Every once in a while there is a game that stands out because it is so different to the games you’ve seen or played before. Soft Body is such a game. Part bullet hell, part work of art and part puzzler, this game has you using both thumb sticks to simultaneously control two beautiful, gooey snakes. These snakes are referred to as “Soft Body” and “Ghost” and they both do different things. The Soft Body snake is used to paint walls and remove the outer shell of certain enemies, whereas the Ghost snake is used to push balls from one end of a track to another and destroy enemies.
There are a hundred levels in Soft Body that get increasingly difficult as you progress. It is really difficult to put into words exactly how to complete levels without it sounding overly simplistic. At a base level you must use the snakes to paint walls whilst avoiding the enemies and their projectiles. I admit this doesn’t sound inspiring but as soon as you play it becomes very intuitive, because you instinctively know what needs doing and because Soft Body opts for the instant death approach that forces you to restart levels, I found it strangely compelling and addictive.
The levels are split across four different games: Soft, Soft+, Hard and (you guessed it) Hard+ which become available as you complete levels. In the easiest game mode, Soft, you combine the snakes and control them with just the left thumb stick. The other modes ramp up the challenge as the snakes cannot be combined, so your hand/eye co-ordination will be tested to the max as you try to keep an eye on both snakes, the enemies and their hundreds of bullets.
The audio and visuals in Soft Body create a meditative, almost trance-like state within its bullet hell. With a single colour backdrop the game uses simple geometrical shapes which are easily identifiable as either friends or foe. The accompanying music is soothing and is a stark contrast to the fingernails down chalkboard sound effects, but together they work really well.
Soft Body has nine trophies up for grabs with the standout trophy being “The Circle”. To get it you must start from Chapter 1-1 and complete every Soft Game level without the Soft Body snake taking damage. I can tell you this is likely to be one of the rarest trophies as I lost count of the number of times I died, so huge kudos to anyone that pops it.
Soft Body is described by its developer Zeke Virant as “a meditative action game” but it’s more than that; it’s an experience. Screenshots and trailers don’t do the game any justice as it really needs to be played to be fully understood and appreciated. It is simplistic in its design and appearance yet deceptively captivating.
NelMaNo Rating 8.5/10