The trend was started with Dark Souls, but there are many more great titles that are equally difficult and rewarding.
The Dark Souls series is a quintessence of a “love-hate” relationship towards a game. After all, it brings back many painful memories of meticulous tries and emotional rage-quit episodes. Still, after countless “You Died” screens, you truly understand the artistry and significance of the titles that challenge your abilities. It’s for those who dedicate time and effort to achieve that sweet relief of finally beating the boss and feeling like the king of the world. Luckily, some of the best soulslike games can recreate this sensation.
The phenomenon has become so significant that it gave birth to the subgenre. Such titles are unforgiving to those unwilling to train their muscle memory. It’s torture to players who can’t be bothered to adjust to the gameplay and expect the game to adapt to their abilities.
Hopefully, our list of best Souls-like games will soothe your DS itch. The combat in all of them requires precision, caution, frequent dodging, and dedication. If you’ve never played Dark Souls, then what are you doing here reading this article?! Buy it now, and GG.deals will help you find the best price! 😉
This action RPG inherited a lot from DS but tried its best to put its own spin on things. The developer, A44, delivers a captivating fairy tale about the pursuit of light in a world overshadowed by darkness. The minimalist 3D art style accurately maintains the story's tone as you go through beautifully-designed locations. Ashen also offers the co-op mode or an AI companion, which comes pretty handy with the bosses that summon a bunch of minions.
The similarities with the Dark Souls are most apparent during the fights. You face identical controls and must watch out for stamina or face harsh consequences. Some limitations water down the “soulness” for some players, as it’s an indie soulslike game. In particular, the scarce selection of weapons and character customization (no Ashen Fashion is a missed opportunity) might upset some. Nonetheless, Ashen still delivers a decent experience in its own style.
It’s hard to walk past this side-scrolling action platformer because even the trailer gives goosebumps. Blasphemous promises a memorable adventure with a dark religious narrative in core and retro gore coating. The pixel graphics are in no way limiting the game's ability to surprise. The movements feel smooth and natural, and the attention to detail is insane. Everything, from the design of locations and bosses to the killing animations, embodies nightmarish violence compared only to Spanish Inquisition. And that’s a compliment.
Just because it's a Metroidvania, do not rely on standard tactics. The environment and enemies are unforgiving of rush decisions with their surprise attacks. Lack of patience and methodical approach guarantees you a swift death. Those prepared to play by DS rules are guaranteed to enjoy this bloody festival of violence in the gothic, angsty setting.
Some may briefly describe it as an anime version of Dark Souls. However, Code Vein has more to offer than just cool-looking vampires with stylish graphics and epic voice acting (subs rule). You have the freedom to change your class and weapon as you play to adapt the combat style to different enemies or experiment until you find your perfect combination.
A significant aspect of this action JRPG is the crazily vast, detailed character customization that you’ve never seen in other souls games. The combat is often challenging, despite getting an AI sidekick. If you strive for that DS experience and appreciate the anime aesthetics with an occasional sacrifice of realism for splendor, Code Vein is your next destination.
Death's Door (Included with PC Game Pass)
Picture this – you’re a crow with an important job that involves finding the souls of deceased people in the Afterlife. When one of the poor spirits gets stolen, there’s no time to waste. In this isometric game, you will have to forget about your normally-pacifistic life and fight using various melee weapons, a bow, or magic. What lies beyond the Doors? Only one way to find out.
Death’s Door and hundreds of other phenomenal PC titles await you in the PC Game Pass library. If you would like to become a subscriber, you need to pay only a dollar to enjoy the service for a whole month!
The initial hype has weakened a little, and Stray has become GOTY for some instead of From Software’s latest masterpiece. However, Elden Ring is the perfect choice for those who want to play something highly similar to Dark Souls. Especially considering the fact that the same studio developed it. 😉
We’ll even go as far as saying that it’s better than Bloodborne or DS trilogy. You have a better fast-travel system, an opportunity to try out dozens of builds, and a truly open world that impresses you whenever you stop for a while. As if the title wasn’t marvelous enough, George R.R. Martin himself helped create the captivating story and extensive lore. Is this a perfect recipe for one of the best soulslike games?
Eldest Souls is a 2D adventure, but this Fallen Flag Studio’s game sticks close to the famous FromSoftware series in terms of its mechanics. This grim RPG is set in a fantasy world that’s very close to meeting its end. You can prevent doomsday by killing the gods who cast the curse on humanity. Here’s where the protagonist, a lone warrior ready to fight and save whoever he can, comes in. Good luck!
Hollow Knight (Included with PC Game Pass)
Hollow Knight proved to everyone once and for all that you don’t need AAA funds and graphics to craft a totally unique production. Team Cherry delivered an indie game masterpiece by combining platformer mechanics, challenging battles, and map exploration following the best Metroidvania traditions. Charmingly dark fantasy, signature hand-drawn 2D art design, and varied soundtracks enhance the experience greatly.
Each ingredient in this greatness hotpot is thought-through and made with love, thus delivering one of the best souls games of the decade. In addition, Hollow Knight has three endings, allowing you to explore this magical world and take on the challenge again.
Mortal Shell (Included with PC Game Pass)
For better or for worse, Mortal Shell is the most obvious love ode to the original Dark Souls. Everything looks very familiar, from the dark fantasy setting to the muddy color palette of the graphics. The combat is exceptionally frustrating, even for the hardcore subgenre fans. But the outcome is twice as rewarding when you get hold of the mechanics. And this is the exact feeling that made us fall in love with FromSoftware’s trilogy.
