by CJ Streetman

There’s a certain amount of respect I have to give Unworthy for the sheer level of shameless inspiration it clearly takes from the Dark Souls series. In most circumstances, the level of similarity between the two games would probably border on one ripping off the other, but Unworthy is a gem that we all need to be paying attention to.

To discuss the basics, Unworthy is a ruthless sidescrolling action game with emphasis on careful rolling, attacking, and blocking. On a mechanical level, Unworthy really takes advantage of the work of its predecessors, allowing Souls initiates to comfortably slip in to the way the game works, while its simple design would be easy to adjust to for newcomers. Your actions are essentially limited to move, roll, attack, and this simplicity lends itself well to the 2D format. It features some clever innovations on the Souls formula as well, such as only being able to block every once in a while based on a recharging meter.

The aesthetic of Unworthy is simply phenomenal. The entire game is represented in simple silhouettes that miraculously manage to always be easily recognizable and understandable. The color palette of drab blacks and grays, with the occasional splash of red blood, really hammers home the bleak world of the game, that here there is only a cycle of death and violence.

Finally, the boss battles, or battle, as I was only able to reach and defeat one boss, are suitably unforgiving, and do a wonderful job of slowly ramping up the difficulty. As the boss’ health drops, they slowly add more and more moves into their arsenal. Because of this, an easy fight against a giant skeleton that strictly took slow swings quickly evolves into a frantic balance of managing my stamina as I dodge swords, fire, and undead hands reaching from the ground.

Initially, the plan for this preview was going to be to address the content that already exists, and then predict what kind of content could and should be added in, but frankly, there’s terribly little to ask for that won’t obviously be added in the full game (i.e. saving), as the game even boasts features like controller support already. Other than those basics, all there is to want is more of the same. Unworthy is a title that I can easily see matching or even surpassing its inspiration. In a way that many games have tried and failed to, Unworthy makes abundant use of Souls concepts as a springboard, rather than a crutch for its own brilliant ideas.

More information on Unworthy can be found at its website,, where you can sign up for a newsletter and the chance to be in future beta and alpha tests. This preview is based on alpha build 1.1 of Unworthy.

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8.5 Good

This preview is based on the 1.1 alpha build of Unworthy.
More information, and the ability to subscribe for future alpha and beta tests, can be found at

  • 8.5

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