Thymesia may look like a Bloodborne rip-off, but give it a chance and you’ll find that it has some nifty ideas of its own.
The Kingdom of Hermes lies in ruins, and it seems that you are its last hope. You are Corvus, and deep within your memories lies the cure to the Kingdom’s ailment. Corvus’ memory seems a little hazy, however, so now you’ve got to recall past events in an effort to resurface the knowledge you need. And so begins Thymesia, a challenging action RPG that takes place inside a fractured mind.
The starting area had us a bit worried about Thymesia in all honesty. The combat initially felt basic, and the environment we found ourselves in was drab, empty and claustrophobic. But then we came up against our first boss – a gargantuan knight – and with our first death shortly following, the game truly began.
An isolated hovel within a ruined city acts as a sort of base of operations, but initially all it’s good for is recalling your first memory. Take the plunge and before you know it you’re in a new location, one of trees and strange, poisonous organic growths. It’s here that you’ll truly cut your teeth with Thymesia‘s combat system.
While Thymesia is indeed a Soulslike, it forgoes some staple features while introducing some of its own original ideas to create a battle system that feels familiar yet also unique. While there’s a similar flow to its combat, for example, you don’t need to worry about stamina. And instead of having light and strong attacks, you instead have those performed with a saber and those with a claw.
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Saber attacks are nimble and fast, and they form the basis of your offence. But the kicker is, while they do damage your opponent, much of that damage can be restored over time. Claw attacks, on the other hand, are slow but take away large chunks of that recoverable health. And so already a strategy should be forming in your mind, one that involves weakening opponents with saber attacks before using claw attacks to bring them to their knees.
And bring them to their knees you will. In another of Thymesia‘s features, you have the choice of executing your defeated enemies, or charging up a claw attack to steal their weapon for later use. These stolen Plague Weapons are powerful but also a one-use-only affair. Think of them as a free special attack. But permanent Plague Weapons can also be unlocked, equipped and even upgraded, giving you more combat options. Well, providing you have the energy to use them.
This is just a taste of what’s on offer in Thymesia, with yet more offensive and defensive options available including deflecting attacks and countering dangerous critical attacks with thrown feathers. As you level up by spending a currency earned by killing at resting points, you’ll even be awarded talents points that can be further used to personalise and expand your repertoire. And these can be freely redistributed, too, unlike your stat points.
The combat of Thymesia, then, is undoubtedly it’s strongest asset, despite the occasional frustration with certain enemy attacks homing in on you a little too well. Its small number of locations may not be the most inventive or exciting, but the enemies you meet along the way will keep you engaged and on your toes.
Once you’re done with a location and defeated its boss there are reasons to return, too, with sub quests becoming available. Or you can simply just go back to seek out any objects or secrets you didn’t find. You might even find some new enemies on a return visit. And your exploits will lead to one of multiple endings, perhaps enticing you to play through it again.
All in all, Thymesia is quite a good Soulslike. Aside from some attacks homing in on you a little too well, only things like a lack of voice acting and uneven boss difficulty truly let it down. It’s not as polished or as epic as any of FromSoftware’s releases, but that’s to be expected given the budget price and the fact that this is the first title from developer Over Border Studio. So, keep your expectations in check, and you’re bound to have a good time.