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Shining Soul

“Shining Soul” for the Game Boy Advance is an overhead view hack-and-slash RPG. It is done in the style of games such as “Diablo” and “Diablo II” for the PC. The premise is pretty basic: There’s a big evil guy with five monster lieutenants, and your character has to go kill a lot of things, eventually including the big evil guy and his lieutenants. There are four characters to choose from: a warrior, an archer, a girl wizard, and a dragonute (a big dragon guy). Each character has strengths and weaknesses. For example, the archer is quick and can use ranged attacks, but is not very good at close combat. The dragonute is the big, heavy fighter, the warrior is a faster close range fighter, and the wizard has to use magic points to use her more powerful spells. The player can customize their character’s name and color scheme.

In terms of gameplay, there’s nothing special. The character goes into various dungeons, hacking through monsters until eventually you reach the boss of the level you’re on (who is one of the lieutenants) and you have to fight him. When you beat him, you can go to the next level. There’s also a friendly town in which you can save and shop for items. The character can gain levels, too. Leveling up gets you points to put into stats and attributes. Attribute points can be used on several things, depending on class. Warriors can increase things like weapons skills, mental defense, and physical defense. Archers can increase the range of their arrows and increase their bow skill. Wizards can increase power with several different types of spells. Dragonutes can increase skills with heavy weapons like axes and flails, along with armor breaking techniques and fire breath. Players with link cables can link their Game Boy Advances together to play cooperative mode with up to four people.

Overall, this is a good game. It is very much a mindless hack-and-slash game. There are no decisions you have to make regarding the story. There are some annoyances with saving (if you are on the 15th floor of a dungeon, if you save and quit you start at the top again), but other than that it’s pretty good. 7/10.

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