Remember Vambrace: Cold Soul, the game inspired by Darkest Dungeon and The Elder Scrolls Series that we reported about one month ago? The game is now available on Steam, which we saw some say the game is brutally difficult, some love it. We are lucky to be able to try it out as well so in this Vambrace: Cold Soul review, we will be sharing our thoughts about the game.
Vambrace: Cold Soul is a story-driven rogue-lite developed by Korean indie developer, Devespresso Games. Set amidst a frozen great city of Icenaire cursed by The King of Shades, the former residents returned from the dead as mad Wraiths, while survivors take refuge deep underground.
You will play as Evelia Lyric, a girl who owns an enchanted vambrace. Since you are the only human capable of entering Icenaire, the survivors look to you as their best hope against the King of Shades. You will lead a party to expedite the cursed city surface, however, you are woefully outmatched.
Story and Arts
You will spend a lot of time experiencing its story before getting into the actual fight. We are glad that the story is pretty good with a diverse variety of characters and a few sub-quests to complete. Sometimes during the story, you are also allowed to make choices that will affect the outcomes. There are codex pages to collect that gives you more insights for the game’s story too.
Talking about the arts, the game features an appealing hand-drawn art style illustrated by the talented Korean artist, Minho Kim. Every character is designed uniquely, while the backgrounds are absolutely stunning yet terrifying (matching the game’s theme). Plenty of influence from the JRPGs can be seen on its chibi world map design.
You will form a team of 4 (including Lyric) to explore the outside world. Coming in 5 races and 10 unique classes, there will be a great variety of characters available to recruit at a cost. Note that aside from Lyric, all characters are gone are good once they are defeated in battles – which means you will need to recruit another character to replace them.
Every character comes in their unique stats. For example, some have high Overwatch stat while some have high Awareness stat. All these stats are extremely important on specific aspects so it is essential for you to decide a strategy on your team formation. Every character has an attack range (according to their classes), their unique basic and flourish (special) attacks too.
The game resembles Darkest Dungeon quite a lot, especially in its side-scrolling turn-based combat. Every section of the map consists of a series of rooms to explore, and the key is to make your way to the exit without being eliminated. It is not easy however, as every room features a random encounter event such as traps, enemies encounter, loots and more. Make a wrong decision and you might even get your teammates a debuff.
What makes the dungeon exploration difficult in Vambrace: Cold Soul is that you can’t heal during battles (except if you have a healer) and once Lyric dies, you will have to start all over again. Other than the characters’ health, you will also need to maintain their Vigor stats to prevent them from dying. In addition, there is a terror meter – once the terror count gets over a threshold, you will get difficult enemies appearing here and there, making your journey extremely tough.
Fortunately, you can still regain their HP and Vigor at the camp that appears randomly and note that this the only place to do so. A character in your team needs to be assigned to guard the camp while you use items to heal up your team. The more effective yet risky way is letting the camp leader performs. This heals up the whole team at once (how much they heal depends on the Overwatch stat of your camp leader) but increases the terror count.
Upgrades and Customizations
You can equip relics to your characters to improve their stats, but that is all. Aside from Lyric (well, she is the main character here), all other characters don’t get to level up, yet there is only one relics slot per character. The good side is, you can get Lyric to wear different outfits for battles as you collect them by completing side quests.
In short, Vambrace: Cold Soul is like Darkest Dungeon but with a more gorgeous art style and a few JRPG elements. Casual gamers might want to stay away from this game as it is very difficult at the beginning, but for those who have the patience, the game is actually very rewarding as you make progress. However, we feel that the game still lacks in gameplay since we don’t get to level up characters (other than Lyric).