For those who might not have known but a lot of people are picking up the new Nintendo Switch system by the droves. The system has been out for a little more than a year and its sales are more than the Wii Us lifetime sales. I know I might have talked about the Switch a lot and might have mentioned this tidbit of info once or twice but I can’t help it. It’s an amazing system and I think everyone should own one. Now that I am done gushing over Nintendo’s best system to date let’s move forward, shall we?
In the Nintendo arsenal, there are indie title games that are appropriately named “Nindies”. They’re like indies but with an N. The Nindie titles get updated pretty frequently, I check once a week myself to see what new titles might be around. I found this one very interesting title that I think a lot of people will enjoy. It has a Castlevania/Metroid/Mario kind of vibe to it. It’s pretty dark in tone and has a lot of Heavy Metal riffs in it. I LOVE THIS GAME! If you like any of the titles I mentioned and heavy metal this game is for you and it should be put on your radar.
The Slain Story
The story of the game is pretty straightforward, for the most part. You are Bathoryn, a warrior who is trying to just rest peacefully in the afterlife from giving his all in combat. Your slumber is rudely interrupted by a spirit who has informed you that you need to free six cursed realms from deadly overlords. Of course, you are not a happy camper and would rather go back to bed. The spirit rips the covers off of you, by bringing you back to life against your will, and your epic journey to save the realms you don’t care about begins! It’s an interesting concept that is overplayed but at the same time kind of works here, the unwilling hero who wants to be left alone but is forced to do the right thing so he can get what he really wants. Peace and quiet. The Gothic atmosphere is rendered pretty well and the character sprite of Bathoryn looks like he is ripped right from a pixelated biker gang. It’s great. As far as the main story goes, that’s pretty much it. You keep progressing forward through the game beating enemy after enemy saving the six realms.
The Game Itself
The game takes us back to the roots of a lot of gamers childhoods by re-visiting the 8-bit Nintendo days. Interesting enough, this game is an updated version, the original was just named Slain! It was a Kickstarter campaign from wolf brew games that launched back in March 2016. When the title released it did not meet a lot of the expectations of what the original Kickstarter showed, to the upset of the backers. The update took place a couple of months down the line and vastly improved upon the game, so it was renamed Slain: Back From Hell.
Graphically speaking the game looks like a heavy metal fanatics dream world. It’s dark, it’s gritty and pixelated! (Wait, how’s that supposed to be a part of a metal heads dream world?). The pixelation is not overly saturated though, as in being so pixelated you can’t tell the difference between a foot and a hand, it all blends nicely together. You can see the current graphic capabilities of pixelation go to work when you kill enemies. The animation is top-notch and pretty colorful for a lot of enemies’ death sequences. I did mention it had some heavy metal music in it, didn’t I? The game has enough heavy guitar licks to keep your blood pumping until the next Slayer show. I’m a metal head myself, that’s what drew me in to check out the game in the first place. The music is pretty atmospheric and when everything revs up to 100 it switches to the heavier side. The music you hear throughout the game is recorded by Curt Victor Bryant (formally of Celtic Frost). So, for my fellow metalheads who love playing old style 80s/90s games, you will enjoy this one.
The Look And Feel Of The Game
As I mentioned up above, the game has really good art direction. Yes, again the pixelation draws from older games but that is what the bigger draw is. The backgrounds are one of my favorite things (other than the music). The background is so beautiful, your eyes will well up with tears as you gaze at the glory that is Slain…ok, that might be a bit over the top, but you get the point. The environment really holds its own throughout your playthrough, although it is a dark a bleak looking game there is a lot of color behind it as well. Within the fog, the little shacks you come across, dungeons and the main maps you will see color everywhere.
The actual mechanics of the game are pretty good. The game overall is pretty difficult though, so if you’re looking for a stroll in the park kick your shoes off and relax type of game, keep on walking by. This game can be really brutal at times, you will see the same Slain screen over and over and over again until you just scream and somehow beat the boss on your 13th try. Not like that happened to me or anything. You swing your sword at the baddies until they die and keep moving forward until you reach the big bad of each of the levels. Pretty standard stuff for a platformer. Going on a murder rampage you can also pick up elemental weapons to help you fight your way through all the skeletons you will face. Alongside your weapons you have mana attacks as well, you can throw mana blasts at enemies or you can use all of it in one giant attack to kill multiple enemies at once. That is usually the best thing to do when you’re down to your last blip of health, it’s like the all or nothing attack really. Other than that you also have your standard guard and a handy dodge move that lets you get away from attacking enemies fairly quickly.
I picked up my version of Slain: Back From Hell on my Switch but there are other ports for the Xbox and PlayStation that are out there. If you like the old side-scrollers and their difficulty, this game is a no-brainer. It’s about a $20 purchase and you will get about 6 hours out of it. The replayability is pretty low in my opinion though, for something that is asking for such a higher price I would expect it to be more favorable in that area.
For the new segment of Nindie Reviews, All4Gamerz gives Slain: Back From Hell – 7.5/10
If you enjoyed the article please leave a comment below, I’d love to know what you think. Do you have the game, do you plan on picking it up, do you not care and want to talk about something else?! Let me know, looking forward to hearing from you all.