Get all your news in one place.
100’s of premium titles.
One app.
Start reading
Jordan Gerblick

This Soulslike Metroidvania has it all: Japanese horror, playable warrior cats, and gorgeous stop-motion animations

Blame it on the unprecedented volume of high-profile new games of 2023, but I've somehow managed to let this absolutely gorgeous, stop motion-animated Soulslike Metroidvania themed around Japanese folklore slip right through my radar.

I'll be the first to admit Metroidvanias aren't typically my jam, but throw in some creepy yokai, a playable "warrior cat," and some of the prettiest stop motion animation I've seen in a game, and suddenly Metroidvanias are very much my jam. 

The Spirit of the Samurai is described as an action adventure game with heavy Soulslike and Metroidvania elements where you'll battle Japanese spirits, including the shapeshifting Jorōgumo, across ruined villages, mountain caves, desolate cemeteries, and more, all animated in the style of the late Ray Harryhausen, who pioneered the Dynamation style of animation.

You'll take on the role of three different characters: Takeshi, a samurai; Kodama, a "brave but tiny spirit" that traditionally inhabits trees; and Chisai, a warrior cat. Depending on what character you're controlling, you'll be able to interact with the world and fight off enemies in different ways, whether that's through nimble platforming or by wielding weapons like the iconic katana, the versatile yari spear, and the long-range bow.

As you progress through the game, you'll gain XP which you can use to unlock new abilities, upgrade your stats, and create custom combos using the self-styled combo editor.

The story seems pretty simple, focusing on a samurai named Takeshi who's charged with protecting his village against an onslaught of an Oni desperate to conquer the territory. I'll be curious to see how it explores Japanese folklore and weaves in the always-captivating stories behind yokai. I've already seen some truly depraved creatures in the brief bit of footage in the trailer, and I just hope the game gives some backstory around how they ended up like that.

The Spirit of the Samurai is due out on PC, PS5, Xbox Series X, Xbox One, and... Atari VCS in 2024.

In the meantime, here are the best Metroidvania games you can play today.

Sign up to read this article
Read news from 100’s of titles, curated specifically for you.
Already a member? Sign in here
Related Stories
Top stories on inkl right now
One subscription that gives you access to news from hundreds of sites
Already a member? Sign in here
Our Picks
Fourteen days free
Download the app
One app. One membership.
100+ trusted global sources.