I've said it before, and I'll say it again: sometimes, it's worth coming back to an older game for our Android Game of the Week highlight because it's just that awesome. We've covered a few titles that aren't the newest kids on the block, but they still bring joy. So this week, let's take a step back in time to check out Wayward Souls.
Yep, we're going real old school on this one. Some call this an ARPG with rogue-like elements while others claim it's a rogue-like with ARPG elements. Regardless of which camp you find yourself in, this game blends the two genres into something... well, into something just fantastic.
I tend to fall into the "rogue-like with ARPG elements" camp. At its core, Wayward Souls sports many of the hallmarks, notably perma-death. Each level is randomly generated, so it's never the same when you go back. From that standpoint alone, this game earns some respect for how well it incorporates those elements. But add in the other gameplay elements, notably the ARPG ones, and you have yourself one fine game.
Some have claimed that Wayward Souls contains pieces you'd normally find in the Souls-like genre, and I don't really think that's the case. Sure, the game is extremely challenging at points, but that's about it, and we're well past the days of likening every hard game to Dark Souls.
Like any good ARPG, skill, good timing, and good reflexes can save you from a lot of trouble.
What keeps me coming back to Wayward Souls, even after all these years, is that the challenge remains interesting thanks to the randomly generated level design. Each level's basic goal is to make it to the big exit as you ascend a mystical tower. You have your choice of three (and eventually six) characters: a mage, a warrior, and a rogue. Each one has its strengths and weaknesses that you'll notice immediately from the get-go.
The combat is real-time and reminds me of a cross between the classic Zelda games and Diablo. Each character archetype will handle this combat in different ways, so there's plenty of challenge there as you learn each one. Add in the additional three characters, and you have a lot of gameplay variety.
The challenges you face will ebb and flow, depending on what the game generates for you. Sometimes, the levels are a walk in the park. Others are brutally difficult. Like any good ARPG, however, skill, good timing, and good reflexes can save you from a lot of trouble.
Wayward Souls may be an older mobile game, but it has withstood the test of time. It's well worth the asking price because it contains a lot of gameplay and collectible hats to find.