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It seems that recently there have been a lot of games involving death and the main protagonist trying to get back to the land of the living! The other week I played Cursed to Golf with a golfer who died after being struck by lightning, and this week I am checking out Restless Soul. In this title developed by Graffiti Games — creators of Turnip Boy Commits Tax Evasion — we are accompanying a little soul on his journey to return to his previous life. He is now in the Afterlife, where souls go after death when they have pending issues, regrets, or unfinished business to take care of. Our little ghost friend won’t tell the reason why he wants to return because it will spoil the story. Right from the get-go, it has a great sense of humour; I was so happy to see that it was just like their previous game in that way. Though I do have to say I felt terrible after I entered my name, the ghost asked if he could put in his name, and the narrator says “Sorry, the game has already started.”

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So along with the slightly rude narrator, we follow the ghost as he explores the greyscale world that is home to the Grim Reaper’s office. You meet a talking ghost dog named WOOF, who will show up periodically to give you advice. However, if you try to pet him for too long, he will get annoyed and tell you that there are other things to be getting on with in the game, rather than simply standing there and wasting time. When you enter the Grim Reaper’s office, he welcomes you to the Afterlife and declares that yes, you are dead. He assures you that your soul will rest in peace if you don’t get into trouble. When the ghost tells him that he wants to go back to his life, the Grim Reaper is shocked. He can’t understand why he wants to return so soon after arriving, so decides to check his book and look at the ghost's history to see if he can figure out why. Cue the creepy chiptune piano music. The Grim Reaper runs into another room, and we can see that he is whispering to someone — it literally says *whisper* *whisper*. You can walk over to the door and eavesdrop on his conversation, and you hear him say, “What will happen if he hears about the PORTAL?”. We learn that the Grim Reaper is not the boss here; Dr Krull is the one who is in command. He doesn’t want anyone to leave the Afterlife, they are to remain trapped there forever. So Krull and his army of minions will do anything they need to stop you from finding the eight keys for the PORTAL.

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WOOF will teach you how to fight, so you at least stand a chance against the enemy. The ghost has a dash move that you can use to avoid the barrage of bullets coming at you, and you can also aim and shoot at the enemy with the right thumbstick. You can shoot in any direction easily which is nice when your foes are constantly moving and rotating. The ghost asks WOOF if they can try practising with fake bullets, and he flat-out says no. These are the only two moves that the dog knows, so you are on your own to find the keys you need to open the PORTAL so the ghost can get back home. He will also give you a mobile phone that you can use to take photos, save your game, and later on, fast travel to locations that you have visited before.

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The art style in the game is very simplistic, with no colour, large 8-bit characters and environment sprites filling the Afterlife. The protagonist is absolutely adorable with a great sense of humour, even when everyone — especially the narrator — is making fun of him. He is not much of a fighter, so he tries to talk his way out of every situation, but it usually ends in a battle with a ton of bullets flying around. The bad guys will rotate based on where you are moving, so they always face you. Some are pacifists and won’t fire at you until they are fired upon, but to get through the room and have the next door open, you will need to defeat all of them. You can use potions to heal the ghost and can replenish your stocks by finding more of them in boxes. A nice thing is that if you use a potion in battle, and are still defeated, when you respawn you will have it ready to use again; the potions won’t just disappear.

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Each of the towers that you visit will have a boss character that you will have to defeat to get the key that you need. During the battle, you will see the enemy’s health bar, which is nice so you have an idea of how well you are doing. It gets frustrating in games when they don’t show you the amount of health an enemy has left, and you have to figure out for yourself if what you are doing is actually working on the foe. If the boss is fighting with minions alongside, I recommend you take out these minions first as the screen quickly fills with bullets coming at you and they’re hard to dodge. Make sure that you use your dodge ability when you are getting overwhelmed, using that little burst of speed really helps.

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I had a great time playing Restless Soul and I think anyone who loves games with a retro-look along with chiptune music and sound effects will enjoy the classic game feel. The story is super funny and despite looking simple, Restless Soul is quite challenging. Some of the puzzles and fights will take multiple attempts to successfully complete. This game is sure to put a smile on your face.

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8.00/10 8

RESTLESS SOUL (Reviewed on Windows)

This game is great, with minimal or no negatives.

Restless Soul is a fun game, with great characters and a silly story that is sure to make you laugh. The game is a lot more challenging than the simple retro-looking graphics will make you believe.

This game was supplied by the publisher or relevant PR company for the purposes of review
Alana Dunitz

Alana Dunitz

Staff Writer

I'm too stubborn to quit! I run on caffeine and kitty snuggles <3

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