Wednesday, 10 August 2016 00:00

HeartandSlash Review

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A better name would have been Art&Slash

Visually stunning in every way. There, I just described the game in one sentence. Heart&Slash is a third person “hack and slash” style game where you run around inside beautifully rendered rooms and destroy stuff. Come on, who wouldn’t like that? Now, when I say beautifully rendered, we’re not talking about astronomical polygon count here. This is gritty, grimy, and the equivalent of swimming inside an 8-bit video game cartridge, if only it could do 48 bits of color (aka 281.5 trillion colors).  Please, no drugs before starting this adventure (or…. maybe?) Let’s dig into the details, shall we?

For starters, there’s both a great storyline and a great tutorial in the beginning. Most people just click through these things to get past the text, and I’m definitely one of them. However, I not only found myself reading the boxes, but also enjoying them. The story explains what’s going on, but is also surprisingly funny.

Although WASD are your typical move buttons, there are also evade commands, jumps and double jumps, and some curious combat combos (say it three times fast… say it!) Moving around the rooms is fast paced. The camera movement sensitivity is cranked up all the way by default, and so was the CPI on my mouse from playing LoL just before. Once I toned both down, the movement was smoother, and no longer induced epileptic seizures. The camera motion and rendering of the room give this a comic-cinematic feel. What that means is, the camera moves as though it’s a Steadicam or a drone on crack, but because the world is so colorful and wild, it seems like they’d never go well together, but they really do.

Once you get into the swing of things (pun terribly, terribly intended) you find that there are various items in the world you can collect. I got some sparkly bracers, a sword, and a rubber duck suit of armor on my first attempt. Winning! Overall there are 135 separate items to unlock. Sure, this isn’t WoW where there are thousands, but it’s not meant to be. The list of unlocked items is found at the main menu in a cool arcade style, along with a list of the enemies you’ve unlocked/encountered so far out of the 93 total.

Each piece of gear you get can be upgraded by collecting bolts. These bolts fall out of enemies once you’ve wasted them. They magically fly out and enter your inventory as opposed to having to loot the corpse, which is great. In this type of game style, you wouldn’t have wanted to interrupt the action by stopping to steal. BORING. Once you have collected about ten bolts (there’s a nifty gauge at the top of the screen), you can select an item and then boost one of its stats like damage, range, etc., as you’d expect. The process is smooth and streamlined with logical menus, and not too many steps. Again, in this play style, you want to get back to the slashing as soon as you can.

The attention to detail is great.

Each item has a clever description. Each menu seems well thought out. The storyline works. The actual mechanics of each fight engagement seems smooth. The animations of the weapons when you hit the special attack button are cool and whimsical, but subtle enough that they don’t make your eyes roll.

I can’t stress enough about how important attention to detail is to any game. Even if your game is ridiculously simple, attention to detail is critical in making it a keeper. Even games who have had early successes in alpha or beta, eventually do add the missing details to polish the game off. However, Heart&Slash has gone above and beyond in the detail department. Props to the devs for putting together an excellent piece of well thought out work.


The Verdict

Recommended to anyone looking for a fun slashing game, or someone who’s willing to try something new. A piece of art that you can play, with fantastic music, storyline, and plenty of opportunities to make you chuckle, you'll want to play Heart&Slash time and time again, and that’s definitely worth a gold star in the game world. I can’t wait until they finish it up and add more levels. Heart&Slash is a solid 9 in my book and hope it will be in yours too.

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Most widely known for never suppressing his impulse control disorder, and his stubborn position on the jet fuel vs. steel beams argument, Dizzyjuice is your typical renaissance man. An avid photographer, chef, classically trained musician, meme addict, philanthropist, and IT geek, he spends most of his spare time watching hours upon hours of ‘related videos’ on YouTube, and then purchasing random things to try and recreate them. Most notably, however, is that he hates it when biographies don’t end the way you octopus.