Dolmen is a sci-fi third-person shooter that sticks to a sort-of-Soulslike formula. You kill alien creatures who drop nanites, which you can exchange at your ship for level-ups. There are teleporters littered across this alien world, and each one lets you teleport to other locations you’ve discovered or to your ship, so they basically serve as the game’s version of bonfires.

Despite the more sci-fi aesthetic, all of this is immediately familiar to anyone who’s dabbled with the Soulslike genre. When I first fired up the game, I thought Dolmen was a neat little distraction, but not one I would want to spend all that much time with. I’ve already sunk over 100 hours into Elden Ring — I need a little bit of time before I really sink my teeth into another Soulslike.

But then I hit the first boss, the Dementula Boss, and things changed for me. It’s not that the fight was particularly memorable (I have a complete guide to beating it, if you’re interested). What’s interesting is that once you beat a boss, you can respawn it and fight it again. Each respawn costs three Dolmen Fragments, which you can farm off enemies, and it will give you a single chance to try to take down the boss again. If you die, the fight is over, though you can spend three more Dolmen Fragments to try again.

Dolmen - Dementula

Why would you want to do this? Well, on top of the fact that bosses tend to drop more nanites than your standard enemies, they also drop exclusive crafting materials. The Dementula Boss, for example, drops the Dementular Sharp Fangs. If you get three Dementular Sharp Fangs, you can craft the Dementular Claws, which can be worn on your hands like gloves and let you attack like freaking Wolverine.

So of course you’ll want to beat the Dementula Boss three times to get this cool weapon. While there aren’t boss-themed armor sets, each boss does have an exclusive weapon that can be crafted from its parts. This adds a little bit of a Monster Hunter element to boss fights here, and it can get addictive to fight and re-fight these bosses.

Sure, Dolmen isn’t the first Soulslike to incorporate a MonHun-like crafting system. Salt and Sacrifice launched just ten days before Dolmen, and it has a similar system (in fact, the system in Salt and Sacrifice is more robust than Dolmen‘s). But by adding this simple boss-farming mechanic, Dolmen has completely changed from a pretty-alright sci-fi Soulslike into something I ended up spending dozens of hours with. I tend to find these grindy boss-fight systems to be super addictive.

Honestly, I think this is going to become a staple of the Soulslike genre going forward. I don’t know if From Software will ever experiment with it (they have enough going for them with the success of Elden Ring), but other Soulslikes seem to be adopting it to great effect.

In the meantime, if you want to see how this mechanic works in a Soulslike, I definitely recommend Dolmen (I would recommend Salt and Sanctuary as well). Dolmen is a neat sci-fi Soulslike that’s a whole lot of fun (though Zallan Kheep, the boss of the game’s second act, can eff right off).

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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