The one thing that separates the upcoming action RPG Dolmen from the rest of the indie Soulslike imitators out there is its sci-fi theme and world. You play a space driller who is sent to the planet Revion to find the titular resource called Dolmen; these are crystals that help power up interdimensional travel. The problem? The place where these crystals are from are full of ugly space bugs and horrors, all ready to kill you.
Just like its inspiration, you’ll be dying a lot as you play through the game’s starting area, filled with enemies willing to ambush you if you aren’t paying attention to your surroundings, as well as aren’t being patient and defensive. Luckily, you have a set number of skills to keep you on your toes and surviving. Depending on which class you pick at the start of the game, you can either be a ranged-focused blaster, a melee-savvy hard-hitter, or a trainee who starts at level 1. After 30 minutes with the latter class because I was curious as to how far I could go, I just restarted and picked a set melee class to stand a fighting chance against the horde, albeit one with an option to use a gun whenever possible.
Instead of a Soulslike bonfire, you come across beacons that acts as your save point and a teleporting device to your ship where you’ll spend your nanite points for upgrades. In fact, you can even Dolmen fragments to make bosses respawn for equipment-farming purposes. The weapons you use (both melee and ranged) have light and heavy attacks, and you can go into a special “energy avatar” mode that uses the energy meter to deal big damage.
And that’s all I can say about the current build of Dolmen I playtested for a few hours; it’s what you would want out of a hardcore action RPG: lots of options for speccing, many tools to use for combat, a nice open space to explore that isn’t daunting, and plenty of ways to die. You’ll be doing the latter a lot as the game’s damage-scaling is off the charts; most space bugs here can deal a couple of swipes to make your space driller’s career short. The humanoid enemies aren’t any better, as they have weapons that can hit you from a distance unless you’re handy with the dodge button. Still, you can’t fault developer Massive Work Studio for the controls; they’re pretty tight and from the preview itself, the team knows what it’s doing design-wise.
Dolmen will be out for PC in 2022; it’s definitely worth keeping an eye out next year if you’re into the Soulslike genre of titles.