Title: Slain!

Platform: Windows, Steam, Mac, Linux

PS4, PSVita, Xbox One, Wii U (Planned)

Reviewed on: Windows

Genre: Action, Platformer

Players: Single player



Written by Whistler 9th April 2016

















Sometimes it’s just too good to be true, more than you bargained and sometimes great potential doesn’t equal great results. The all too harsh reality speaks for itself with Wolfbrew Games’ side scrolling castlevania-esque indie maiden launch title Slain!. But is Slain just being weighted down by some fixable issues or will it sink before it gets the chance?


Honestly I wasn’t even sure where to begin with Slain!, what’s obvious is it’s a modern adaption of old school action titles like Castlevania with modern sensibilities and aesthetics. However trying to pinpoint exactly where and why Slain! falls short is like trying to find a needle in a stack of needles, where it’s strength clearly lies is in its visuals that are at least mechanically solid. Even here though something just didn’t quite sit right with me, the backdrops are incredibly detailed and full of life but the sprites are an absolute eyesore. Everything blends into so much noise that barely any of the detail gets a chance to stand out. The effort put into the backgrounds is great but it just doesn’t seem to translate well in motion and the effects are vivid but it’s hardly compensation for the visual chaos while playing.


























The story’s simple enough, you take the role of long since laid to rest warrior Bathoryn who is begrudgingly reawoken to purge the evil that has descended upon the lands. It’s nothing to write home about and shouldn’t affect the overall experience, but the laughably abysmal dialogue drained bucket’s worth of enthusiasm with the jarring use of acronyms that clash with the gothic themes. What little enthusiasm I had left was bled dry with Slain!’s greatest foul, it’s gameplay.


Slain! attempts to replicate gameplay akin to late 80’s and 90’s action platformers, but forgets the subtle intricacies and turns up shallow.

At your disposal is a basic three hit combo, a  projectile spell, and a screen wiping bomb at the cost of your mana bar. After the first level you can swap between 3 weapon types on the fly with each excelling against certain enemy types. There’s also a backstep dodge but honestly it feels so clunky and rarely helps that I found jumping away more efficient and it barely matters against the menagerie of other issues.


Despite it’s simplicity the combat should function fine, instead it’s cheap, frustratingly dull and utterly un-impactful. Both attacking and taking damage lack the proper feel, feeling almost weightlessness. It’s a repetitious slog as you slice away at bullet sponge enemies and when the game throws hordes of skeletons or witches your way it devolves into a mind numbing war of attrition. Too quickly does playing how Slain! wants you to play turn dull as you mindlessly mash that’s further confounded with the borderline abysmal state of the Xbox One controls and the even worse off keyboard controls.


























Slain! lacks polish left, right and centre, it simply fails to deliver in any field other than arguably visuals. Perhaps the promise to further patch and fix what can be repaired will allow Slain! to recover from this massive set back. However with issues foundation deep it’s difficult to envision the developer’s intended vision without a major overhaul.



Pros:

Detailed pixel art,

Solid soundtrack.                  


Cons:

Abysmal controls,

Monotonous combat,

Gameplay lacks impact,

Jarring dialogue,

Buggy.

 

Final verdict,

Slain! Falls woefully short with a 3/10.

 

Written by,

Whistler


 

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