Is Soulmask, Worth Playing?
While Soulmask goes a long way towards revitalising the sandbox survival genre, it’s still early days, and some of the developer’s design choices are questionable, to say the least.

The Lowdown.

Product Details
Genre: Survival
Developer: CampFire Studio
Publisher: Qooland Games
Price: $29.99
Release Date: 31 May 2024
Supported Modes:

You Play As A Mask.

What sets Soulmask apart from every other survival game is that the mask you create is actually “your main character”, and while you create a starter character who cannot die and is essentially a basic “jack of all trades master of none” character who can build, craft, harvest, and fight fairly well for the first half of the game, they are in all ways inferior to the AI tribe mates you will recruit along the way, all of which will specialise in one of a variety of skills, such as being a superior crafter, harvester, melee combatant or archer to name just a few.

Being able to freely swap between recruited tribe mates (once you unlock the required ability very early in the game) is a unique mechanic and makes finding and capturing AI characters very rewarding, ala Pokemon; you just want to collect them all.

While some will find the concept of dominating the free will of others questionable, and I agree that free will is very important, that’s why God paid such a huge price to ensure we had it.

For mankind to have free will, God needed to allow us the ability to choose not to follow him or his commandments, and to do so, he also needed to allow us a way back, and that way is Jesus Christ, as by nature mankind are rebellious and choose to do our own thing, yet for those who seek to return to him the price Jesus paid by offering his life in exchange for all of our failings has ensure that even the very worst of us has a way back to God.

By his life, death and resurrection, Jesus Christ made it possible for mankind to return to the Father, ensuring that free will and redemption could co-exist, a truly divine feat that required a truly enormous sacrifice.

That being said, Soulmask is just a game, and the whole concept of dominating a character is essentially a mask-powered staring contest that has no bearing on the real world or the real-world concept of free will.

I personally welcome the chance to discuss the concept of free will while also enjoying the mechanic for what it is, a fun way to play as a whole bunch of interesting characters while retaining access to all of your mask’s abilities and technology tree unlocks.

Is Soulmask Worth Playing

It Takes a Tribe to Build a Villiage.

It has been said that it takes a village to raise a child, but it also takes a tribe to make a village, and that is where Soulmask shines by allowing players to assign AI tribe members to a wide variety of tasks from resource collection to guard duty and even patrol, ensuring that players and AI tribe mates alike can craft and gather in peace knowing that patrols will spot any raids by wild creatures or hostile tribes well in advance, giving players and AI tribe mates plenty of time to gear up and find defensible positions, or if the threat is too great, flee to the jungle or hopefully an allied players base.

While AI tribe mates are no replacements for the real thing, it’s fun watching them send messages in chat and go about their daily lives.

While the messages they send are often purely informative, such as when they have run out of crafting materials or encountered enemies, occasionally, they will make small talk, which, while being very basic, goes a long way to making them seem alive.

Is Soulmask Worth Playing 4

Skills, Crafting, Progression, Oh My!

Soulmask handles crafting and skill progression in the best way possible by allowing players to level up each skill individually by using that ability. The more trees you cut down, the better you will be at cutting down trees, and the more metalwork you do, the better you will be at metalwork. The same applies to almost every aspect of the game, from cooking to carpentry and everything in between.

This, combined with multiple quality-of-life improvements, such as the ability to set boxes to only accept certain materials and assigning AI tribe mates to automatically perform less important crafting tasks such as turning logs into boards or vines into rope, gives the player more time to explore the game and level up their combat abilities (at least as far as they are able).

While it is frustrating that the original character is capped initially at level 50 (and later capped at 70 after levelling your mask and unlocking additional nodes), the developers have acknowledged that some players wish to be able to choose between playing as a main character or swapping between specialised tribe mates, and have promised they are looking into it, something that is sure to please fans of the game, who prefer playing as a single character, while still enjoying all other aspects of the game, including hunting for rare tribe mates and building magnificent structures.

Is Soulmask Worth Playing 2

It Has Plenty of PVE Content.

While most survival games have plenty of PvE content, some, such as Conan Exiles, go further by introducing a slew of theme park MMORPG-style content, such as dungeons, to keep players entertained. Soulmask leans more toward being a sandbox MMORPG by incorporating open-world dungeons, raidable outposts, and even enemy villages and fortifications, allowing players to decide how to handle them.

While leading a group of players and AI in a headlong charge may be epic (and it is), players who stealthily raid enemy villages without raising the alarm will be able to access additional rewards, making both playstyles equally valid: slow and steady or all-out carnage.

On this note, I must say that I wish Soulmask allowed players to deploy more than a single tribe member as a follower, as personally, I feel allowing each player to bring 2-3 AI would make pve encounters far more dynamic and immersive.

One issue I feel will present itself sooner or later is the map size. It is relatively small considering just how much there is to do, and on servers with multiple tribes, it won’t take long for players to find themselves tripping over one another.

While this is fine and dandy for PvP servers, pve servers will quickly become littered with player bases, especially if the bonfires are well stocked, ensuring that even abandoned bases will take several days to decay on servers with standard rates, an even longer on servers with more casual friendly settings.

