Beauty is really only skin deep.
When I originally saw the trailer for Slain! I was excited. I had never heard of it before, but seeing it for the first time reminded me of old school Castlevania, with its gothic look and amazingly detailed pixel art. I really wanted to give it a shot. Now that I have, I’m highly disappointed. While it does look fantastic in its animations and art design, that is about as far as it goes in the “good” category.
Players take control of Bathoryn, a recently resurrected warrior who must battle his way through a horrible land in order to stop an evil being who has taken over multiple areas of the land. With his trusty sword and a few magic attacks up his non-existent sleeve, Bathoryn traverses the horrorscape, chopping down every undead enemy in his path.
Price I’d pay: I wouldn’t buy it.
At least, that’s what the game suggests players do. Instead, I ended up hitting X on the 360 controller to swing, chop, and stab my sword in order to stun-lock all the enemies that stood in my way, never really using any magic fireballs or bombs, because they were not the safest or efficient way to kill enemies.
I was able to stun-lock the enemies as much as they were me. The hit detection is off by a quarter mile it seems. So, just randomly mashing on the attack button would guarantee my character would hit an enemy, who also takes far too many hits to kill. Standard minion enemies should not take upwards to four hits to kill. It slows down the pace of the game and in this instance makes the combat monotonous and boring.
The levels themselves, while having multiple checkpoints, last far too long in many instances. Even then, the checkpoints are sometimes spread so far apart, that having to redo multiple platforming sections just because a random trap caught me for an instant kill really grinding on my nerves after a while. Then, after it’s all said and done, the trap that killed me is now inconsequential. It feels like a trial and error type game, and not a very good one.
The game really just feels unfinished. There are multiple bugs present in the current release. Small things like progression dialog boxes by hitting “A” and Bathoryn still jumps like the game wasn’t programmed fully to stop control of characters during cutscenes, and things like that really make it feel incomplete. Oh, and the sound. Where is it? I can faintly hear some sound effects coming from my headset, but either it is far too muffled or the actually very well done heavy metal soundtrack is drowning it out. In a game like this, players really need sound effects to fully grasp the game play especially when it’s broken like this.
As I said before, the game really does look gorgeous. The 2D pixel art really pops with the colors and overall look of the environments. I can tell where most of the development time went. There are some really great looking models and animations here in Slain! Too bad the game is a chore to play.
Slain! has the looks of a classic 8-bit inspired game, but in execution, it is a mess and a half. I really think the game is not finished. While beautiful in its own right, the game play is not there. Add on some bugs, horrible sound choices, and some uninspired combat and you have yourself a game that you will play for 30 minutes and never go back to. I don’t suggest this game to anyone in its current state and I doubt it will be completely fixed.
Review copy of game provided by publisher.