I sincerely hoped that Restless Soul would work on my Steam Deck. The title screen booted, but after that, a ghostly white with nothing on offer other than deep contemplation. That’s what the mirror and hangovers are for. I guess this is reserved for desktop play only.
Why does it matter? Because it’s a surprise indie that grabbed my attention about three or four lines into the dialogue. A title by Fuz Games and published by Graffiti Games, this was a code offered to me, which I gratefully accepted. Not knowing anything about it, I thought I’d be a blank page and wouldn’t bring any expectations to the table.
Alas, Restless Soul is one of those lo-fi retros that are cute and all but just not something that appeals to me. Resembling an old-school RPG in black and white, and with no spoken words other than the god-awful bleep bleep bleeps I thought I left behind in the 90s, this was likely a quick review, fair of course, but a bit of chore. Fortunately, that dialogue was hilarious – a show-stopper of the fourth wall variety.
Restless Soul Review
Your nameless soul has just died somehow and finds itself in the afterlife. Greeted by a talking dog and the Grim Reaper, you soon learn that there’s a chance you can return to the world of the living, but your supposed nemesis, Dr Krull, will stop that from happening, sending his vicious minions after you.
Restless Soul is a pixel art adventure in lovely shades of black and white. It’s mostly exploration, witty dialogue, hidden items and the occasional twin-stick combat, but really, the latter is just a bonus as there’s not much in the way of challenge. That’s not a bad thing, but the combat is easy. If you do struggle, there’s a god mode option from the menu!
To get back home, you have to locate eight keys, snatching them from under Dr Krull’s nose cavity. For each area is a tower that holds the key, and you’ll head through a handful of dungeons, defeat enemies with your squares, and perhaps dodge some booby (heh) traps along the way. By the end, you’ll fight a boss, grab the key, and move on to the next area. It’s relatively straightforward, but there are a handful of moments where you might get lost as there are no visible objectives.
Adding to that, each area has hidden letters that spell out a word, and there are optional tile puzzles and Easter eggs to find or be found by. Again, Restless Soul is a simple approach, but it’s so charming and entertaining, it’ll grab you by the ghoulies from the outset. I had attempted to play this on the Steam Deck, as stated, so when I returned to my desktop to load the saved game, I saw that it hadn’t been saved. Just as frustration kicked in, it became evident that this is one of the many pranks and the fourth wall demolishing the game does.
Jokes are fast and furious, but the pacing and humour (subjective, of course) are so on point that there was never a moment where it felt the dev was trying too hard. The comedy is so natural and a lot of fun to experience. My only reservations were a handful of areas where it wasn’t clear what to do and having to backtrack a few times to get back on the rails.
Besides wandering around looking for keys and letters, you can use your mobile to take selfies, view your existing inventory (when reverse engineering the objectives), look at a map, and fast-travel to the points you’ve already been to. The latter is not only helpful through convenience, but there are some extra challenges where you have to visit locations for a reward. In short, it’s a nice tidy package that’ll keep you entertained, but you won’t be breaking a sweat through complex tasks.
I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend Restless Soul to anyone who enjoys comedy games that aren’t a parody or a try-hard. As mentioned, while the jokes are frequent, they don’t outstay their welcome, and in many respects, you’ll look forward to those meaningful interactions. There’s a lot going for this game, and considering my slight reservation about this sort of thing, it was a delight to play and encourage you to read more reviews, watch some streams, throw some runes, sacrifice a goat, or whatever ritual you do before committing to a game.