Tag Archives: Mortal Shell

Review – Mortal Shell

I have a lot of questions about how Cold Symmetry was founded three years ago by a team of four and has already – during a world-wide pandemic – somehow cranked out Mortal Shell, one of my favourite games in the ever-growing ‘Soulslike’ genre.

At the game’s outset players are introduced to the Foundling, a pale nightmarish figure that reminds me of the Engineer from the movie ‘Prometheus’ but with even less of a tan if that’s possible. In the first dozen or so minutes players will get every scrap of the game’s ‘how this works’ handholding and then get dumped into a boss fight with only light and heavy attacks to carry the offensive workload, a dodge and dodge roll to handle the bulk of the defensive chores, and Harden – the ability to freeze in place and harden your skin to ward off a single blow, a key tool for when you’re facing imminent death.

By itself, the Harden ability would be enough for Cold Symmetry’s debut title to show they have some ideas of their own to inject into the genre but wait – there’s more! As you explore the world, you’ll encounter Shells – the fallen remains of four heroes that you can inhabit and animate, each possessing unique abilities to unlock.

Harros the Vassal is the first you’ll run into as part of the tutorial. This is the solidly ‘average’ shell, with good durability (health), stamina (used for attacking and dodging), and resolve (which powers your weapon abilities) – but not excelling in any area. A good starter Shell, Harros has abilities that center around the Harden ability to reduce or reset its cooldown, and to make it last longer.

Tiel the Acolyte sports low durability and resolve, but sky-high stamina makes this a great Shell for those who want to use hit and run tactics or just spam attacks like mad. Tiel also picks up some amazing abilities centered around poison, which helps offset the low health and resolve.

Solomon the Scholar has so-so stamina, but high durability and off-the-charts resolve help make up for that. Solomon’s abilities focus largely on refilling his already ridiculous resolve pool, making this Shell perfect for those who want to use weapon abilities over and over in a battle.

Eredrim the Venerable has maxed out durability thanks to a massive suit of armour but pays for that battleship-like defensive strength with low stamina and resolve. With abilities that center around doing increased damage to enemies, Eredrim can be a fearsome machine in combat but it’s not the easiest Shell to master.

Mortal Shell is a breath of fetid swamp air into the Soulslike genre, but that’s more of a positive than it sounds…

Roaming the world of Mortal Shell it’s easy to see how those four adventurers came to meet their fate, with a non-stop barrage of enemies waiting to ambush you from behind a tree or corner, or to materialize in front of you with little in the way of warning. Fortunately, after a bit of exploration you’ll learn how to parry attacks and, if you have a bar of resolve stored up, can then fire off a riposte that heals you while doing enough damage to kill most enemies. Between the parry/riposte and Harden mechanics, I found I didn’t miss having a block button at all. The parry system is on a tight timing window and several enemy attacks have odd windups that seem designed to draw out and waste an early parry, but when it works it’s incredibly satisfying.

Should all your defensive tricks fail you and your Shell’s health drop to zero for the first time, the Foundling is ejected in an explosion that momentarily Hardens enemies around you, freezing them solid. That provides just enough of a grace period for you to regain your feet, at which point it’s vital to quickly re-inhabit the abandoned Shell, as a single hit will kill the Foundling. Regain the Shell and you’ll have full health and stamina, but be more careful as being reduced to zero again means death.

Surviving in Fallgrim is a long way from thriving however, so you’ll need to gather Tar and Glimpses to unlock the abilities your Shell can bring to the battlefield. Both can be gathered from fallen enemies or from the environment, but the balance – at least in my experience – was a little out of whack at the start with not enough Glimpses dropping to allow me to spend my abundance of Tar. Gather up enough and seek out Sester Genessa, a mysterious figure who appears virtually everywhere you go and can grant you deeper access to your Shells.

