Massive Work Studio is looking to branch out and take its talents to a new genre with Dolmen. Heavily inspired by the Soulsborne games, Dolmen sees players on the dangerous alien planet of Revion Prime. Tasked with discovering and returning home with the crystal resource known as Dolmen, the deadly creatures on this planet will make that mission anything but easy. I got a feel for the gameplay in Dolmen after playing through a small section of the game at PAX East.
The team at Massive Work Studio are clearly emphasizing strategy and memorization in Dolmen. Similar to the Soulslike games that it takes inspiration from, Dolmen levels are littered with tough enemies that will pop out of unsuspecting places, and chase you all throughout a corridor. During my first run through the level, I meticulously made my way through the interior of a base, fighting individual enemies and looking for my objective. By the fifth time going through, I knew where every enemy was coming from, able to quickly dispatch them or avoid them entirely.
Combat in Dolmen mixes both melee and ranged tactics. There are different guns that players can use to deal damage at a distance, as well as melee items that can change combos up close. The different creatures you battle may have increased or reduced resistance to ranged or melee attacks, forcing you to shake up your approach to combat. There’s also a lot of rolling around involved, as enemies attack in quick flurries and you’ll need to dodge out of the way in a timely manner.
Dolmen also has a space station that serves as your hub, where players can rest and regain their health/battery at the sacrifice of respawning any defeated enemies. This is also where they can swap out their weapons and customize their loadout.
Massive Work Studio is the latest developer to put its own spin on the Soulslike formula, but the creature design and varied landscapes on the alien planet give Dolmen a unique visual identity. As for the full experience, we’ll have to wait until the game launches to form a final opinion. More coverage of the games featured at PAX East can be found here on Shacknews.
These impressions are based on an in-person demo played at PAX East. Dolmen launches later this year for PC, PS4, PS5, Xbox One, and Xbox Series X/S.