It’s hard to believe, but I had a childhood; it was forged in the furnace of legendary metal God like bands. Pantera, Machine Head, Sepultura and White Zombie were groups that not only appealed to me as a kid, but defined my very being. I made lifelong friends with other metalheads and spent many an hour gaming with them playing crazy length tournaments of Rock ‘n’ Roll Racing (oh man, the soundtrack) on the SNES and cheap lager fuelled sessions of Magic the Gathering.
Fast forward to Slain being announced on Kickstarter, by fellow metalhead Andrew Gilmour and consequently funding, colour me very interested. Glorious pixel art and kerranging track or two, what more could you want?
Being a proverbial metalhead, I love the use of heavy guitars, bass and drums in games and off the top of my head in recent years, the only game that’s came close to being anything like heavy was Splatterhouse on the PS3/360 – so I was very interested to see how Slain utilizes music, along with its 80s/90s album cover-esque styled beautiful aesthetics.
As you traverse the various detailed landscapes, facing hoardes of enemies, you’ll get used to dying. A lot. Combat consists of regular melee with block and parry, but also a magic system that allows you to cast regular and charged spells at your enemies. Block’s seemingly reduntant, it doesn’t really seem to do anything – with enemies still depleting a hefty old chunk of health as they hit. With health being oh-so-scarce, it soon becomes incredibly frustrating having to restart a segment over and over again. Thankfully there are checkpoints scattered throughout each segment, but sometimes it just seems like a few of them are just too long and it’s more luck, rather than skill, if you’ll reach the next one.
There are times of pure frustration, like when there are multiple spells or projectiles flying their way towards you and there being no real way to dodge, deflect or block all of them or how your health seems to be being continually whittled down piece by piece by what seems like cheap shots – Yeah, I’m looking at you, Mother of Beholders.
Slain is a very solid, yet run of the mill platformer. Its strong audio and incredible visuals are the initial pull to play this game, but the uneven enemy difficulty and simplistic combat system hurts the experience. I liked Slain, but I’m sad to say that I didn’t love it; however, I’m very interested to see what Wolf Brew Games release next.