Reviews

Slain: Back from Hell review – Raining Blood

Yes, Reggie Reviews also does 'Slayer' puns! Stageclear Studios had some initial bad luck with the original launch of Slain following its Kickstarter success. So much so that Stageclear went back to the drawing board and re-released the title in the form of ‘Slain: Back from Hell’, quite the apt title in this reviewers’ opinion. Now free of the bugs and glitches that plagued the initial release, the physical release of Slain: Back from Hell has surfaced and is published by the lovely bunch over at Head Up Games.

‘Slain: Back from Hell’ will ring some familiar bells for ‘Souls’ series fans, expect to die often and hone your movement and attack timings through unforgiving platforming levels. This Castlevania style challenge is alleviated somewhat with unlimited lives and mostly fair checkpoints positioned throughout the game. Said checkpoints also replenish Health and Magica which is more than appreciated during any play through.

No Soft Rock Here…

It’s safe to say that the difficulty curve is more of a high strung incline from the outset, which only drove this reviewer to ‘Git Gud’. That being said, an additional ‘Soft Rock’ mode would have been just super for drop in and drop out gameplay.

Slains control scheme is a simple and effective one with 3 face buttons controlling the protagonists’ sword swings, blocks and jumps and the 2 shoulder buttons are in charge of back-dodging and spell casting. Combinations of the shoulder and face buttons can result in different effects and different moves all together, one loves a good experiment! For all the control layout is worth, this reviewer did notice a slight millisecond delay in button press latency. Whilst this can be mostly predicted due to the pacing of the game, it would have been nice to see the control mechanics fined tuned just a bit more.

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An Angel of Death?

The soundtrack is an ode to Sabbath, Slayer and whiskey drinking background metal, with a solid wall of distortion and chug throughout the game. Sound effects such as the essential blood splatter, metal clashes and enemy reactions are slightly peaked to take players on a whirlwind a distorted nostalgia back to Castlevania and Arcade sound bites.

Graphic effects such as blood splatter have been rendered in standard 3D which one respects. Slain: Back from Hell is busy enough with hand drawn pixel textures and character models to have more visual distortion added to the mix. That’s not to say that the presentation of Slain is crowded by any means, both the Level design and textures along with the character models have all been lovingly created in maximum effort pixel detail. This really adds to Slains street credibility, especially being presented to a smooth 60 frames per second throughout.

The physical edition of Slain: Back from Hell seems to sport faster loading times than the digital offering by a couple of second here and there with is always a good thing.

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Verdict:

Graphics and Presentation: 4

Sound: 4

Gameplay: 3.5

Overall Score: 3.9 / 5.0

Slain: Back from Hell is a satisfying Platformer once players get their heads around the ‘Die and try again’ mechanic and the slight button latency. Given that these points could have been buffed with a lighter difficulty mode and a tune up respectively, it’s a bit disappointing seeing the potential in a title that has so much on display. Still, Slain: Back from Hell is worth every penny, it just isn’t a walk in a blood soaked park kind of platformer.

 

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