Other vendors are willing to take your Tar in exchange for consumables, but it felt like I would be wasting a precious resource to use it that way. Enemy mobs will drop bits of rat and rotten food for you to eat to heal up and healing mushrooms spawn in the environment, making it hard to justify spending Tar outside of my Shell improvement plan.

What I Loved:

  • Great combat that kept expanding in strategy as I played
  • Stellar progression system
  • I felt wholeheartedly rooted in this creepy world, great atmosphere
  • Harden might be my new favourite skill
  • Wait, no – it’s the Parry/Riposte instakill and heal
  • Oh no, I know – it’s using the Lute to lure enemies away from their camp
  • Some great boss fights

What I Liked:

  • Some so-so boss fights, including that last one…
  • Good assortment of enemies, but could have had more variety
  • Every Shell has a unique set of abilities and suits a different playstyle
  • World layout was easy to pick up and navigate
  • Item ‘familiarity’ unlocks knowledge of items by using them
  • New Game + mode

What I Disliked:

  • Some cheap hits, like being attacked at the end of a cutscene
  • I’d kill for a ranged class
  • Some technical issues, but nothing major
  • Going to be super short if you’re super skilled (I’m not)

What I Hated:

  • Nothing

The Final Word:
An incredibly impressive first effort from Cold Symmetry and leaves me wondering what they’ll turn out next. One of my favourite games this year.

Mortal Shell is available now on PC (via the Epic Games Store), PS4, and Xbox One. Reviewed on Xbox One X using review code provided by the publisher.

‘Mortal Shell’ Gets Surprising Release Date

Mortal Shell, an action-RPG created by small developer Cold Symmetry, had an outstanding reception to its beta, with over 350,000 players taking part. How do you follow up on that?

How about dropping word on the game’s release date just two weeks before it hits shelves?

Mortal Shell will arrive on PC, PS4, and Xbox One on August 18th, just under two weeks from today. To commemorate the announcement there’s also a new trailer that introduces…a medieval bazooka?

I mean…sure. Weird flex, but ok.

Here’s the press release:


Flesh Becomes Armor on August 18 When Mortal Shell Releases Worldwide

“There won’t be any merriment around a bonfire here.”

London, UK – Wed. August 5, 2020 — Following the outstanding response to the Mortal Shell Beta, which was downloaded by more than 350,000 players in one week and surpassed more than 6 million views across Twitch and YouTube, developer Cold Symmetry and publisher Playstack are thrilled to announce that the dark action-RPG will be available in digital stores worldwide on August 18, 2020 for PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and Windows PC.

The game’s release date was revealed in an enthralling new trailer, which for the first time showcased Mortal Shell’s ranged weapon, the Ballistazooka. Capable of launching heavy iron bolts at devastating speed, the Ballistazooka is powerful enough to impale enemies and pin them onto nearby structures. The trailer also provides a new glimpse at more of the game’s fearsome adversaries, its stunning landscapes, and the mysterious fourth Shell, Solomon.

Mortal Shell,created by a small and passionate team of development veterans, will launch at $29.99 (€29.99 / £24.99) on the Epic Games Store, the PlayStation Store, and Xbox Games Store. The PC version comes to the Epic Games Store as a timed-exclusive. A Steam version will release later in 2021. 

Launching Mortal Shell worldwide is a dream come true,” said Cold Symmetry’s four co-founders – Andrew McLennan-Murray, Anton Gonzalez, Dmitry Parkin, and Vitaly Bulgarov – in a joint statement. “Our commitment to our fans is to create a soulslike game that is authentic, uncompromising and unrelenting. We were humbled by the popularity of the beta and we closely studied the feedback we received to create something that we are incredibly proud of.

Playstack chief executive Harvey Elliott added: “Mortal Shell is already achieving the kind of pre-release metrics that would turn heads at any publisher, be it indie or triple-A. I am delighted that Playstack has delivered a publishing and marketing campaign that ensures the game gains the exposure and response it truly deserves. More than anything I can’t wait for fans around the world to finally play it from August 18th.

