Check out our Review / Impressions of the Thymesia Demo here:
With the release and commercial success of Elden Ring, attempting to bring a new Soulslike Action-RPG into the market seems like a risky move. Thymesia, developed by Overborder Studios as their debut title and published by Team17, seems to offer a slight variation on the genre while sticking to what the genre is best known for.
Thymesia is set to release on current-gen consoles only and PC, with a date set for August 9. However, a PC exclusive and time-limited Demo is available until May 9. While Thymesia is mostly known in the realm of Indie games, it seems to be picking up steam as the game is marketed more and more. It’s fairly obvious that the game is heavily inspired by FromSoftware’s Bloodborne, favored by Soulslike fans as one of the best in FromSoftware’s catalog.
Players play as a mysterious character called “Corvus” who is in a kingdom filled with plague and death. Corvus can slash and stab his way through difficult enemies while having a handy claw weapon that can take enemy’s diseases and form them into a consumed-upon-use Plague Weapon, which can deal hefty damage to those who you want to use it on.
Thymesia holds all of the traits that make a Soulslike, a Soulslike. There are the standard attacks, heavy attacks (with the aforementioned claw), Memories which are the games equivalent to Souls, bonfire-type resting places called Beacons, and plenty more. However, Thymesia is more closely-related to Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice than it is to other Souls titles, thanks to the requirement of constant aggression on enemies.
Enemies feel more frustrating than needed, alongside the fact that they tend to do more damage than you, by a lot.
The need for aggression stems from the fact that every enemy has two health bars: a white and green one. The white one can regenerate if an enemy is left alone for a few moments, while the green one (which can be depleted faster with the claw) doesn’t. Upon depletion, they enter a dazed fate, similar to the execution state in Sekiro, where Corvus can either finish them or charge their claw to absorb their Plague Weapon.
However, the requirement to combo often feels off in Thymesia. Sekiro’s combat felt fluid, fast, and well-balanced, whereas the similar combat in Thymesia often feels sluggish, despite requiring the same level of constant attacks that Sekiro asks for. This can make enemies feel more frustrating than needed, alongside the fact that they tend to do more damage than you, by a lot. Dodging is equally sluggish, offering little-to-no invincibility window and a way-too-short distance. Dodging almost feels like the equivalent of a heavy load in Elden Ring or Dark Souls, which we all know is annoying.
Parrying also feels pretty consequential in Thymesia. Called Deflect in-game, a successful parry can leave an enemy open for a few moments with a hefty chunk of their white bar being knocked down. However, Deflect’s window is too small and enemy attacks are not as clear as in other Souslike games. An unsuccessful Deflect does do a small amount of damage to an enemy, but the trade-off is really not worth it.
[Thymesia] could be one of the more interesting Soulslike games to be inspired by FromSoftware’s games.
Thymesia also offers a feather mechanic, which when an enemy has a blue line towards you before an attack, can be used to halt their attack and leave them knocked for a moment, and does a lot more damage than a simple Deflect. However, like the Deflect ability, the feather is really confusing as to when it’s required. Simply put, the windows of opportunity in Thymesia are unclear and require tuning before launch, or it’ll be more annoying than rewarding.
Thymesia’s aesthetic is clearly inspired by that of Bloodborne, and I kind of dig it. While it feels more dull-and-drab compared to that of its inspiration, Thymesia’s effects look pretty gorgeous and I feel it will look amazing on a current-generation console. For now, it feels a bit too grayscale filtered for it to look beautiful, and the limited time in the Demo doesn’t help sell the scenery or designs just yet.
Currently, Thymesia needs some further tuning. This Action-RPG falls flat when it comes to necessary mechanics such as deflecting and dodging, becoming far more frustrating than needed. However, there’s a fun core here, and with some fine-tuning, it could be one of the more interesting Soulslike games to be inspired by FromSoftware’s games. Its combat is decently done, and its new mechanics like the Plague Weapons look to be an interesting addition to the genre. Thymesia is certainly one to keep an eye on, but you’ll need to wait until closer to launch.
Demo Reviewed on PC. Thymesia is currently a work in progress and opinions could change with a full release