Stray Souls: A Comprehensive Review

Stray Souls, on the surface, appears to cater to the desires of horror enthusiasts. Its eerie ambiance, infernal creatures, a clandestine cult residing in a seemingly deserted town, and a main street perpetually enshrouded in fog set the stage for what could be a spine-tingling experience. It conspicuously draws inspiration from Konami’s renowned Silent Hill series, which has amassed a dedicated following of horror aficionados. However, despite its promising start, Stray Souls falls short in several aspects, leaving players craving for a more fulfilling horror experience.

Uncovering Aspen Falls

Stray Souls immerses players in the unassuming American town of Aspen Falls, concealing a sinister secret that progressively unravels throughout the game. The narrative centers on Daniel, who unexpectedly inherits a run-down home from a long-lost grandmother he never knew existed. As he acquaints himself with the enigmatic history of Aspen Falls, players delve into a world filled with mundane combat, extensive exposition, and townsfolk who inadvisably document their dark secrets.

A Promising Start

Stray Souls commences with a captivating and gruesome opening sequence, setting the stage for the macabre journey that awaits. The initial moments promise an engaging experience, effectively capturing the essence of a horror game. However, this brief spark of brilliance soon fades amidst a plethora of shortcomings.

Character Development and Interaction

The character of Daniel initially garners some empathy from players. However, his reactions to the horrors he encounters throughout the game often appear unconvincing and detached from the situation. This inconsistency in his character portrayal makes it challenging for players to connect with him and understand his choices. For example, when faced with a dire situation and a neighbor, Martha, revealing a firearm for protection, Daniel’s reaction seems disproportionate. He transforms from an individual who claims never to have held a gun into a fearless combatant in a matter of seconds, uttering cringe-inducing one-liners. This abrupt transformation in character undermines the immersion and believability of the narrative.

Martha’s character, too, falls short of providing a compelling companion. Her relationship with Daniel quickly devolves into banter and humor, undermining the depth of character development. The authenticity of their interactions is questionable, leaving players perplexed about their motivations and actions. Martha’s inconsistent presence, mysteriously engaging in conversations despite her physical absence, further adds to the game’s overall lack of coherence.

Inspiration from Silent Hill

Stray Souls overtly pays homage to the Silent Hill series, evident in its visual and auditory elements. The eerie and melancholic score, composed by Akira Yamaoka, evokes a sense of dread and anticipation when encounters with malevolent entities are imminent. However, while Stray Souls successfully emulates the atmosphere of Silent Hill, it falls short in other crucial aspects.

The combat in Stray Souls lacks precision and fluidity, hindering the overall gameplay experience. The protagonist’s erratic aim while aiming down sights makes it unnecessarily challenging to hit oncoming adversaries. Although the creatures themselves exhibit impressive designs, they often feel disconnected from the game’s overarching narrative. In contrast, Silent Hill’s enemies are usually intricately tied to the series’ thematic elements, adding depth to the horror experience.

Gameplay Mechanics and Shortcomings

One notable absence in Stray Souls is an inventory system, depriving players of the ability to revisit notes and clues they’ve collected or carry additional health items. While the absence of an inventory system may be inconsequential in the face of the game’s sluggish combat, it becomes a glaring issue during intense boss battles. These encounters can become exceedingly frustrating when health items are scarce, forcing players to navigate treacherous areas with minimal health and no means of healing.

Enemy AI in Stray Souls is particularly deficient. Adversaries often struggle to navigate doorways and, when pursued too far from their initial positions, inexplicably self-destruct. This lack of AI competence diminishes the challenge and immersion of the game.

Inconsequential Dialogue Choices

The inclusion of dialogue choices in Stray Souls is a promising concept, yet their impact on the overall narrative remains uncertain. These choices appear to have minimal influence on the progression of the story, leaving players wondering about their significance. For instance, during a pivotal conversation with Martha, Daniel can respond to revelations in one of two equally inconsequential ways, as Martha’s subsequent dialogue is unaffected by the player’s choice.

Notably, the final dialogue choice appears to be the only one with any tangible impact, ultimately determining one of three underwhelming endings. The game’s story, regardless of the chosen dialogue options, lacks coherence and a satisfactory resolution, leaving players with numerous unanswered questions.

Gameplay Performance

One of Stray Souls’ most significant drawbacks is its performance, particularly on the PS5 platform. The game is plagued by a plethora of bugs and glitches that disrupt the gameplay experience. These issues range from minor inconveniences, such as enemies spawning in inaccessible locations, to major problems, like the inability to target the first boss. The absence of essential quality-of-life features, including the ability to reassign controls or adjust subtitles, adds to the game’s overall frustration.

Missed Potential

Stray Souls occasionally displays glimpses of its unfulfilled potential. A hidden note found in an alleyway, for example, provides an eerie secret message that requires keen observation to decipher. This serves as a testament to what Stray Souls could have achieved with more attention to detail and consistency. However, the overall experience is a crushing disappointment, lacking the elements that make a horror game truly engaging and terrifying.


In conclusion, Stray Souls, while initially promising, falls short of delivering a satisfying horror experience. Despite its apparent homage to the Silent Hill series, the game’s combat mechanics, character development, and overall narrative coherence leave much to be desired. The absence of essential gameplay features, along with a litany of performance issues, further hinders the player’s enjoyment. Although Stray Souls showcases moments of potential, they are overshadowed by its numerous shortcomings, resulting in a horror game that fails to captivate and terrify.

Author Profile

Ali Armian
Video Producer

Ali has interviewed many stars on the red carpet and does alot of video production too for all the big media brands. Output also includes MarkMeets on Youtube.


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