Ever since FromSoftware revolutionized action games with its Dark Souls series well over a decade ago, developers the world over have attempted to recreate its winning formula in a range of new and inventive ways. The latest game putting its own spin on it is Kristala, an indie soulslike with dark fantasy visuals and challenging combat that's straight out of Dark Souls, but here you play as a cat.
It's not as if the adorable tabby from Stray has been let loose in Lordran, though, as Kristala's kitties have a lot in common with hoomans. They wear clothing, walk on two feet, and know their way around a sword. Think the Khajiit from Skyrim, and you'll have a pretty good idea. There are six clans to choose from, each offering its own unique combat strengths and magic specialties.
"Uncover and upgrade a multitude of weapons, spells, armor sets, and additional items and strategically battle to restore peace to Ailur," reads the game's description on Steam. "Meet and interact with unique characters while exploring a mysterious fantasy planet that's overflowing with untold stories ripe for the unraveling."
Despite the obvious FromSoftware influence, developer Astral Clocktower Studios is keen for Kristala to stand out from the Souls crowd and appeal to players who've never set foot in Lordran, Yharnam, or the Lands Between.
"It's incredibly important to us that Kristala make its own statement," studio founder and producer Alexis Brutman says. "We don't want it to be just another Soulslike game that regurgitates the same expected art style and gameplay mechanics, but rather one that welcomes new players - players who maybe don't typically gravitate towards Soulslike titles - into the genre."
Still, as the latest gameplay trailer shows, there's certainly a lot for Soulsborne fans to love, including fast-paced and ferocious combat against all manner of bloodthirsty monsters. Let's hope this cat comes with nine lives.
Kristala is set to launch on PS5, Xbox Series X|S, Switch, and PC, though a release date has yet to be announced. In the meantime, you can wishlist it on Steam and keep up to date with its progress on Twitter.
Check out our upcoming indie games guide for more intriguing indies coming your way.