Thymesia Review

 

Killing Two Stones With A Single Bird .

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Whenever the talk is of Soulslike, I am always a little bit preoccupied, always with a small little feeling of uneasiness I can't quite shake off no matter how hard I try. The temporary solution I found is to treat them like any other game, with no prejudice whatsoever. That way I can be as judgemental as I want, while giving it some benefit of the doubt — ain't that wonderful? Not only that, but it also irritates me deeply the rationale behind a game trying so hard to imitate another without having fully understood what it is that makes it so great in the first place. You see, I have nothing against these kinds of games, it's just that they oftentimes have a tendency to be everywhere in terms of quality, so you never truly know what to expect.

 ...Never have I ever been so humiliated in my life by a bird in a plague doctor suit... 

But, before you guess it yourself, that would also be precisely where Thymesia really caught me by surprise. While it is absolutely not there to revolutionize the formula in any way shape or form, it makes such an advanced effort to be so perfectly in line with what already exists that it almost feels like an extension of the vision the original creators themselves had of their game moving forward. In simpler terms, it doesn't look nor feel like amateur work at all, which is way more than I could ask from a developer exploring the limits of its talents. If I could put it into words, my description of the game would be that, as daunting a task following onto the footsteps of famous titles such as Sekiro and Bloodborne is, Thymesia executes its cores and fundamentals with surprising confidence and fluidity I, myself, couldn't hold the excitement in once I felt the 'click' happen.

And knowing that for the uninitiated these words won't carry much of a meaning, here goes another, easier to understand version: a quick-paced, rhythmic, visceral game where you play as a drippy mask-wearing mutant raven person that was an absurd two steps above anything I could have ever expected from it. To tell you the truth, so much as my first contact with it didn't immediately result in me falling in love at first sight, by holding on to that belief that it could go in any direction, after a long and excruciating battle to resist the urge to draw a white flag, it wound up winning my heart in the long run, which always feels the sweetest.

Similarly to every other soulslike, Thymesia draws many of its inspirations from the series of games developed by Fromsoftware. The key difference is that here you aren't so reliant on rolling away to survive attacks. Also, as a side note, an excess of lore (I mean, note after note after note (after note)) makes the game

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arguably be the complete opposite of a 'real' souls game, which are known for being timid when it comes to revealing its innards.

Similarly to every other soulslike, Thymesia draws many of its inspirations from the series of games developed by Fromsoftware. The key difference is that here you aren't so reliant on rolling away to survive attacks. Also, as a side note, an excess of lore (I mean, note after note after note (after note)) makes the game

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arguably be the complete opposite of a 'real' souls game, which are known for being timid when it comes to revealing its innards.

Mayhaps a little rough on the edges, Thymesia was an in many ways open invitation I decided to take, and then staying was only a matter of me being loyal to the masochistic blood that runs deep inside my veins. When the biggest complaint I have about the game is that it was cut off a tad too short, then you better believe that for me to leave begging for more, in this case, won't mean I was dissatisfied with what I had already gotten. The game was honestly fantastic, and when we start talking about its masterful execution of concepts, those were what really set up the stage for a wondrous pass time I am oh-so glad I didn't let my skeptcism spoil the fun that awaited at a corner's turn.

 

Hurt Them More Than They Can Hurt You: A Forgetful Beating .
 

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Publisher: Team 17 Digital

Release Date: August 18, 2022

Buying the game from the link above is a great way to support the site.

Most games that try to copy the souls style often don't understand what makes those games great. Because of this, when an unknown developer manages to not suck at it, that's what I'd call a performance worthy of applause.

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After tasting defeat at the hands of the first boss we can all openly admit we weren't supposed to beat right then and there, we wake up missing our memories, and our next objective is to... well, try and remember everything we can. To help on our newfound quest, beyond having all the time in the world to rest and reflect on our previous loss, we also get to interact with a new companion — Aisemy, a young alchemist who is there mainly to fasten our recovery. To not be a burden for any longer than necessary, we'll have to go through countless missions to uncover the secrets of our previously fought battles to retrieve notes that should give us a grand deal of insight into who we were, and hint to what it is we need to do in order to complete the game.

