PC Games

Published on March 15th, 2024 | by Edward Gosling

Soulslinger: Envoy of Death Early Access Review (PC)

Soulslinger: Envoy of Death Early Access Review (PC) Edward Gosling

Summary: An Early Access roguelike arena shooter with great promise and a solid foundation, Soulslinger is already a great time even with only a third (at present) of its intended content.


High noon in Limbo.

It is a truth universally acknowledged, that a gamer in possession of money, must be in want of new games. So it is with this writer who, in a mindless, whim-driven session of impulse buying random FPS games that looked good, purchased a key for a relatively new Early Access title entitled Soulslinger: Envoy of Death. From the Steam page and reviews, it seemed good-looking and good fun, so I gave it a chance – and as much of a gamble as buying Early Access games can be, I am very glad I did.

The game’s story relays the tale of the titular Soulslinger, a soul trapped in the limbo between life and death whose real name has been lost in the murky depths of his shattered memory. In the meantime, he has been employed by the Grim Reaper as an Envoy and tasked with bringing down the Cartel, an organisation who seek to harvest the souls of the dead for their own evil ends. The plot may not sound too original (it reminds this writer very much of Painkiller), but it’s revealed in small enough doses that it manages not to overstay its welcome, in short conversations between its characters, mid-battle quips from the protagonistreminiscent of boomer shooters and the occasional cutscene. By not giving too much away in too little time, it ties the game’s world together nice and neatly.

Sending ’em to heck.

At its core, Soulslinger is a roguelike arena shooter: you, as the title character, must defeat all the enemies in an area (in all the bouncy style that is to be expected of arena shooters of today) in order to progress to the next, collecting bonuses and upgrades along the way such as special ammo types, AoE spells and buffs, as well as unlocking new guns to take into your endless fights against the Cartel. Said guns are a blast (geddit?) to use, and though there’s only three at present and you can only carry one at a time, all of them have a nice, meaty “punch” to them when fired, and can be used to great effect when paired with the various spells and upgrades you can find. There’s also a Gears-esque quick-reload system so you can return to blasting the Cartel just a smidge faster.

Beyond that roguelike core though, is a glaze of influences from other genres, in particular Soulslikes. It is very much expected that the vast majority of your runs will end in death, with the title character subsequently being revived in Death’s domain, named Haven, so he can purchase some upgrades and have another go. And also like Soulslikes, deaths do feel fair, and every run is an opportunity to try a new tactic; you upgrade, you go on a run, you die, you learn, you repeat. At time of writing I’m about 4 hours in and the closest I’ve managed to get to the game’s first boss is about halfway – but thanks to the game’s Soulslike influences, the resulting sense of progression feels more satisfying than one may expect.

The atmosphere, meanwhile, is very nice indeed, blending Western-style aesthetics (explained as the memories of the dead given form) with those of a more fantastical nature. Not to mention, the sound design is gorgeous as well – sound design can make or break a game, but Soulslinger’s sound excels in immersing the player in the gloomy world-between-worlds that is Limbo, and the title character’s battles within them. It all comes together to give the game a “not-quite-right” Western feel overall, and it’s a delicious blend.

Giving “ghost town” a new meaning.

What’s most impressive about this game, however, is just how well-made everything is, even at this early stage of development. There’s nothing that feels half-baked, nothing that feels like it still needs work, and while the game presently only contains the first third of its intended content, there is a roadmap on the store page and what is there is already really good. All that’s left is the remaining two thirds. This kind of effort is a welcome sight in the world of Early Access, and seeing just how much there already is only excites me even more for what else the developers have in store.

Final Thoughts

There is something about Soulslinger: Envoy of Death that’s absolutely captivating. Perhaps it’s the drip-fed story. Perhaps it’s the boomer shooter-esque musings of its protagonist and the little conversations he has with his associates in between rounds. Maybe it’s the Soulslike-esque sense of trial and error, the little improvements and upgrades you can unlock with every run. Maybe it’s the satisfying punch that the main guns have. Or perhaps it’s the fact that it feels so complete despite being in Early Access. Whatever its secret sauce is, there’s no doubt that this one is a gem in its genre, drawing influence from other genres to create a masterfully crafted game which I have very high hopes for the future of.

About the Author


Ed has been playing games since he was in primary school, and now has a Steam library of over 2000 games, only a fraction of which he has actually played!

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