Straight off the bat players are greeted by a handful of awkward looking field workers discussing an ominous event later in the evening, this later moves on to a woman sacrificing her first born baby son to some form of Steam punk God. Don’t worry; it’s not as bad as it sounds once the plot opens up a little.
Ok, But Who Are You?
The whole situation held no weight what so ever, absolutely no build up or character building beforehand for this event to mean something bar the literal shock. This reviewer will be honest; the character design in Smoke and Sacrifice is one of the most haunting things one has witnessed since re-dead’s in LoZ: Windwaker. The facial designs are based closely to lifelike portraits but are slightly warped and exaggerated making one feel like he’s walked into Salvador Dali’s scrapped ideas drawer.
Post sacrifice, our protagonist doesn’t seem to be that bothered about her son until it turns out he might be alive. 10 out of 10 for a believable parent team! Once Smoke and Sacrifice has made its attempt at building a desperate tale of motherly desperation and invasion, players get to partake in some actual gameplay.
Try and Survive the Survival Title…
As a survival game, Smoke and Sacrifice doesn’t offer much in the way of a combat experience. But that doesn’t account for the games massive overview on precision. Swinging for hits at enemies requires players to pre-empt a kind of lunge forward. This results in players flying past some enemies and missing.
Our protagonist has two health bars, one for general health and another for light. This bar degrades dependant on how long players are I’m Smokey areas for. It’s best to avoid these areas as much as possible due to some extra high level beasties come with it. Readers have been warned!
One Appreciates Depreciation
As our Protagonist goes about her daily struggles, gear degrades which requires repair. This is a usual feature in most survival games. The end result of this however is a viscous circle of degrading some items to collect other item necessary for repairing the original degraded items. It can be a real uphill struggle unless that’s one cup of tea.
Smoke and Sacrifice doesn’t really do a great job of quest giving either. Sure enough our Protagonist gets a bit of a to-do list together, but the whole experience is a glorified errand. Once said quest is all said and done players have to hope that directions will be given, another one of Smoke and Sacrifices strong points. The game gives very little player direction with no tools to properly navigate the in game world.
Cooking Mama (Too Soon?)
One of the games mechanics is cooking and potion making, which is all well and good until players have to get the necessary ingredients. By mid game one was required to go to all ends of the map for a certain dish; it was just a chore revisiting all these lands for an herb!
Bar the character design, one quite likes the steam punk aesthetic of Smoke and Sacrifice. The environments and monster skins have been hand drawn to quite a high standard. Frame rates seemed to behave themselves for the most part, even through Smokey areas which are normally a main culprit. Whilst the overall sound effects did their job the soundtrack didn’t really strike a chord, although it did set the mood it wasn’t memorable.
Graphics and Presentation: 2
Overall Score: 2/5
Smoke and Sacrifice is quite a disappointing and repetitive venture from start to finish. Whilst a light of hope laid within one heart for a sudden character and plot development to sweep one away, the credit started to role instead.
Formats: Nintendo Switch (Reviewed)
Publisher: Curve Digital
Developer: Solar Sail Games
Release Date: 31/05/2018
Age Rating: PEGI 12+
Review copy provided by publisher