If you like Souls-like games with the flavour of a Lovecraftian novel, Dolmen may be the game for you. The game is not for the faint-hearted—you will be thrown into the action, finding short snippets of tutorials on the way to get you through the basic movements. This is very much a stamina-based combat system, playing very much like Dark Souls. Players must dodge and weave, block and attack with the stamina they have available. Timing and understanding of visual attack cues is important in order to not die immediately. Don’t expect fast hack ‘n’ slash combat—think tactical, methodical and slow. The combat system does take into account different elemental weaknesses, so that is something the player should consider to maximise damage. Players can cause elemental damage through enemy weaknesses, but also mitigate damage by wearing armour which counteracts the damage being taken. Enemies drop resources that players will need to craft upgrades to their gear, and you’ll need this to grow stronger throughout the game if you want to survive.
The games setting is certainly unique—it’s a little sci-fi inspired, a little Lovecraftian—certainly something that hasn’t been done much before within this genre. You play the protagonist, who traverses an alien planet looking for Dolmen, a precious crystal used for interdimensional travel. These Dolmen crystals allow many a creepy-crawly into and out of the dimension the player is in; therefore, it’s the players job to survive these encounters to collect as much of the Dolmen as possible. Progress is saved very much like the bonfire system in Dark Souls: If you die before you reach these predetermined checkpoints, you will start from the last checkpointed area. On death, you will lose all collected currencies (such as Dolmen and Nanites) as well, but the items can be recovered again if you reach the place of your last death before dying again.
The game is a little rough around the edges; the graphics are a bit lacklustre, although some of the level designs are interesting. The movements are a bit clunky too but are manageable once you take the time to get used to them. But it should be remembered that Dolmen is a budget title, initially finding its funding through Kickstarter. This preview allowed for a taste of what’s to come and, with a bit of refinement, will be a solid addition to the Souls-like genre. Keep an eye out for this one—Dolmen is slated for release in 2022.