Every once in a while, someone will try to do something different in a game. Sometimes it doesn’t quite work out, other times it works very well. Zeke Virant may have a winner on his hands with Soft Body. When I first heard of the game, I’m not sure what I expected. I had heard that it involved slippery gooey snakes and an ever-changing world. It sounded cool enough, but how would it play? Well, I’m going to tell you.
The game places you in the slime-trail of a snake-like entity and its ethereal other half as you paint the world and avoid things at shoot stuff at you (descriptive, I know. There’s no other way to explain these things). You control the snake with the left stick and once you touch the ghost, it joins with you and should require it, you can control it separately with the right stick. The ghost can go through walls (for some next level Swayze stuff) and kill enemies with a single touch. The overall object of the game is to paint the world with your snake. No, no. Not like that. All you need to do is touch the walls to “paint” them. In some levels, once you’ve reunited with your ghostly buddy, you need to push a ball across an intricate track into a square shape. It sounds really dumb when read, but it works well in-game. But wait, there’s more! Soft Body will throw elements of bullet hell games at you, so now you have to dodge constant slow-moving but plentiful bullets and occasional mobile squares that fire homing bullets at you. If any of these things hit you more than a couple of times, its game over. Fortunately every stage is a checkpoint, allowing you to screw up as many times. Let me tell you, I screwed up frequently and hard. I am not a patient person, so many of the levels simply irritated me when I got so close to completing them and died.
Oh, I get it, the red snake can go through walls! No,wait. I still suck at this.
My God, the sound. This is a point of contention for me. The music is soothing, sure. The effects are… Effective, invoking a sound like you’d expect to see in an 8 bit game, however when stuff starts going down and there are multiple baddies and stationary guns on-screen, the sounds simply become almost unbearable and extremely distracting.
The visuals of the game are very colorful with simplistically shaped sprites. The most intricate thing on-screen being the snake duo. Aside from that, there doesn’t seem to be a whole lot else to mention about the visuals
Once you’ve figured out one way to beat a level, that’s pretty much the end of it. We’re talking Cut The Rope level complexity here. When all is said and done, I don’t think I’d start it over from the beginning. I would, however love to watch someone else take a crack at it to see how much better they are at it than I was.
I still have no idea what the hell is going on.
In spite of its minor annoyances, at the core Soft Body is something quite unlike anything I’ve played on the PS4 to date. In a market loaded with RPGs, Action RPGs, Shooters, Action Shooters, Action RPG Shooters, Sports, Sport RPGs… Wait, that one doesn’t exist. Where was I going with this? Oh, right! Zeke Virant dared to be different and do something no one else has thought of, and he should be praised for that, regardless of what I think.