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Save 90% on the best soulslike you’ve never played in the Steam sale

Mortal Shell is a grim bitesized soulslike with some truly great ideas and a stunning vibe and you can get it for almost nothing right now.

Save 90% on the best soulslike you’ve never played in the Steam sale: A shell stands in an icy area in Mortal Shell.

The moment I knew I would love Mortal Shell was when the extremely sparse soundtrack kicked in during a boss battle. Less music and more horrific, soul-wrenching ambient drone, it set the tone for the fight as I dodged, turned to stone to avoid damage, and then abruptly died. Unlike most games, Mortal Shell isn’t happy unless you’re uncomfortable – and that’s something to be treasured.

Released back in 2021, Mortal Shell is a soulslike game that’s not afraid to try something different. It’s not just Dark Souls with a skin or Bloodborne with a couple of new ideas; it’s something far more than that. It’s a truly experimental game which is probably why it’s so polarizing with players either loving or hating it. Thankfully if you wanted to find out how you feel about it, it’s 90% off right now in the Steam Summer Sale.

One of the big ideas in Mortal Shell is that you’re inhabiting someone else’s body. The ‘you’ that you play as is a weak, scrawny thing who must slide into abandoned flesh suits in order to use their powers and associated playstyles. There’s a tanky body, a fast-moving one, a mage-like character, and more. You hop into them and through the course of the game, you learn more about who they were as you power them up. When you reach zero health you get smacked back out into your real body for a moment, where one hit means your death. Get back to your shell and you’ll have another try. Fail and it’s back to the boss run.

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It’s the tone, however, that’s the real appeal – at least to me. If you thought the Dark Souls games were grim you’re about to have a rude awakening. This is an old world, a faded place where life once existed and has now been all but extinguished. Between the droning soundtrack and the stark landscape you’re presented with a solitary, soul-sapping place, and I love every second of it. You can play it through with an optional soundtrack by black metal band Rotting Christ but for my money the original wailing, unsettling soundtrack is the perfect accompaniment to the game’s atmosphere.

Mortal Shell isn’t a long game, though The Virtuous Cycle DLC adds plenty of replayability via an optional roguelike mode, but even though short it lingers for a long time in the memory. Our Mortal Shell review lamented its difficulty but if you’re not the best at bashing through soulslikes, or just fancy something different, it may be right up your street.

Also you can play a lute. So that’s an extra positive in my eyes.

You can grab Mortal Shell with 90% off until Thursday July 11, bringing its price down to $2.99 / £2.49 from $29.99 / £24.99. Head over to Steam to check it out for yourself and make up your own mind about the game.

You can also take a look at our guide to the best open-world games you can play, as well as our picks for the best fantasy games out there in 2024.

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