Smoke and Sacrifice Hands-on Preview – Pugbears and Pollution

I got the chance to play Smoke and Sacrifice, a story-driven open-world RPG, at this year’s Game Developers Conference.

The game is set in a world where exploiting a living ecosystem is the key to survival. The player assumes the role of Sachi, a mother living in a small farming town illuminated by the strange, mechanical Sun Tree.

This mysterious technology keeps out the encroaching elements of the icy wasteland outside, but requires a child sacrifice–and, unfortunately, that child is Sachi’s this time around.

For reasons unknown to her, the Sun Tree begins to falter shortly after sacrificing her child, and Sachi realizes that the altar she placed her son on wasn’t an altar at all, but a teleporter. Transporting herself, she discovers a bizarre, perilous world filled with odd creatures, and threatened daily by a mysterious, poisonous gas.

Getting a hands-on with the game, I was able to check out the gameplay, as well as some of the crafting mechanics. Smoke and Sacrifice is very reminiscent of a game like Don’t Starve, but without some of the ‘survival’ elements, such as hunger and thirst. Instead, you’ve got to avoid dangerous fauna, as well as keep close tabs on your health and the in-game clock.

At a certain point during the day, the mysterious underworld is covered in a thick, noxious smoke, which will slowly deplete your health as you remain inside it. Thankfully, you can craft several items to keep it at bay, as well as huddle around certain glowing plants until it subsides.

The developers expressed to me their desire to make a gripping, personal story about motherhood and survival to compliment the gameplay.

Whereas most similar games have simply staying alive as their main goal, Smoke and Sacrifice has several driving forces. Sachi wants to find her son, but the player also wants to unravel the mystery of just what the hell is going on behind the scenes in this strange, smog-covered world.

The hand-painted gothic visuals really set this game apart, and were what initially got me excited to try it out. The environments are gorgeous, and the creature designs are pretty unique. The crafting also seems pretty robust, and I’m excited to sink my teeth into it when it releases.

In the short time I got to spend with the game, I had crafted a bug net, a lantern, a club, and several other things to aid in my survival. If the trailer is any indicator, there will also be plenty of cool steampunky armor and weaponry in the later stages of the game.

Smoke and Sacrifice is launching at some point in 2018 for PS4, Xbox One, Nintendo Switch, and PC. We’ll post an additional article when we’ve got more information about the release date.

Cody Long

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I draw weenies for a living. Also, I write reviews and articles sometimes!