becomes self-aware and steps up to stop the slaughter and save not only the people of France – but her own kind too.
Mortal Shell is mostly influenced by the Dark Souls trilogy, offering a similar grimdark feel where a nameless character goes on a quest to change their fate and that of the world. Like FromSoft’s oppressive and bleak world, the game relies on environmental storytelling, and those that truly spend some time in it will find it very rewarding.
The game is available on Xbox Game Pass and is an absolute must-play to those who either linked the fire or let it fade to embers.
Lords of the Fallen
Lords of the Fallen was one of the first Soulslike games to imitate the Souls series and is still one of the best to this day. The game is a lot clunkier than FromSoftware’s adventures, but it works – as the heft from swinging the weapons makes combat feel satisfying.
Dying in Lords of the Fallen also has even more of a risk-reward system than the main Souls series, meaning players will be tempted to push a little further, even as the danger increases. A reboot/sequel of the same name has also been announced.
Code Vein is a stylish, gory, anime Soulslike where players take the role of a vampire in a post-apocalyptic world. The title wears its Souls influence proudly on its sleeve and offers a lot of new ideas that will delight fans of the sub-genre and new players alike.
There’s no multiplayer in the game, but the protagonist is accompanied by a partner character. This strips away much of the difficulty but that doesn’t stop Code Vein from being a fun experience.
Nioh / Nioh 2
Nioh is truly the king of all Soulslike games and the ultimate love letter to FromSoftware’s design. However, this series is developed by Team Ninja and published by Koei Tecmo, so has nothing to do with FromSoft.
The first game is set in 17th-century Japan and follows Irish adventurer, William Adams who finds himself embroiled in significant historic events of the era just as demons – or Yokai – begin to invade the land.
Nioh’s combat is exceptional and offers so many different ways to approach it. If that wasn’t enough, the game’s unique Ki system adds a layer of depth to combat and makes the player aware of what they’re doing at all times.
Nioh 2 is a prequel to the first game in which the player controls a Yokai fighting to stop the demonic invasion. The game follows the formula established by its predecessor but pushes the envelope even further.
Fans of any Souls game will be instantly at home with Nioh and Nioh 2. However, both games take a more arcade-like approach to combat, rather than the methodical duals of From’s titles. A spiritual successor known as Wo: Long Fallen Dynasty is also in the works.
There you have it, the best Soulslike titles ranked. For more original content, check out more below:
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