This is a review coupled with a supplemental video review. You can watch the video review above, or read the full review of the game below.
Heart & Slash
Publisher: BadLand Indie
Platform: PC, PlayStation 4, Xbox One
Release Date: June 24, 2016(Xbox One) June 28, 2016(Playstation 4) Steam Early Access(PC)
MSRP: $19.99 Playstation 4(Review Copy Received) and Xbox One, $24.99 PC
Roguelike games provide me with something I can not find in any other genera. Roguelikes are great because they manage to give you a consistent sense of dread while continuously giving you a sense of accomplishment that brings many a lot of joy.
However, Heart & Slash is not the typical roguelike and its going to make you want to pick up this title if you are intimidated by the hard resets of games in this genre.
Heart & Slash is hyper-stylized with crisp graphics and a colorful pallet. While the game uses a system of 3-D pixels to define its art, the movements and motions of the characters is so fluid and crisp, that everything in the world just pops to life. Many will be reminded of the Mega Man Legends series when it comes to art direction in this game, as if this is the next evolution of that game series.
Now while the game looks simply amazing, there are some issues with the way the camera works with this game, and inexperienced players will find themselves in quite the predicament (read: blown to bits) if they can’t adapt to the at times unruly camera.
This became even more of an issue when you are moving at break neck speed around a map, because as soon as you get near a wall, the camera is going to bounce off it as if it is a physical item.
This is less of an issue when you get to later stages of the game as they tend to be a lot more open, but at the start, you will be navigating small facility rooms that will have you thumbing the camera ever five seconds to get the optimal view.
The sheer number of weapons, items, and enemies in this game is amazing, making for a unique experience every time you play through the game. With a handy unlock menu allowing you to see just how much of the game you have seen. I find myself looking at all the different variants I encountered after every playthough to see if I missed anything in the fast paced combat.
The game is rather easy to pick up, giving you an idea of how all the mechanics work fairly quickly, but a change of starting items every playthorugh could yield drastically different play experience every time you jump into the game.
As mentioned above, there is a wide range of equipment and items you can find to help you through your journey, all of which can be upgraded to become more powerful or add other abilities, which is key to surviving.
You will gain experience boxes from killing enemies, in which you can use to upgrade your items, giving you a sense that you must destroy as many robots as you can to get the best upgrades for your bot.
As previously mentioned, this is a roguelike, and when you die you lose everything you gained, but depending on how far or how good your gear got, you will be left with experience boxes to give you a boost right out the gate of your next playthrough.
This makes you feel like you are not totally losing it all on death, giving players a bit of pep in their step when they go for round 2. There was a game breaking glitch experienced once in a 10 hour play session when going from level 1 to level 2, but it does not seem to be recurring.
Difficulty is normally the thing that scares people away from roguelike, as they feel the tasks can become impossible for them later on in the game, but with Heart & Slash, the curve is much simpler. You will not be thrown from a bucking bull every five minutes, but you will be engaging in fast pace action consistently, that will never feel like an impossible task but a challenge to overcome.
The sound in this game is top notch, with only the minor issue of limited music option within the game, leaving some songs to loop a bit to much. Outside of that the games music is uplifting and very well done. Weapon sounds and actions feel very unique and clean, matching the over all tone of the game. They knew were they where aiming with this games sound design, and preceded to hit it out of the park.
Story in the game is light, mostly used as a device to push the player forward at times and reflects other rouge-like games. You will find little piece here and there, which add to the enjoyment of the game, but realistically, they are completely unnecessary for your enjoyment of the game.
This game is a perfect example of what a Kickstarter games should be. The controls are responsive, it looks amazing, and they understood their scope of production. A great Rougelike that can appeal to so many different aspects of other action genres, it makes for a good entry point of roguelike gaming. Hands down, this has to be one of the best games to come out of Kickstarter, and one of the better roguelikes release.
Heart & Slash was reviewed on PlayStation 4 using a digital copy provided by BadLand Indie. You can find additional information about Niche Gamer’s review/ethics policy here.
The Verdict: 8.0
- Beautiful hyper stylized 3D Pixel Art.
- Fast hack and slash action.
- Easy to pick up and play.
- Unruly camera at times.
- Limited music selection.