Coven Preview

Coven

Horror-themed boomer shooter Coven just got an updated demo, so it’s about time we checked it out.

Coven tells the story of a woman who is burned at the stake on suspicion of being a witch. The game sets its tone immediately, as the first thing we see is a POV shot of our main character burning at the stake, letting out horrible shrieks while burning alive.

It turns out that this woman really may be a witch and will come back as a vengeful undead to seek revenge on those who murdered her.

Our character immediately claws her way out of a shallow grave, arming herself with an axe and a shield, ready to dismember whoever gets in her way.

It’s also worth noting that the main method of healing is through eating chunks of our victims, just further cementing how far Coven goes in its dark tone and atmosphere.

Coven isn’t as straightforward of a shooter as something like Doom, since it has a higher focus on elements of exploration and puzzle-solving. The puzzles are pretty straightforward and mostly involve finding keys to locked doors, though.

Some of the more impressive aspects of Coven come from the combat, as the main character’s axe can be angled to deal damage to specific parts of enemies. Most of them just blow up in a mist of red when hit with a fully charged attack from any angle, but this comes into play as tougher enemies get introduced.

Coven‘s combat is a lethal dance of strikes and parries, as the enemies can be relentless in their attacks, with the shield being a useful tool when fighting up close. While an axe and shield aren’t the most fitting weapons for a witch, they make sense in this context, as they’re the first thing she finds.

The player does eventually get access to ranged weapons as well as a bullet time mechanic, which greatly helps when dealing with the game’s ranged enemies.

The crusaders are some of the biggest threats you will find early in the game, as their bolts can quickly take chunks of your health. Thankfully, you can also take chunks out of their corpses to heal up.

Later on, we also start to encounter fully armored knights, which hit like trucks and require us to find their weak spots. To balance this out, the main character gets access to various spells and can vomit acid to deal with the game’s tougher enemies.

Coven‘s protagonist is also pretty mobile for a dead woman; she can slide, air dash, and has a really fast movement speed, as is usual with retro shooters. Just like Doomguy, the protagonist for Coven feels like a speeding bullet once you start dashing around.

Conven’s demo gives us access to a few weapons to play around with as well as a spellbook, which can be used to create platforms and shoot piercing shards at enemies. The levels are pretty different from each other and all have their own unique visual identity.

Coven is extremely challenging but also extremely fun, and it’s a fantastic way of framing a revenge story through gameplay. The combat is also more methodical than in other retro shooters, which I greatly enjoyed.

Coven‘s demo paints a very gory picture of what’s to come with its impressive brutal combat and moody levels, and is shaping up to be a retro shooter worthy of being compared to titles like Blood and Dusk.

Coven is expected to come out at some point in 2023, for Microsoft Windows (through Steam).

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About

Fan of skeletons, plays too many video games, MMO addict, soul-like and character action enthusiast.


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