5 best Soulslike games of 2022

Which Soulslike games really stand out as the best ones of the year?
Which of this year's Soulslike games really stand out as the best of the best? (Image via Square Enix)

Soulslike games aren’t really for everyone, but they’ve become a popular genre over the years. These are among the hardest games to come out during any given year. They can often feel unfair, punishing, or brutal, but when you learn how they work, it’s a whole different story.

At the end of the day, a game in the Souls genre has to be completable with hard work and effort. They require you to pay attention to your character, your enemy, and your surroundings.

However, since the focus is on Soulslike instead of Souls, there will be no Elden Ring on this list. Since it was developed by FromSoftware, it is officially a Souls game. Some would argue that this is not the case, but I’m firmly in the camp that it is a Souls title. There were some pretty great, challenging games to come out this year though.

Which are the best Soulslike games to come out in 2022?

1) Salt and Sacrifice


Salt and Sacrifice shows that you don’t have to play in a 3-Dimensional space to be a Soulslike game. The title combines the Metroidvania style with the challenge of a Souls game, and that’s what hit home for me. In some ways, it’s incredibly overwhelming, but it gets easier as you get better.

For example, if you block, fast enemies might get a free attack on you, guaranteeing they deal damage. You can’t do a lot of dodge rolling either, as your platforms aren’t really big enough to do it everywhere. Fall damage could easily end your run, after all.

Adding PVP was a nice touch, but that particular part of the game didn't hook me. It’s pretty ambitious, and while I don’t know if I prefer it over its predecessor, it’s a pretty enjoyable game for me.

2) Mortal Shell


Mortal Shell might be more like a Souls clone, but that still makes it Soulslike. From the aesthetic to the gameplay, it’s a grimdark, challenging affair. Like the Dark Souls games, it does most of its storytelling through a hopeless, dark environment, and to its credit, the title does this well.

The protagonist is trying to change not only their fate, but that of the entire world, and that’s going to take a great deal of pain and suffering first. While it is a Soulslike title, like the others on this list, it doesn’t feel impossible.

Some feel like it rips off the Dark Souls games a little too much. While it does feel similar to the Souls titles, it stands on its own with its own story and addictive gameplay. However, it is challenging enough to be worthy of the genre it represents.

3) Tunic


Tunic? A Soulslike game? Okay, hear me out. I know it has just as much in common with the NES Legend of Zelda title, but it also feels a lot like a Souls title to me. It offers you a surprisingly tragic story, combined with challenging but rewarding gameplay. There is plenty of power for our young protagonist to unlock if he does enough exploring.

The better you get in the game, the easier it gets, but Tunic will not hold your hand. It’s certainly challenging, but far from unfair. The title gives you more help than your average Souls game, provided you take the time to read through the manual, but that's not a negative in my eyes.

It might be a bit of a hot take to suggest Tunic is a Soulslike, but I stand by the decision. Take up the sword and give it a try for yourself and see how you feel about it.

4) Steelrising


Steelrising had a concept I genuinely loved, even though I found myself to be incredibly bad at it. Soulslike, which was set in an alternate version of the French Revolution, is such an incredible idea. Instead of the battle for freedom being fought for by humans, it was done with robots.

It has an amazing clockwork creature vibe that I think stood out among all of the games that were released in 2022. While I didn't spend too much time playing as Aegis, I loved the world and exploration immensely. There are some truly overpowered weapons that you can pick up early on if you have done enough exploring.

You can play the game with several different playstyles, unlock powerful weapons, and challenge brutal, optional bosses. Aegis herself is well-designed, and despite being an automaton, her movement felt fluid and smooth for a Soulslike game. While it may have been overlooked by some, it’s still worth a play now, I’d say.

5) Stranger of Paradise: Final Fantasy Origin


While Square Enix doesn’t necessarily consider Stranger of Paradise a Souls game, it has a Soulslike vibe to it. You have a wide variety of classes, equipment, and strategies to employ as you grind through missions. Unlike other Souls titles, it’s not an open world.

However, it’s also a bit more approachable in the sense that it has a difficulty changer. You don’t "have" to play on the most brutal difficulty levels. If you want the best gear, the greatest challenges, and to play the DLC, you better hike up that challenge level. I loved that it was the precursor to Final Fantasy 1, from the perspective of the game’s final boss.

Even if Square Enix might not see it as a Soulslike, that’s how many others view it. It’s on the easier side of things if you turn down the difficulty, but the higher levels do not mess about. It’s gorgeous, has an amazing soundtrack, plenty of classes to play as, and offers a compelling story.

The Soulslike genre isn’t going anywhere, as long as people want games that give them the greatest amount of challenges possible. Even if I don’t play many Souls games, I do love the thrill I get as I defeat a particularly hard foe, or learn a new strategy. I see the appeal.

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Edited by Sohan Dasgupta
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