Join the 80,000+ members on Mortal Shell’s Discord here. You can also follow the game on TwitterInstagramFacebook, and the official website


About Cold Symmetry
Cold Symmetry, founded in 2017 by a core team of four, is best known for its debut title Mortal Shell. The studio is composed of AAA veterans with a strong passion for making games of their own. Their distributed development model allows them to work with the brightest and most talented people in the industry around the world. www.coldsymmetry.com/.

About Playstack
Playstack was founded on the belief that even the greatest developers need support to be at their best. Its ethos is to discover and nurture the next generation of talent in the games industry. Playstack provides development partners the security and resources that allow them to play to their strengths as creative leaders, entrusting our experienced team to mastermind the marketing and publishing campaign. We support great ideas wherever they come from and we’re completely platform agnostic, from PC to console, mobile and more. www.Playstack.com.

Massive Demand Moves Mortal Shell to Open Beta

You have to hand it to the development team at Cold Symmetry, not only did they make a pretty killer Souls-style action-RPG using an incredibly small team, but they also listen to their fans. The overwhelming demand for access to the closed beta has made them open it up to everyone – grab it here on Epic Games Store now!

I’ve been playing the game for a couple days and it’s really everything they advertised and more. Give it a shot and see what you think.

Here’s the press release:


Due to overwhelming demand Cold Symmetry and Playstack open up the Beta for all fans

Mortal Shell is bringing the pain to everyone this weekend.

Saturday July 4th 2020, London. Earlier this week Mortal Shell, the highly-anticipated action-RPG created by a small indie-team of development veterans held a closed Beta for a lucky few to get some hands-on with a challenging demo featuring the outskirts of Fallgrim and the Abandoned Chamber.

However, due to popular demand the team has decided to open up the beta for all fans as of today.

Players will be able to head to the Epic Game Store RIGHT now to download the demo and start honing their skills for when Mortal Shell makes its official debut later this summer.

Join the Mortal Shell Discord community here. Follow Mortal Shell on TwitterFacebook, and Instagram.

Mortal Shell is scheduled for a Q3 release on PC, PS4 and Xbox One for $29.99 Visit www.MortalShell.com for more details.


About Cold Symmetry
Cold Symmetry, founded in 2017 by a core team of four, is best known for its debut title Mortal Shell. The studio is composed of AAA veterans with a strong passion for making games of their own. Their distributed development model allows them to work with the brightest and most talented people in the industry around the world. www.coldsymmetry.com/.

About Playstack
Playstack was founded on the belief that even the greatest developers need support to be at their best. Its ethos is to discover and nurture the next generation of talent in the games industry. Playstack provides development partners the security and resources that allow them to play to their strengths as creative leaders, entrusting our experienced team to mastermind the marketing and publishing campaign. We support great ideas wherever they come from and we’re completely platform agnostic, from PC to console, mobile and more. www.Playstack.com.

Mortal Shell Arrives This Fall on Epic Games Store, PS4, and Xbox One

Mortal Shell is an action-RPG from indie dev studio Cold Symmetry that I’ve heard compared to Dark Souls or Bloodborne a ton, but to me the moment to moment gameplay and world seems closer to the originator – Demon’s Souls, a game I imported from some small Asian country along with photography game Afrika so I could play them.

It’s not going to be until we get to go hands on with the game that we know which comparisons are the most apt, but that shouldn’t be long with a PC beta slated to run for a week starting on July 3rd.

Mortal Shell will be exclusive to the Epic Games Store (price at $29.99 / €29.99 / £24.99) for a year before hitting Steam, so if you don’t have an Epic Games Store account, now’s the time to get one – and really, with all the games they’ve given away for free there’s no excuse to not have one at this point. The game will also be hitting PS4 and Xbox One when it releases this fall.

The developers also released a new trailer, this time featuring Tiel, one of the game’s four playable shells. This shell seems to follow the classic rogue template, with high agility and the use of poisons to incapacitate foes.

