Thymesia - Review - The Final Verdict
With the release of Demon Souls. Dark Souls, and eventually Bloodborne, this software ended up not only creating but essentially codifying an entirely new genre, one that has resonated to an incredible level with indie developers. It's no secret that the indie space will often release one or two soul-like games every year, but it is quite interesting to note that only a few will ever really see any kind of success.
An early example of this was Salt and Sanctuary. Fast forward a few years and we now have yet another small studio throwing its hat in the ring of trying to make a competent soul-style game in timesia. Where taimusia differs from others is that, rather than drawing inspiration from something like Dark Souls, it instead draws inspiration from Bloodborne, and this is really one of the first hints that overboard her studio.
The team behind Tymesia actually somewhat gets it, where most games inspired by Souls titles tend to fade into obscurity shortly after release. Timesia is likely going to be one of the rare games in the genre not made by third party software to actually get somewhat embraced by the community, and that's mostly because of how well the team that made it actually understands its influences.
First things first, right from the get-go, Tymesia is wearing its influences on its sleeve. It shares so much in terms of aesthetics with Bloodborne that those unfamiliar with both games could be forgiven for confusing the two. Its combat is at a faster pace than what we see from typical souls, yet quite reminiscent of Bloodborne.
It's borderline impossible to not think of Bloodborne while playing Tymesia, which puts it in a difficult position. It really has to be an exceptional game to get out of the shadow of the game that it is quite obviously influenced by. The combat maintains a delicate balance of simplicity along with a few interesting mechanics.
You'll typically have access to a quick attack button, but interestingly, enemies can recover their health automatically over time, and this is where the game's wound system kicks in. Staying on the offensive or using a few heavy attacks is almost always necessary to make sure that the enemy doesn't recover health.
Not only does this effectively double the health some enemies could have, it also has another add-on mechanic simply called reeving. Players can use the charged up heavy attack to receive an ability from the enemy. Since this charging up time is not insignificant and will leave you open to other attacks, the game's tutorial recommends doing it closer to the end of a fight rather than attempting it while also juggling other enemies nearby.
Doing so on specific enemies, those afflicted by a plague, gives you a chance. You can now, for a single attack, use that enemy's weapon for some extra damage. While far from game-changing, the reeve ability actually helps freshen up combat quite a bit. Not only are you now not stuck spamming the same quick attack with the default weapon, but you now also have a quick option to deal a considerable amount of damage to thin out groups of enemies.
In terms of defensive options, Tymesia gives you three: dodging, parrying, and feather attacks. That last one might sound weird, but it works quite well in this rock-paper-scissors game of trying to stay alive. Dodging can be used just about any time and, when facing multiple enemies, is the preferred way of not getting hit.
Carrying lets you quickly parry an attack and deal a little bit of damage in the process, but then enemies might use the charged up attack that can't really be parried. That's when you use your feather attacks. Your feather attacks will quickly interrupt your enemies' charged up attacks and deal quite a bit of damage to them.
Tymesia's combat system is all about dealing damage, to the extent that two of your three defensive options also deal damage. This seems like a great segue into upgrades and the skill system, along with a soul-styled method of leveling your stats. In addition, Tymesia also gives you a number of skill trees, all focusing on various aspects of your character.
In addition, there are skill trees for your regular attacks, your heavy attacks, dodging, parrying, and feather attacks, and in an interesting twist. Tymesia also lets you freely re-spec your skill trees, encouraging experimentation. To a certain extent, I say to a certain extent because a few skills seem downright mandatory to get as soon as possible.
Of course, this could just be a testament to how well the skill trees have been generally designed, but I couldn't imagine ever playing a build without a certain skill that upgrades your dodge to also be effective against charged attacks, but the true customizability. The importance of skill building will only become evident as time goes on.
Tymesia's storytelling is as minimalistic as you'd expect from a game of that genre, but it is much more explicit in your more immediate goals than Bloodborne, which gives you little more than to go kill some fools as an objective. On the other hand, timemejia lets you know that you're looking for the memories of your amnesiac protagonist.
Let's talk about difficulty. Games by From Software have a reputation for being quite difficult, thanks in no small part to the marketing campaign behind the first Dark Souls Prepare to Die edition. We're just over a decade removed from that point, and we still have some developers misunderstanding the point of the soul game's difficulty.
The Souls games don't just have slow, deliberate combat because it'd be difficult, nor do they have harsh punishments for death as a source of their difficulty. Rather, the difficulty in these games comes from the lack of information the player has when they start playing. The further they get into the game, the more they know not only about its mechanics in the world, the less difficult these games seem.
This is an aspect Taimisha seems to understand quite well. It gives you just enough information to at least give you a vague idea of what you're supposed to be doing, but never enough information to let you get too comfortable with your situation. Ultimately. Timesia is far from yet another indie studio trying its hand at imitating another software house's work; while it undoubtedly borrows a lot from the game that influenced it.
The Most Bloodborne Timeshare does more than enough to end up being little more than a pale imitation. It has quite a few great ideas that turn combat into a fun, fast-paced affair, and the story premise is quite clever. Even its story trappings of a plague in a medieval city play quite well into the core gameplay, with the reeve ability being especially fun to play with.