Soulmask Preview – Co-Op Survival Sandbox RPG


In this article, we are going to be taking a look at Soulmask, a new upcoming Survival Sandbox game with a huge focus on tribal survival, featuring an intricate “tribe” systems that separates the game from other titles in the same genre. In Soulmask you will control members of a tribe, catering to each of their needs, jumping between them as necessary, adding variety and depth to a familiar formula.

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Soulmask Hands-On Gameplay Impressions 

Name: Soulmask 

Platforms: PC

Developer: CampFire Studio

Publisher: Qooland Games

Release Date: Open Beta for May 1st 2024, Early Access for June 18th, 2024

Genre: Co-Op Survival Sandbox

Soul Mask is a Tribal Survival Sandbox game with multiplayer servers of up to 70 people, blending lively tribesman gameplay, unique mask abilities and authentic combat into the traditional survival genre. Soulmask is being developed by CampFire Studio and published by Qooland Games. The game goes into Early Access on Steam on June 18th, where you can play the game before its full release. But there is also an Open Beta available to anyone running until May 15th, which anyone can participate in.

Story & Setting

In this fantasy game set in a world where Ancient, Primitive, and Sci-Fi civilizations merge, you begin your journey narrowly escaping a deadly sacrificial ritual. You find an ancient mystical mask upon escaping, holding potent knowledge changing the world you knew. Armed with this mask, you navigate the brutal elements of nature, gather followers, and establish your own tribe.

As you explore diverse environments, you unravel the mysteries of the mask and its origins. As you progress further into the game, you will feel the setting change as you begin to move from an Ancient Civilisation to a Primitive one, and eventually a Sci-Fi civilisation.

Gameplay of Soulmask

Core Gameplay

Soulmask has a core gameplay featuring tons of complex RPG systems that will take time to learn, as well as survival aspects that you can discover as you play the game. You get the basic stats like a health bar and a stamina bar on the bottom of your screen, and in the middle, you have your survival stats showing your mask energy, morale, weight, satiety and hydration. As you explore the world, you can set up campfire bases to rest and get your morale up, as well as find various barbarian camps to fight and recruit people into your tribe. Throughout the map you can find different tribe encampments and their tribe leaders to gain special rewards in order to fight the big bosses of the games located at the Inca-like pyramids in each of the 5 biomes. The goal is to fully explore the world, advancing from primitive weapons to eventually reach the steel age, defeating bosses and exploring the world to do so. But you can still find a lot of entertainment within the build system in the game for creating your base, and on top of that you have the various build customization options that you can tinker with to make the strongest tribe. To start, let’s go over the Masks and Tribes.

Soulmask Mask System & Tribes

In the game you start off with a choice of 3 different masks, with the remaining 7 to be unlocked through exploration within the game. Each mask has a different focus, with passive abilities acquired throughout the game and active Mimicry Abilities which almost act like a class ability for your character. For example, in the demo you could choose the Rich mask, which is a hunter-like playstyle that has passive skills boosting your bow and arrow capabilities and giving you hunter perception not unlike Geralt’s Witcher senses that can be used to find and hunt animals. A more assassin-like playstyle would be the Shadow Walker mask, which gets you the Mimicry Skill to go invisible, which can be used out of combat to get stealth kills or even in combat to instantly disengage from a fight. There are a ton of other masks to choose from such as one focused on bows and projectiles, one giving heavy defence crystal armour, or one completely reflecting all damage for a period of time. There’s a lot of build potential when you pair this with how the Tribe system works, and the various character stats of every single tribe member.

To get tribe members, you upgrade your mask with a Control module found in the first couple of basic quest steps, and bring down a Barbarian’s HP to <10% to sync your consciousness with them. Once they are in your tribe, you can make them do your work, deploy them in battle, or even control them with the full capabilities of the character you made. Every single tribe member will have their own random characteristics, including Stat Allocations, Skills, Talents and Proficiencies. In this sense, there’s not really any main character since you can control anyone in your tribe and get a full character. They all have random allocations to the 5 stat distributions, Perception, Physique, Strength, Endurance and Agility. Perception, Strength and Agility mainly determine damage with the 8 weapons of the game, namely with Spears, Swords, Shields, Bows, Dual Swords, Gauntlets, Greatswords and Hammers. Physique will give more resilience and HP, and Endurance will give stamina and stamina recovery. 

