Dolmen Is Dead Space Meets Metroid Prime, But with Soulslike Combat


If you’ve spent any time with video games in the past ten years, you’re probably at least vaguely aware of the concept of a Soulslike. This started with a 2009 PS3 game called Demon’s Souls, which was certainly no blockbuster, though it was decently well-liked enough that FromSoftware would create a spiritual successor called Dark Souls. And Dark Souls would go on to be widely considered one of the greatest video games of all time. More importantly, it would spawn a genre called the Soulslike.

In Dark Souls, you earn a currency called Souls by killing enemies. However, if you die, you will drop all of the Souls you are carrying. If you can race back to the spot where you died, you can collect the dropped Souls, but if you die a second time before reclaiming those Souls, they’re gone forever.

Thankfully, you can also spend those Souls. Most of this happens at bonfires, which serve as the game’s checkpoint system, where you can level up your character by spending Souls. There are also merchants in the game who will sell you items for Souls.

If you’ve played the recent Elden Ring, all of this should sound familiar — Elden Ring was also developed by FromSoftware.


But there’s an entire genre now that follows this formula, and not all of these games come from FromSoft. One recent example is Dolmen, which throws a science-fiction spin on the formula (Soulslike games have a tendency to use high-fantasy settings rather than sci-fi settings, but obviously this isn’t exclusively true). In Dolmen, teleporters play the role of Dark Souls‘ bonfires, and Souls are replaced with a currency called nanites. But the basic rules are the same — collect nanites, then use a teleporter to return to your ship where you can spend those nanites on level-ups.

Atmosphere-wise, Dolmen reminds me of Dead Space. This is a bleak, deadly alien world that’s filled with creepy-looking monsters that could kill our protagonist in an instant. But some of its environmental design reminds me a little bit of the Metroid Prime series, with its dark alien tech beneath red-and-yellow clouds.

Admittedly, Dolmen doesn’t have the level of polish that a FromSoftware game would have. The enemy animations can be kind of janky, and using the dodge-roll maneuver when you’re in a tight hallway could get you stuck inside a wall (something that happened to me multiple times throughout my playthrough). Environmental design can be a bit bland in the first section, though it gets much, much better once you hit the game’s second act and are introduced to the yellow sulfur fields of the Wastelands.

I’ve mentioned this elsewhere, but I really do like the game’s boss-fight system, which lets you respawn defeated bosses so you can fight them again and collect exclusive crafting parts. Each boss has parts that can be crafted into an exclusive weapon, so you might want to fight bosses over and over again, which can get kind of addictive. I should warn you, though, that some of these bosses can be really, really difficult (I struggled quite a bit on Zallan Kheep, the boss of the game’s second act).

Oh, and I should point out that even though you do have sci-fi guns (which you can add elemental damage types to), Dolmen isn’t without its fair share of big ol’ swords in the Soulslike tradition.


If you’ve been admiring the Soulslike genre from afar but your tastes skew toward science fiction instead of high fantasy, then Dolmen could serve as a pretty decent jumping-in point. Dolmen is currently available on PS4, PS5, Xbox One, Xbox Series X|S, and PC.

Disclaimer: I was given a review code for Dolmen on PS5, but the opinions expressed in this article are my own.

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