Going a little more in-depth on what I touched upon in the previous chapter, Thymesia has, as I said before, many of its inspirations fairly clearly defined. From the very basic second phase enemy we all know and love, to the dodge mechanics that can avoid certain death despite a sword going right through our body, not a single major feature was missed. One thing that was a bit disappointing, though, is that neither enemy variety nor the arenas we fight them in were up there in terms of greatness, seeing as, beyond the limited number of foes we encounter, there isn't much of a background going on either. But then again, that's still understandable, seeing as the studio had limited resources to work with, so making dreamy scenarios for sure wasn't their number one priority.

As for a positive counter-point, the game felt pretty challenging, or at the very least it was way harder than I had initially anticipated. One thing that is always kind of missing in these kinds of games, to me, is the thrill behind every step — that you might end up losing all of your earned progress the next time you turn a dark corner without first looking both ways. For example, do you remember when was the last time you feared what you might find behind a fog wall in a Dark Souls game? Well, me neither. Not to mention bosses, which are usually these game's ultimate trump card, don't even hold that kind of 'surprise' factor anymore nowadays, and it's kind of disappointing, to be honest.

Revolving around the rediscovery of ourselves, each drop of blood we draw is basically us recalling our memories from the past. Each kill brings us a little bit closer to remembering who we were, as well as what our purpose in the world used to be.

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Featuring a grand total of 4 (excluding reuses) areas to explore, I think it's fair to say Thymesia doesn't have that much ambient diversity, with the same applying for enemies, seeing as they take their visual characteristics from the areas they inhabit. But to give creadit where it is due, I can appreciate the effort that went into

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making them as interesting to explore as possible.

Featuring a grand total of 4 (excluding reuses) areas to explore, I think it's fair to say Thymesia doesn't have that much ambient diversity, with the same applying for enemies, seeing as they take their visual characteristics from the areas they inhabit. But to give creadit where it is due, I can appreciate the effort that went into

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making them as interesting to explore as possible.

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In the topic of combat, visual clarity of attacks plays the vital role of providing us with instruments to counter often decimating hits. It is extremely important to know what is coming next, and that would be why trading blows with powerful enemies felt so awesome in here. 

Do you sometimes ever catch yourself missing enemies that don't let you breathe? Then look no further, for Thymesia is a game that can make even the experienced break a sweat.

What I really liked about Thymesia is that it manages to be difficult, but without the need to throw random bullshit at the screen in order to remain interesting. It has a very healthy kind of 'difficulty', where even when you are losing, you can still tell that you are 'winning' in a way... if that makes any sort of sense. While in other games enemies have a wide range of attacks that don't teach you anything at each death, in here you are rewarded so much every time you're downed that winning fights through brute force alone is rarely the answer. And to fight in a game where I know victory depends only on my ability to fend off foes, that is an amazing feeling I can't quite express.

Another thing I found really great was that there were very few ways to actually cheese enemies. You can explore weaknesses, exploit them when there's opportunity, but you can't use them in such a way as to make fights piss easy. Far from that, there were many times where even after learning which attacks were the most punishable, I still had to reinvent my strategy countless times before finally downing a major boss. Stun-locking the seemingly frail into a tight corner isn't really an option, as after tanking a couple of hits, they will inevitably break free from your combo and retaliate.

That's what made the game so unusually awesome to me, this lack of timidity to slap you in the face harder than any other would ever dare to. It defends and protects itself against vices we, veterans used to similar games, have learned to counter in enemy AI over the years, making it so that we have to work hard once again to figure out what works and what doesn't. So, in short, this is a crazy fantastic indie game that feels like a breath of fresh air in the realm of Soulslike, and one I wouldn't want to miss out on not mattering what, even if merely to honor what is already tradition.

 

 

If You Can't Beat Them, Join Them: When You're Built Different .
 

