Soulstice has a really awesome difficulty system that allows you to scale the game up or down to match your skill level. However, the system isn’t immediately intuitive, so I want to give you a quick rundown.

First of all, there are five difficulty levels in the game. Here they are, from easiest to hardest:

  • Human
  • Initiate
  • Knight
  • Chimera
  • Transcended

When you start the game, you can select one of these difficulty levels, but note that Chimera and Transcended aren’t accessible until you’ve completed the game at least once on a lower difficulty.

But you’re not locked into the difficulty level you choose at the beginning of the game. Whenever you go to the chapter select screen, you can choose a chapter and a difficulty level.

However, there’s a catch. In order to have access to a level, you must have beaten the previous chapter on that difficulty level or higher. Okay, so that’s a little confusing, so let me explain this in a little bit more detail.

So, say you beat Act I, Chapter 4 on Initiate difficulty. You’ll be able to select Chapter 5 on Initiate difficulty or on Human difficulty, but not on Knight difficulty. Beating a level unlocks it on all lower difficulty levels, but not all higher ones.

Let me put this another way. If you beat the entire game on Initiate difficulty, you will have access to all of the chapters on both Initiate and Human, but not Knight. If you want to play on Knight, you’ll have to start from the beginning and clear the game again on Knight (or higher).

Make sense?

It took me a little bit of tinkering to really figure out how all this works, but once I did, I started to see just how awesome this system is. It means that if you get stuck on a particular chapter, you can simply go back and grind through any previous chapters on a lower difficulty level to get the crystals you need to buy upgrades and then re-try that chapter that gave you trouble.

Soulstice - Briar and Lute

I’m not ashamed to say that I exploited the crap out of this system in my time with Soulstice. For example, I would sometimes get steamrolled by a boss, only to lower the difficulty level and try again. Then I could go back later and retry the fight once I’d unlocked some more skills.

It’s a great system that works to balance out the game’s difficulty spikes. When you hit a brick wall, you can back out, go find a place to grind for a bit, then come back with a more powerful duo and try again.

Quite frankly, I wish more games operated like this.

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