This slick and experimental soulslike takes about 15 seconds to get you feeling empathy for a triangle

The triangle hero fighting a large enemy with two swords in Void Sols.
(Image credit: Finite Reflection Studio)

As the technology of videogame graphics has grown and evolved over the decades, developers have been able to imbue their characters with more and more life and humanity. Subtle animations and mo-capped facial expressions give heroes and villains a believable inner life that enables more emotionally resonant stories to be told. But that's all a bit of a waste of time, as it turns out, because Void Sols took about 15 seconds to get me feeling empathy for a triangle. 

In this soulslike's abstract world, people and creatures are just shapes. At best, larger beings may combine two or three shapes together. The environments are a little more textured, but still simple and boxy with stripped-back details—a flaming torch is just a glowing circle, while a treasure on the ground is a bundle of triangles.

(Image credit: Finite Reflection Studio)

And yet it's brilliantly atmospheric. The opening sees your little triangle hero in a prison cell next to another identical triangle. When your fellow inmate is dragged out and murdered by the guards in front of you, you immediately understand the trouble you're in. From that moment on, I stopped seeing shapes, the abstract visuals allowing my mind to fill in the details without me even realising. A big, slow-moving circle becomes a lumbering knight, a quick little diamond becomes a sneaky assassin, and my lonesome triangle becomes a brave adventurer, fighting to escape a nightmarish prison. Simple but well-deployed music and sound effects complete the illusion.

In typical soulslike fashion, Void Sols is all about precise and dangerous fights, and it's here that those clean visuals really show their worth. Doing battle with abstract shapes from a top-down perspective, it's pleasingly easy to fully see and understand the behaviour and attack patterns of your enemies. The white silhouette weapons they wield swing in often massive arcs, forcing you to learn the perfect moments to dodge, weave, and duck in a desperate strike. 

On its own, a Geometry Wars-inspired look wouldn't be enough to stand out in the increasingly busy crowd of indie soulslikes, but as I play through a preview build, I'm excited to find Void Sols brings a really experimental spirit to the genre. For one, you can respec your character freely at every bonfire-equivalent, reallocating points between four stats and equipping different weapons and items that radically change your playstyle. I'm always glad of being able to try out different things as I go rather than being locked into a starting class, or slowly calcifying my character more and more with every level up. But in Void Sols it feels like it opens up your strategic options too.

(Image credit: Finite Reflection Studio)

As soon as I discovered a slow but powerful greathammer, for example, I shifted gears into a strength build. I was having a great time with the risk-reward of timing my strikes to take down charging enemies in one big hit. But once I hit the boss—a huge prison warden that attacks swiftly with two meat cleavers—it felt a bit too dangerous. After a trip back to the bonfire, I was able to experiment with which combo might work best, ultimately settling on more of a rogue build based around speed and short-range dagger strikes—far better for keeping my distance from his attacks and seizing opportunities where they arose. Being able to try out very different solutions to each encounter is brilliantly satisfying, and character-building is kept simple enough that it should remain easy to do even at higher levels with more options on the table.

The world itself further encourages creative problem solving with almost immersive sim-like interactions. The flaming torch item, for example, allows you to set wooden objects on fire. In a room full of tables and barrels, the blaze can spread and scorch your foes—but equally, it can be used to relight a spent campfire, keeping yourself warm to avoid the icy debuff that can slowly overcome you in cold areas. 

Enemies are divided into simple factions, and with some agile trickery, they can be duped into battling each other as well as you. The boss of the prison, for example, summons a group of adds from another faction halfway into the fight, which can totally overwhelm you if you're not prepared. But if you can manoeuvre around such that the archer minions accidentally shoot a couple of arrows into the boss' back, he'll turn on his own reinforcements, and you can take a moment to recover while they battle.

(Image credit: Finite Reflection Studio)

While the public demo only includes the initial prison sequence, it also offers several remixes of it through the Challenges menu, including a Supermax version that entirely changes the level layout and adds new enemy types and dangers. There's a confident flair in how it turns the experience on its head that makes me really excited to see what developer Finite Reflection studios is going to do with an entire world in the final release.

Though a release date for Void Sols is still TBA, you can check out the demo for yourself on Steam now.

Robin Valentine
Senior Editor

Formerly the editor of PC Gamer magazine (and the dearly departed GamesMaster), Robin combines years of experience in games journalism with a lifelong love of PC gaming. First hypnotised by the light of the monitor as he muddled through Simon the Sorcerer on his uncle’s machine, he’s been a devotee ever since, devouring any RPG or strategy game to stumble into his path. Now he's channelling that devotion into filling this lovely website with features, news, reviews, and all of his hottest takes.