Now, if it's only between me and you, one critique I've always been internalizing for games like this is how often our character doesn't feel like he belong in the picture. Like, not to generalize or anything, but don't you think so as well? I mean, when everyone else can move as though they came from a completely different universe, meanwhile we are usually a dude carrying a oftentimes sharpened stick, I think it's only natural to feel a little bit of jealousy every now and then. If I could name it, one of the few things that truly stood out as different in Thymesia in my opinion was that we weren't very far off in terms of power level as compared to those we fight, which is... absolutely amazing, to say the least.

Having to work hard once again means having to think before mashing a button, for a simple dodge in the wrong direction could wound up costing your life (in-game O.O). Failing to adapt should equate to you getting stuck at a single enemy for hours until muscle memory starts to kick in, taking upon itself do the work for you.

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From minute one I was thinking "damn, fighting someone like us would be the real challenge", and let me tell you something in a way that won't spoil much: that wasn't just a mere thought for very long. Aside from dealing tons of damage, we are also incredibly fleet and nimble, being able to get in and out of the way of danger extremely fast. Add to that abilities to rival the most anime-looking character, and you get a game where you and your adversaries can actually fight on equal footing. Actually, from the perspective of a dude, who is valiantly waiting around to get ripped to pieces in an instant, I'd say we are more like the stuff of nightmares than someone you'd see getting beaten up over staring awkwardly at a giant's feet.

And, do you remember how I mentioned earlier something about us being a 'mutant raven' or something along those lines? So, yeah, about that, I guess it's about time I introduce you to something called "plague weapons", or, in other words, a way to subtract even more from the already fraglized morale of our enemies. Those basically allow us to summon weapons (and other stuff) made of a weird pulsating energy that mimicks the powers of downed foes while being as badass and lightweight as possible.

 

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If looking cool and stylish while mowing down anyone who dare make a stand against us was an option, it'd for sure be thanks to those — I bet you can't imagine anything more amazing than beating any and everything that moves into a pulp with fricking scythes made out of the same stuff as lightsabers.

For a being that defies what it means to be human, having crazy abilities to give us an edge in battle and also go alongside the bizarreness of our strange aura should only be natural.

​The method of getting plague weapons is by stealing them from enemies, which can be achieved by either killing them and getting it as loot, or by reaping it as they live using our raven abilities. Both ways don't differ that much in results, so use whatever fits your current situation better.

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​The method of getting plague weapons is by stealing them from enemies, which can be achieved by either killing them and getting it as loot, or by reaping it as they live using our raven abilities. Both ways don't differ that much in results, so use whatever fits your current situation better.

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Beyond those, there are also talents — a special kind of passive abilities which you can unlock upon spending points at certain shrine-like structures. Those are there with the purpose of enabling our character to function as intended, by removing limitations that were only added to make it so progress wouldn't be tied to stats alone. The good thing is that you can always change them both talents and plague weapons on the fly, being able to adapt your strategy whenever you feel like it, or just when there is a specific boss giving you a headache.

Not only that, but they also make for a much more flexible gameplay, seeing as you can try different kinds of builds until you find something that better suits your playstyle. I may be speaking for myself when I say this, but for someone who likes to try different things before I settle for what I really want, not having the ability to rewrite my decisions locked behind an oftentimes limited resource is for sure a highly welcoming sight. It makes up for the fact that you are unable to exchange weapons, and when combined, gives you an elevated degree of control over the outcome of some of the major battles, as mentioned before.

A fairly straightforward system with nothing over the top that complements quite well the main loop of an endless sequence of swings swungs. It gives reason to press a couple of extra buttons, which by itself, is already great enough to warrant a spot as a neat idea I'd like to give whoever thought about it a wide hug. A neat idea, and a much welcome addition I am sure will please quite a few people, including those who don't enjoy having more buttons to press, due simply to the immense amount of options it offers.

 

Similar to how it works in Sekiro, we are stuck with a single set of weapons (a stilleto + an elongated saber) being available for us to use. For this reason, combat is fine-tuned to an unfathomable degree, with the only downside being that build variety won't be up the charts in terms of how much you can