For instance, if timed precisely, replacing a traditional block with an instant solid stone transformation can absorb even the most powerful attack and destabilize the enemy’s stance. Instead of traditional armor, you get the shells, which, in fact, are dead bodies the main character inhabits and fights in. Upon the lost health, the enemy exhorts the character in Hollow Knight fashion, leaving you one more strike away from dying completely and losing your progress.
Nioh and Nioh 2
These action RPGs give so much content to offer that the nickname “samurai Dark Souls” doesn’t do them justice. The gameplay of both Nioh games keeps the balance of powers because, despite having lots of beneficial features, almost everything around you significantly decreases your chances of staying alive. On the one hand, you get an impressive variety of samurai gear and weapons, followed by adorable Guardian Spirits to boost your performance. On the other hand, you constantly watch your stamina level and fight almighty bosses.
But the sweet loot at the end of the battle is worth all the experiments and frustration. Apart from deep, punishing battle mechanics and numerous quests, you’ll get a vast world map, which saves your completed missions and allows you to replay them. Therefore, you can easily squeeze dozens (if not hundreds) of hours out of the first Nioh – before you move to the sequel!
Salt and Sanctuary
At first, it’s shocking to see your specially designed, charming character walking around a dark, depressing setting and killing enemies in a bloody manner. Then, you quickly realize the point: this indie game is another ode to Dark Souls – this time, in Metroidvania format. It effectively evokes nostalgia in some but irritates other players with numerous apparent similarities.
Ska Studios had to surprise the players in order to differentiate. You’ll surely enjoy customizing here, as you can choose everything from appearance to nationality and class. The familiar souls-like atmosphere is reached thanks to the beautiful graphic design. Overall, it’s a solid, successful 2D interpretation of FromSoftware’s best-seller, with its signature mechanics and atmosphere.
Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice
Here’s another Soulslike from the creators of the famous trilogy. And, boy, FromSoftware has got a treat for you in stock. Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice kept the spirit of its ancestor while improving the formula and offering the players a new perspective. As you control a shinobi on the quest to protect a young lord, the gameplay is slightly altered to fit the game’s setting.
You rely more on stealth tactics instead of a traditional opponent’s health bar. Sekiro implements a posture gauge, which requires getting the enemies out of balance to deliver a mortal strike. Finally, this refreshing single-player action is wrapped up in apprehensive storytelling with cut-scenes and dialogues, colorful graphics, and mesmerizing setting of 16th century Sengoku Japan.
Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order (Included with PC Game Pass)
Nothing beats Star Wars. This third-person action-adventure is made of and dipped in SW atmosphere, which Respawn Entertainment carefully and meticulously recreated. Jedi: Fallen Order has souls-like fighting mechanics with a mix of blasters, the force, and familiar music, which immerse you into the galaxy far, far away, even during the toughest battles. Apart from epic combat, the gameplay offers Tomb Raider-like exploration, giving a new dimension to Star Wars games.
For an authentic souls experience, turn up the difficulty level to Jedi Master or above. But if you prefer staying in your comfort zone, the original plot will not keep you bored. Fallen Order makes a valuable addition to Star Wars lore. Through the journey of Padawan Cal Kestis, the Great Jedi Purge survivors’ fate is explored. And just like that, we have a beautiful, story-driven, single-player game from EA.
Tails of Iron
Don’t let the Tails of Iron cute graphics deceive you. The game will take you on a challenging journey. As an heir to the Rat Throne, Redgi has to put the Frog Clan in its place when it invades the kingdom. Engage in surprisingly complex combats where you will be rewarded for being perceptive on the battlefield. After all, your enemies have all sorts of vulnerabilities you can discover during fights!
The Surge and The Surge 2
If a Souls-like in a post-apocalyptic setting is your cup of tea, The Surge might be just the thing. Why would you listen to an NPC's inspirational speech when you're finally performing a gore execution finisher after numerous deaths? Especially when it’s animated so beautifully.
It’s hard to tell which of these two to pick. Both The Surge and The Surge 2 have similar gameplay, an extensive choice of exosuits, and craftable gear. Although, the second game offers slightly more locations and character customization, which is desired by some but isn’t that important to others.
Tunic (Included with PC Game Pass)
Tunic may not be souls-like per se, yet its difficulty can quickly bring back painful DS flashbacks. The game plays like one of older Zelda titles – you’re just playing as a fox (which shares a cool green outfit with Link) here. Its world is full of dungeons and other stuff to explore.
Still, you’re the one who decides where to go. As appealing as it all sounds, you won’t be held by hand anywhere along the way. It’s one of these adventures where we can recommend making notes and maps because they will help during your playthrough tremendously.
Soulslike games are referred to as “action role-playing games in a dark fantasy setting with tricky battle mechanics and checkpoints being located far apart from each other. “ But that’s a too narrow definition. They’re becoming a source of inspiration to developers willing to create even more titles from this sub-genre.
That was the list of games like Elden Ring we recommend to every soulslike fan. These are also great for those planning to familiarize themselves with the subgenre. Do you know any we’ve missed? Please remind us about them and tell us what you think about our picks if you feel like it. The comment section is down below. You know the drill 😊