I would love to see the map expanded with a few more biomes for midlevel players and new end-game areas with raidable NPC megabases and raid bosses; doing this would ensure that PvE-centric players have a reason to keep logging in once their bases are secured and chests are overflowing with materials and legendary gear.

Is Soulmask Worth Playing 7

It’s Highly Polished.

Despite being in early access, Soulmask is surprisingly well-polished. It’s visually stunning, has some of the best weather effects I have ever seen in any survival game, runs incredibly well on a wide variety of hardware, and overall features fantastic visual and sound design.

The only area where it doesn’t look polished is its English translation, which can best be described as “auto-translated Engrish”.

However, compared to some of the issues facing other early access games at this stage of their journey, a few misplaced words or bad grammar is hardly a huge issue. I am sure that by the time Soulmask finishes its time in early access, the English translation will be as well polished as the rest of the game.

Is Soulmask Worth Playing 6

Jiggle Physics.

While CampFire Studio has announced no plans to introduce nude character models and has given female characters relatively modest minimal attire (considering the setting in which the game takes place), something has gone seriously wrong with Soulmask’s implementation of jiggle physics, and even every female character (including those with smaller breasts) jiggle like jello with every action, this is especially noticeably in combat where breasts will literally dance about in all directions.

While some players, of course, like this and will complain to high heaven when it is eventually patched, considering this “bug” only affects female character models and does little but harken back to less enlighted times (Dead or Alive, etc.), it reflects poorly on the game. It will make many female gamers feel objectified.

I recently spoke with a female friend who is a hardcore gamer with thousands of hours invested in games, practically survival games. While she liked Soul Mask, she admitted that she was shelving it until this issue was fixed, as it made her uncomfortable as a woman to play as a character that was so visibly objectified, while male characters did not suffer from similarly embarrassing jiggle physics.

The fact we have so many gamers foaming at the mouth for nude mods while demanding the developer add a full nudity option to Soulmask is more than proof enough that some gamers have serious sexual problems that border on addiction.

While some may dismiss this as a non-issue, I feel strongly that making content purely to titillate is wrong, and while there is a time and place for nudity in games, making every female character eye candy is offensive, and for those who are prone to acting on their lust, dangerous.

But I say to you that everyone who looks at a woman with lustful intent has already committed adultery with her in his heart. If your right eye causes you to sin, tear it out and throw it away. For it is better that you lose one of your members than that your whole body be thrown into hell. And if your right hand causes you to sin, cut it off and throw it away. For it is better that you lose one of your members than that your whole body go into hell. - Matthew 5:28-30

Hopefully, CampFire Studio will stick to their proverbial guns and not add a full nudity option if only to do their part in stopping gamers (some of which are minors) with virtual porn addictions from getting their fix while playing Soulmask.

But whoever causes one of these little ones who believe in me to sin, it would be better for him to have a great millstone fastened around his neck and to be drowned in the depth of the sea. - Matthew 18:6

Is Soulmask Worth Playing 8

Soulmask FAQ

Soulmask is a survival video game developed by CampFire Studio and published by Qooland Games, it was released on 31 May 2024 and retails for $29.99.

Platform Availability.

Soulmask is available exclusively on PC.

How Many People Play Soulmask?

As of June 2024, around 150,000 people play Soulmask on a fairly regular basis.

How Active Is The Soulmask Playerbase?

Soulmask is fairly active, and there are multiple active servers during peak NA/EU play times catering to various playstyles and/or regions.

Is There Group Finding/Matchmaking Support?

Soulmask offers the following matchmaking options:

  • Server Browser

What Peripherals Are Supported?

The following peripherals are officially supported:

  • PC - Mouse and Keyboard.

Is There Any Mature Content?

Soulmask is unrated and contains the following:

  • Drug Use
  • Gore
  • Mature Themes
  • Partial Nudity
  • Sexual Content
  • Violence

Final Verdict.

Soulmask is a really fun early-access survival game that offers a huge amount of relatively well-polished content for a very low price.

However, it does have issues, and many gamers will find it strange that the main character is so weak compared to the playable tribe members they recruit.

While I hope this system remains in place, as it’s very refreshing, I equally believe there should be an option for players to choose whether they want a limited main character and rely on recruited specialist characters for end-game content or wish to play through the entire game as their main character.

This would ensure that both camps are happy and go a long way towards ensuring that Soulmask does not end up like so many other early-access survival games that, despite being initially very popular, lose the majority of their player base over the span of just a few weeks before essentially dying in early access or launching prematurely before being declared dead on arrival.

Unless CampFire Studios finds a way to retain its current player base, which likes its unique mechanics, while making enough changes to appeal to survival gamers who are more used to titles such as Conan Exiles and Ark Survival Evolved/Ascended, it will struggle to avoid a similar fate.

Is Soulmask Worth Playing In 2024?

8
Honest Video Game Reviews has given "Soulmask" a rating of 8/10, indicating that it is a good game, that is well worth playing, and while it may have a few shortcomings, the average gamer will enjoy it.

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