Recently, survival simulators seem to be experiencing a new birth and coming out in huge numbers. Even Soulmask, which will be discussed in this preview, came out at the same time as Night of the Dead, and before that there were several other representatives of the genre. Many of them resemble each other like two drops of water, but some still stand out with unique mechanics.

Soulmask attempts to bring something new to the genre with the mask mechanic that the game is named after. In reality, it’s just another piece of character gear that is put on the character. Yes, it’s not a bad addition that allows you to get certain bonuses to suit different play styles, but it’s certainly not a breakthrough in the genre. In fact, the novelty feels like another survival simulator, but in fact this is not necessarily a disadvantage, especially if you want exactly the “classic” gameplay.

Most survival simulators released in recent years not only turned out to be similar, but also suffered from poor optimization, a huge number of bugs and other problems. Fortunately, Soulmask already works more than decently during the early access phase. The graphics here are beautiful and match the screenshots shown on Steam. Optimization also deserves respect – the game is played without statters, serious FPS sags and crashes. It seems to be basic things, but many similar projects can’t even boast of this.

The combat system in Soulmask is a bit lacking in stars, but it turned out to be quite good. It is still far from perfect, but it fulfills its role. Each weapon offers its own gameplay, as well as active and passive abilities. For example, the spear can be thrown forward to draw the enemy in, while the blade, on the other hand, allows you to quickly approach the enemy yourself.

One of the most important functions of any survival simulator is world/server customization. The developers of Soulmask took a very responsible approach to this issue and added just a huge number of parameters. In Steam, you can find user reviews that the enemies in the game are too strong, crafting is too long, and so on. However, all of this could have been easily avoided by simply adjusting some items. You can not only weaken the enemies, but also speed up the experience, time to create items, and increase the number of extracted resources. Well, and of course, no one prevents you from complicating the game even more and making survival as hard as possible.

Pumping in Soulmask is pretty standard for survival games. If you’ve played other similar games, you’ll immediately understand what it’s all about. Killing enemies and doing other things gives you experience to level up. Thus, you get skill points, which are spent to improve the main characteristics: perception, physique, strength, resilience and agility. Also, each weapon has its own skill level, which opens up new opportunities when you level up. As mentioned earlier, you can also improve the mask – it has its own separate talent tree. However, the most important is the technology window, because it is there that you will unlock all the most necessary things, including tools, weapons, workbenches and so on.

The game itself reveals itself rather slowly (this problem is partially solved by the aforementioned world customization). We start in an unassuming forest with almost no interesting places in the vicinity, so you are forced to perform typical “collect branches” and “set up a workbench” style tutorial tasks for a long time. However, as time goes on, even more opportunities and content is revealed to us. New locations look much more beautiful, various temples and dungeons appear, sometimes you have to fight bosses with unique features.

Overall, Soulmask doesn’t revolutionize the genre, but perhaps the game doesn’t need to. It’s just a good survival simulator with beautiful graphics, a good combat system and the ability to customize gameplay in detail. The project does not suffer from early access issues and offers a lot of content from the start. Perhaps, by the full release the developers will add some more innovations to the game, thus improving the already almost ready project.