SolSeraph is a game that combines the strategic tower defense style mechanics with a side-scrolling action experience, allowing players to not only be creative but to also take advantage of their unique divine abilities. Those who have dabbled with top-down strategy titles like Civilization or Tropico will find themselves right at home since SolSeraph provides a similar premise, but on a more simplistic level and focusing more on protecting the tribes from impending danger. If you’re the type that enjoys hacking and slashing your way through hordes of demons and monsters, while trying to rebuild civilization from the ground up, then SolSeraph is the game to try out.
What to Expect
SolSeraph is a well-constructed game that gives players the freedom to build their own civilization, using the divine elements to ensure that tribes are protected and that the population can thrive without serious threats. Learn to expand your territory and dispel the dark fog that looms over the land, in hopes to destroy what’s left of humanity. With each lair that you destroy, you take on the role of Helios to eliminate the enemies, as each grows stronger as you inch towards the main boss. In the side-scrolling portion of the game, Helios is equipped with a heavenly sword, shield, and magical archery, which he must use to dispel enemies ranging from wild goblins, beastmen, large spiders, and much more. By defeating large quantities of enemies Helios will receive buffs not only to his power but healing herbs and mana crystals as well. Use your strategic prowess to construct a well-designed village and take advantage of all the tools at your disposal such as warrior barracks, lumber mills, farms, and more.
When you watch the trailer it’s easy to make the assumption that SolSeraph isn’t visually impressive, but you’d be surprised once you actually jump into the gameplay and see just how vastly colorful the game truly is. Each lair that you venture towards is designed differently so that every experience will feel refreshing, removing the monotonous feeling of just hacking and slashing through the same stage. The most impressive display in terms of visuals really comes from the top-down portion of SolSeraph, where you must utilize your divine abilities to build and restore peace back to the land. The environment you play in is vast and taking advantage of abilities like rain, lightning and time-lapse really help to create a very pleasing visual experience. SolSeraph isn’t perfect by any means but its robust visuals do help to bring everything to life in its own way.
Surprisingly enough, SolSeraph does a great job here and it comes as no surprise since Yuzo Koshiro, the legend behind such classics as Streets of Rage and Shenmue, worked on composing the opening theme of the game. It’s easy to just leave the game on the title screen and let the music captivate you with its reverberating rhythms and harmonious melodies. It gives SolSeraph a truly heroic feel and really adds to the overall immersion that you’ll experience as you dive deeper into the game. Each lair is also paired with its own unique music which once again helps to lure players in with its divine and well-orchestrated melodies, giving SolSeraph a truly godly feel.
It isn’t very often that you come across an action-strategy game like SolSeraph, that takes the deep and robust features of a typical real-time tactical game, and throws in side-scrolling action to provide players with more variety. It’s certainly an unusual combination of genres but it somehow works very well with SolSeraph’s compelling narrative, which was written by the very talented Jonas Kyrazes, who has worked on titles such as The Talos Principle. This holy trinity of features is what really helps SolSeraph stand out on its own, and not throw itself into a pile of recycled content that we often find in current titles these days. The gameplay is simple on the surface but will require your full attention, especially when building your village from scratch and making sure that all of your resources are ample. We did find however that while the environment you play is in vast, items such as lumber did feel limited at times, which forced us to tear down unused barracks or spikes that were laid out on the floor.
This, of course, is good and bad: on one hand, it does encourage you to be mindful of what’s being built and to be frugal in your decision making; on the other hand, limited resources do hinder your ability to expand your territory even further since you’ll always have to sacrifice materials in order to sustain balance. Another issue is that the more powerful items cost a lot more lumber, and since lumber is quite limited at times, it really does affect the growth of your village in many ways. Fortunately, your ability to grow crops and eliminate enemies with your divine powers (like lightning and rain) help to balance the gameplay out in the long run. If you ever find yourself falling behind on barracks or other defensive structures, you can summon the sun god to come down and strike the enemy, which helps to take care of any extra pests that try to sneak their way in without permission.
The side-scrolling portion of the game is pretty straightforward and doesn’t require too much thought, but still encourages you to play with caution since enemies are quite unpredictable. Helios can dodge and weave attacks quite quickly, which allows him to tackle the more problematic enemies who tend to behave erratically when you’re close to them. His divine arrows allow you to play a more long-range game and help to deal with the bigger monsters with higher damage output. Mixing up your approach with each creature you encounter will be the sure-fire way of successfully destroying each lair, and eliminating the chaos entirely.
Honey's Gameplay Consensus:
We’ll admit that at first, we were a bit doubtful about the fusion of the side-scrolling strategy elements, but the more we dabbled with SolSeraph, the more enjoyable it became. Yes, it does come with its shortcomings as we mentioned earlier, and its lack of voicing does make reading the long lines of text at times a bit tedious, but SolSeraph is actually quite fun overall. It doesn’t take you very long to develop a feel for the game and once the ball gets rolling, the experience starts to feel more rewarding. As you continue to level up, more tools become available to you, which opens up more doors of possibilities and creates more immersion during your adventure.
The top-down strategy elements really do help to create a nice balance with the side-scrolling action experience.
Yuzu Koshiro. Enough said!
A well written narrative that helps to bring the game to life even more.
Limited resources, in the beginning, do hinder the ability to grow your village the way you want to, and force you to make sacrifices.
The lack of voicing for such a rich and well-written narrative is kind of a bummer.
Honey's Final Verdict:
SolSeraph isn’t going to win any sort of prestigious awards or anything, but it certainly does deliver in gameplay in spite of some hiccups here and there. Fans of the top-down strategy genre will come to enjoy the divine experience, while those who like the more aggressive approach in the side-scrolling realm will have a great time as well. This combination is what really sells SolSeraph the most and had it not implemented them so well, perhaps this review would’ve been entirely different. Fortunately, that isn’t the case so we hope you go out there and grab the game!
Author: Rob "NualphaJPN" B.
A passionate fan of gaming, writing, journalism, anime, and philosophy. I've lived in Japan for many years and consider this place to be my permanent home. I love to travel around Japan and learn about the history and culture! Leave a comment if you enjoy my articles and watch me play on twitch.tv/honeysgaming ! Take care!