Soul Chase

I'll admit outright that I'm a sucker for retro-styled platformer games made by indie developers. They always manage to scratch that nostalgic itch for well-designed games with simple controls and tough-as-nails level design. One such game that I instantly fell in love with recently is Soul Chase, created by solo indie developer Ajlon as part of a game jam, and just released on the Google Play Store. It checks all the boxes for what makes a great retro-styled platformer, and definitely falls into the category of "challenging to the point of frustration" — you know the ones. Where you know you just needed to be a bit more accurate with your jumps and attacks to avoid getting hit, but you just reach that point where you need to put the game down and walk away.

Fortunately, Soul Chase also lets you jump right back in when you're ready for another go because there's always more ghouls to banish and a soul to chase!

With most speed-running platformers, the story is pretty much besides the point. In Soul Chase, you play the knight who defends a town that's been overrun by ghouls. After making a questionable deal with a witch, the knight's soul will try and escape if he ever falls asleep, meaning you must chase down your soul every night or else it belongs to an evil witch for eternity. It's all pretty standard witch stuff, I guess. Each level has the knight attempting to track down his escaping soul before it escapes, but of course, the witch has laid out a deadly obstacle course of enemies, disappearing platforms, and bottomless pits in the way. You collect coins along the way which can be spent on upgrades back at town, and in that way, Soul Chase lets you make things slightly easier for yourself the longer that you play. Meanwhile, the game continually ups the difficulty level through all 21 levels which are divided into three chapters — each capped off with an epic boss battle.

This game is not for the weak-spirited. It's a game that will straight up say you "gotta git gud" over and over again as you die repeatedly, often in the same spots, until you get past that section and beat the level. The level of satisfaction when completing a run is genuine because it's a true feat — then you can challenge yourself to do it again, but faster and more efficiently. Soul Chase is designed to test your gaming skills, speed, and accuracy while also driving you up the walls a bit with speed-running elements thrown in to make repeated play appealing.

I've just spent an hour or so with the game and I can already tell it's among my favorites of the year. On top of being really well-designed, the retro music and sound effects are spot-on. The game is free to play with minimal ads from the Google Play Store and is definitely a top recommendation for all Android gamers.

Download: Soul Chase (Free w/Ads)

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