Here’s the press release:


MORTAL SHELL announced as Epic Games Store timed PC-exclusive, as indie studio Cold Symmetry showcases another exhilarating trailer

Showstopping week capped off with huge game reveals on IGN, the PC Gaming Show, and Fextralife

Monday June 15, 2020, London. Mortal Shell, the highly-anticipated action-RPG created by a small indie-team of development veterans, capped off a week of gameplay reveals and key announcements with a huge double-bill across Saturday and Sunday, showcasing even more never-before-seen gameplay at the PCGaming Show and on a special livestream from the soulslike aficionados at Fextralife.

On Saturday at the PCGaming Show, it was announced that Mortal Shell would ship on the Epic Games Store this year as a timed PC-exclusive at $29.99 / €29.99 / £24.99, along with simultaneous console releases on PS4 and Xbox One. Pre-orders for the PC version are live now on the Epic Games Store. The game is also scheduled to ship on Steam in Q3 2021.

“The primary goals of our studio are to make Mortal Shell the best game it can be and to live another day and keep making awesome games in the future,” said the founders of Cold Symmetry in a joint statement. “Epic’s financial support, for a small studio like ours, was clearly going to help us achieve those goals so it was something we had to consider earnestly.”

Along with Mortal Shell’s platform and price announcements, the PCGaming Show also released an all-new gameplay trailer centered around one of the game’s four playable shells, Tiel, an envenomed and complex character whose innate agility and familiarity with poison makes him a highly dangerous individual.

Another huge highlight from the event was all-new Mortal Shell gameplay, which this time showcased the player facing off against Hadern, an elusive adversary whose motivations are unclear. At this early section in the game, the player has yet to possess a Shell with nothing to rely on aside from their instincts and skill with a sword. Here the game strips players to the basics with a pure test of swordplay: Movement, timing, anticipation, distance, and committing your blade. The battleground is abstract, open, laced in mist and free from distraction. There are no excuses.

Wrapping up a busy and content-filled week, on Sunday a finale of unique gameplay aired on the Fextralife Twitch channel to its huge community of battle-scarred soulslike aficionados. This video centered around Tiel and a never-before-seen weapon, the Martyr’s Blade.

This flurry of new content followed the game’s world-premiere on Wednesday, June 10 at the IGN Summer of Gaming event, where it was revealed that Mortal Shell’s Closed Beta would commence from July 3 and span one week (visit the Discord Server for details and to register).

Mortal Shell provides an uncompromising soulslike experience through a compact, single-player game. A first playthrough would likely last between 15 and 20 hours, although the game offers additional secrets and content to support and enrich multiple playthroughs.  

Painstakingly designed by a prized coalition of veteran developers who are credited with working on some of the biggest AAA titles on the market, Mortal Shell is an uncompromising, authentic, and hauntingly beautiful action-RPG built upon the ruthless traditions of the soulslike genre. 

Join the Mortal Shell Discord community here. Follow Mortal Shell on TwitterFacebook, and Instagram.

Mortal Shell is scheduled for a Q3 release on PC, PS4 and Xbox One, published by Playstack. Visit www.MortalShell.com for more details.


About Cold Symmetry
Cold Symmetry, founded in 2017 by a core team of four, is best known for its debut title Mortal Shell. The studio is composed of AAA veterans with a strong passion for making games of their own. Their distributed development model allows them to work with the brightest and most talented people in the industry around the world. www.coldsymmetry.com/.

About Playstack
Playstack was founded on the belief that even the greatest developers need support to be at their best. Its ethos is to discover and nurture the next generation of talent in the games industry. Playstack provides development partners the security and resources that allow them to play to their strengths as creative leaders, entrusting our experienced team to mastermind the marketing and publishing campaign. We support great ideas wherever they come from and we’re completely platform agnostic, from PC to console, mobile and more. www.Playstack.com.