Somewhere buried deep in the subconscious at the crossroads of imagination and lunacy lies the concept behind Destroy Command Studios’ new title, AcidSoul. The self-proclaimed “action adventure air hockey game” offers a bizarre mixture of RPG storytelling and over-the-top anime violence. Despite looking like something conjured up during a cough syrup induced fever dream, the project is oddly compelling.
The game’s Kickstarter campaign has been a bit underwhelming thus far, barely scraping the surface of its $10,129 funding goal. Ordinarily I’d chalk this up to the usual crowdfunding lull that surrounds the holidays. In the case of AcidSoul however, the explanation seems simpler. Potential backers have no idea what they are looking at.
Even with a demo readily available it’s difficult to pin down the sort of masochists who could look beyond the seemingly banal air hockey premise and appreciate the host of special features and game modes on offer.
The narrative follows our unfortunate protagonist. An otherworldly entity has selected them as Earth’s champion to battle for the fate of mankind. All despite their lack of heroic credentials or inclinations. This ultimate battle somehow involves traipsing through multiple post-apocalyptic dimensions to participate in perversely crooked games of air hockey. Don’t worry, this isn’t your grandpa’s Shufflepuck Café.
Paddles of Death
Every enemy you face has their own skills and abilities to help them steal victory. Seriously, some of the powers are outright cheating. If you somehow manage to overcome these game breaking special powers the defeated characters are added to your playable character lineup. This unlocks not only their abilities, but also their playable stories. If you fail, then your character will probably wind up dead because AcidSoul doesn’t play around when it comes to gratuitous explosions and violence. Or, it does. Whichever one equates to chest bursting finishing moves.
Gameplay is fast-paced and twitchy, set against synthwave beats. Combined with the 80’s style animated graphics, the adventure feels bizarre and otherworldly, but still manages to keep at least one toe out of the “ZOMG SO RANDOM” zone that makes similar ridiculous setups begin to feel exhausting.
AcidSoul is unexpectedly unusual in all the ways that should make it stand out on Kickstarter. If only backers could embrace their inner need for wanton air hockey destruction.