Innate Talents determine what kind of person the tribesman is; whether they are a warrior, hunter, craftsman, or even someone quirky like a lazy alcoholic. My best character was a Spear and Shield user who is stubborn and obsessed with guarding, and thus couldn’t really use any other weapon effectively. However, she was raised in a company of guards making her great with Spears and Shields, and she is a battle-tested warrior that takes 50% less damage when fighting as a companion. She also has a bunch of broken skills that I got by chance which made her an absolute monster, like drinking blood spilled from enemies to regain HP, being an expert at skull destruction, getting up to 5 stacks of extra crit and movement speed from the thrill of slaughtering enemies, and her bloodthirsty tendencies which can make her deal massive extra damage in exchange for less defence.

Another character I had which I used for the boss was an expert hunter, too brutish to efficiently craft materials, but in exchange was also a battle-hardened expert with unique Hunter Exclusive abilities that he could use. He also had purple talents which are more “neutral”, such as liking some mild cold and enjoying snowy weather.

Characters can also have negative traits which make them quirky, such as people who suck at crafting, get moody when they wake up, are obsessed with fighting only with fists, and many more. All of these traits go hand in hand in making the build for your character, as choosing the right weapons and play styles will not only make your damage higher, but also level the proficiencies for weapons faster based on those innate talents. 

Moving on to proficiencies, these are pretty straightforward; you get better at production by frequently mining, weaving, harvesting etc. and can get bonuses every 30 levels to increase your speed, output, and more. For weapons, every 30 proficiency levels you unlock a random Mastery Skill which can be used in combat for an extra edge. There are around 67 different mastery skills, so even if some skills feel a bit lacklustre, you get many other chances for better skills.

So all in all, in terms of build potential, there is quite a lot when you bunch together the unique Mask abilities with randomly generated innate talents, stat distributions, proficiencies and skills. Later on, you can even get into modding weapons and armour with special imbued characteristics once you advance a bit technologically. 

Crafting & Exploration

The survival part of Soulmask is kind of like Rust, in that you can do alot of building and crafting within an open world environment, and need to supply your character with basic needs like water or food. You find various resources in the map to start your journey, mainly through Mining, Harvesting and Logging. Once you make that first Campfire, there are tons of possibilities and rabbit holes to go down in order to acquire useful items or belongings.

The crux of this system is the Knowledge and Technology tree, where you can learn how to craft various workbenches, items, weapons, armour and more. It also comes with a very useful formula search tool to let you go into these rabbit holes.

For example, if you want a mount, you search for something like a saddle in the tree. You find the saddle crafted with leather rope and other materials, and you go out to get them using various other workbenches and basic foraging materials. There were also many other things I wasn’t able to get to, such as taming monkeys to get fruits for you, setting up beehives for honey, adopting a parrot, or brewing potions. 

There’s definitely a ton to unpack, and when I started this game, the lack of any in depth tutorial really put me off from how complex everything seemed to be. Once I broke through the initial phase of dying a million times to the first raid boss, the game opened up and I went down tons of rabbit holes and recruited a bunch of tribe members to speed up the process of gathering, crafting and reaching new advancements. 

Audio & Visuals

Visuals & Performance

Performance wise, I ran into some frame drops throughout the game, but no crashes or bugs. At the absolute highest settings on 1440p, I had around 100 FPS using GeForce RTX 3090 GPU, Ryzen 9 5950X CPU and 32GB of RAM. On medium settings, that jumps up to about 150 FPS, and on the lowest setting 200. However, the low setting has some bugs that glitch the screen, so I wouldn’t recommend it.

Audio & SFX

In terms of audio, the soundtrack for this game is suitably relaxing and tribe-esque, fitting the overall mood of a survival game. For sound effects, nothing stood out in particular but nothing offended either. 

Final Thoughts

Soulmask is unique in many ways within the survival genre, with an interesting theme of Masks and an incan-like setting paired with in depth tribal gameplay and customisation. The variety of biomes, progression in your civilization and the multiplayer aspect on top of that make for a fleshed out survival experience. There is obviously still some room for improvement in terms of the combat and the overall flow of it with the animations, but these are issues that can be fixed down the line once the Early Access is released. 

As mentioned earlier Soulmask goes into Early Access on PC via Steam on June 18th, for those that want to check it out, and don’t forget about the Open Beta running until May 15th! If you like the look of it, or maybe have some friends that you could play with after the Enshrouded release, you should definitely consider it.


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