Sunday, 28 August 2016

Heart&Slash

There are times when a game comes along that can make you smile and then curse at it moments later. There’s a certain charm found in Heart&Slash. From the robot you control with a television for a head that periodically shows a heart on the screen to the colours of the world and quirky combat that unleashes words from your attacks like the comic books of old, it definitely put a smile on my face. For all that charm however, the camera and controls of the main character can definitely make you want to break something. Funnily enough the name of the game reflects how I feel about the game: It’s charm goes to my heart and the frustrations makes me want to slash something.


Developed by BadLand Games and out now on PlayStation 4, Heart&Slash is an unusual but charming hack and slash Rogue-like game. Every game starts with you picking up three random weapons. Combat is used on the Square and Triangle buttons with Circle acts as your dodge and, of course, X being your jump and double jump.  The three weapons that are spawned at the beginning of each run are random but are dictated by unlocking them. This is usually done by killing X number of enemy robots.


The gameplay itself is surprisingly satisfying. Each weapon has their own traits and stats and pulling off flashy combos is easy but it all feels good too. Your robot protagonist moves with a swift pace as it navigates around the procedurally generated dungeons.

Your little robot buddy isn’t incredibly durable as a few hits will usually result in death so one room can destroy a great run. As you defeat enemies you receive bolts which is used to upgrade your weapons as well as the robot himself. Depending on how well you did the run before, you will earn boxes of bolts which is used to upgrade you character as well as weapons. One neat feature is the fact you can sacrifice a weapon in return for hearts. This can become a balancing act to stay alive while possibly making combat much tougher for yourself.

Despite all of the good, there are some bad points at the core that inherently detract from the experience at all times.  The camera is quite a mess. You can adjust it (something that wasn't initially there) but even with the options, there just aren't enough so it goes from swinging wildly to crawling along with very little in between. Also, because the rooms you fight in can be rather small, you can have your view obstructed by object or enemies.Couple that with some frustrating traversal and it can be grounds for disaster.


There are over 100 weapons to unlock and use and dozens of enemy types meaning there's plenty of content to keep things interesting. The problem is there are only two locations and the art style of them is rather bland. The voxel graphics definitely grab your attention but art itself is not well implemented.

A fund hack and slash held back by its controls. 3/5


★★★☆☆

Jason Redmond


Heart&Slash at CeX


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