Far from restless, I’m quite tired.
It’s difficult to find something to say about Restless Soul, partially because it’s a game with so little to say itself. At its core, the game is a narrative adventure drawing such obvious inspiration from Undertale that multiple people I’ve shown it have immediately made the comparison. You play as a nameless ghost, recently deceased and trying to escape the afterlife in order to settle the unfinished business they left behind. In order to do so, you must collect eight keys to open the portal back to life before the villainous Dr. Krull can find them. The plot is paper thin with few characters that matter, and even Dr. Krull has very little characterization besides simply Being Evil.
With so little focus given to the plot you may assume that Restless Soul is less about story and more about the Bullet Hell style gameplay it advertises, but the Bullet Hell segments make up a small fraction of the game’s runtime. You only really fight during the dungeons that house the eight keys, which each have about five encounters followed by a boss fight. Each encounter lasts 30 seconds at most and rarely features more than a small handful of enemies. The combat itself isn’t even particularly exciting; enemies move slowly and their bullets are simple to dodge. The boss fights at the end of a dungeon are easily the best fights the game has to offer, but the bar for quality there is pretty low.
Outside of dungeons the game almost entirely relies on narrative adventure gameplay that has you walking around the world and talking to NPCs to advance the story. Occasionally you’ll get some puzzles to deal with, which are mostly based around sliding items around a grid to get them into specific places. At one point you play a miniature Tower Defense game that’s even less developed than the Bullet Hell combat, and a late-game sequence features a stealth section that’s so unforgivably frustrating that it ultimately made me quit the game entirely with seven of the eight portal keys collected.
Ultimately, Restless Soul’s heavy focus on narrative means that it will live and die based on how well its humor lands for you. Comedy is obviously highly subjective, but for me it was the game’s biggest weakness. Jokes and gags are incredibly frequent with a punchline roughly every three lines of dialogue. There really wasn’t a single joke that landed for me, with most of them either being fourth wall humor or the kind of thing you’d see in a Facebook post that your grandma forwarded to you.
A very early scene had me run into a cat, prompting the narrator to say “Cats seen: 1 out of 1000.” The player character then complained “That’s a lot! I’ll never unlock that achievement!” The narrator responds “Cats seen: 1 out of 10.” The player character again complains that that’s now too easy, prompting the narrator to declare that the achievement has now been destroyed. The player character asks “So the achievement is both locked and unlocked?” which led to the narrator curtly ordering me to simply play the game. A later scene had an NPC warn me to behave because “the man upstairs” is watching. The player character replied “You mean God is real?” which led to the camera turning and revealing a man standing on a balcony above me. I consider these to be the best jokes in the game, and I do not mean that as a complement.
If you think that those jokes are clever and hilarious, you will likely enjoy Restless Soul. Unfortunately I didn’t find any of them to be very funny, which was only exacerbated by the non-stop parade of attempts at humor. The writing is just not very good, which could have been fine if there was a great game to get attached to, but that sadly isn’t the case. Between poor writing and gameplay with less depth than a Mario Party minigame, Restless Soul simply doesn’t have anything I think is worth seeing.