Gaming Pascal's Wager is Dark Souls on a phone, but...

Pascal’s Wager is Dark Souls on a phone, but you’ll need a controller


Apple dedicated some of its important press conference phase time to a game called Pascal’s Wager back in September2019 The game was excellent, with its “console-quality” graphics and detailed battle engine.

It likewise looked a heck of a lot like Dark Souls Now that the last version is live on the App Shop, I can verify that, goddamn, this game is actually simply a clone of Dark Souls It’s outrageous.

Some evidence before we get going:

  • Pascal’s Wager is a third-person action-RPG
  • It’s set in a creepy, medieval setting
  • Every opponent is super harmful, and can kill you during any encounter if you’re not careful
  • The battle engine relies on handling stamina while alternating between light and heavy attacks
  • Light and heavy attacks are assigned to the triggers when played with a controller
  • You pick up unusual products with strange names and have no idea what they do. (e.g., Anthozoan Bones, Active Sendrils)
  • You need to approach altars spread throughout the map to save your video game and recover– and healing causes all of the opponents to respawn

And finally, my favorite:

  • There’s this talking egg that needs assistance

A talking egg from Pascal’s Wager

Image: TipsWorks/Giant Network Group

Shameless might in fact be an understatement.

All that said, Pascal’s Wager isn’t a bad game, as long as you have the appropriate setup. You’ll need a controller, for starters. Envision playing Dark Souls on a touch screen; there might be no purer form of hell. I attempted it, because I wondered, but it didn’t take long before I deserted this method for the obvious factors. It just doesn’t work effectively, especially with a game that requires a lot accuracy in timing and movement.

Mercifully, the iPhone and iPad now support PlayStation 4 and Xbox One controllers via Bluetooth, and the video game ends up being a lot more practical once you’re having fun with one. You’ll quickly feel right at home if you’re even somewhat familiar with the Souls video games, due to the fact that all the buttons are in the exact very same place!

All of the familiar vibes of a Dark Souls boss, like finding out attack patterns and preventing inconvenient death stomps, apply here.

The feeling of satisfaction was similar to taking out the Cleric Beast in Bloodborne for the very first time; so the game is at least successful at delivering some of what makes many of us fans of the Souls series. And delivering on that promise on an iOS device is kind of the whole point of Pascal’s Wager; I didn’t expect anything too blazingly original from this video game.

To be reasonable to Pascal’s Wager, it does try to branch off from the Souls model in a few crucial locations, for better or worse. Unlike the massive, sprawling, interconnected maps of Souls games, Pascal’s Wager is set throughout smaller, disconnected maps that divided the game into discrete “levels.” You’re still following the familiar loop of opening faster ways and trying to reach the next safe altar, however you won’t have the excitement of recognizing the dungeon you have actually been crawling in is directly listed below where the whole game began.

Another significant modification: After the very first area, I unlocked the ability to change in between characters. The beginning character, a Geralt-looking irritated Gus with dual swords, is joined by a masked man with a big, heavy casket that he swings around.

Changing between the 2 can happen at any time beyond battle and it does actually present an interesting level of range. In Souls video games I always discover myself locked into a particular play design based on how I have actually constructed my character. Here it’s a lot less restricting, and the various characters each work well versus various kinds of opponents.


A look at one of the characters you can switch to while playing Pascal’s Wager.

Switching between multiple characters is a great twist on the Dark Souls formula
Image: TipsWorks/Giant Network Group

But Pascal’s Wager stops working to provide the very same level of storytelling as the video games that inspired it. Dark Souls games have an incredibly intricate stories that are basically just meant through product descriptions and visual clues. Gamers need to be invested, and put the time in, to discover and comprehend what’s going on, and why.

Pascal’s Wager goes another method, with prolonged, horribly-acted cutscenes and dialogue trees that are best avoided. That loss of an expressive setting and obscured tradition makes the whole game feel much less intriguing.

However if you have the ability to neglect all of that and simply focus on the real gameplay, Pascal’s Wager does feel like playing Dark Souls on a phone. Presuming that’s even something you wish to do.

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