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Slayin Review: It’s Skill-er
Slayin was originally released in spring last year, but updated to v2.0 on January 23rd. The patch added features including new playable characters, music and skins; a substantial update that rounds out an already fantastic game. Marketed as “the world’s first endless action-RPG”, the RPG elements are over-shadowed by the roguelike side-scrolling nature of the game. An on-screen virtual controller allows players to move their selected character left and right to defeat enemies, whilst a third “button” allows a character sensitive action to be performed, such as a jump or spell-cast. Players must hit a seemingly unending slew of enemies with their attack or weapon, whilst being mindful not to let the foes hit their character. Whilst there is an element of leveling your character as you progress, this consists mostly of accruing wealth to buy better weapons and armor to help you fight bigger and badder monsters. These too are character sensitive, in order to support each character’s play-style, but help in frankly minute ways. For the most part, success in Slayin depends almost entirely on building up a degree of skill at the game, and items merely help to sharpen that edge rather than provide a necessary, unavoidable crutch – and expect to be working on that skill for a while! For a game with so much heart, Slayin can be heartless as hell and offers a truly hardcore difficulty curve.
Once your character (inevitably) dies, you’ll be able to visit your local tavern. Here you can honor your brave warriors of old with a customizable burial plot, visit the tailor and purchase new skins for the virtual controller, or talk to the barkeep about hiring some new heroes. The latter of these is a must in experiencing all the different play-styles the game has to offer, and having a selection of unique characters to choose from keeps the game fresh and interesting for assault after assault. Everything in the tavern is bought with Fame Points which are gained by progressing through the game and beating challenges, or through in-app purchases. Despite my earlier stated opinions on micro-transactions, I have to say their inclusion in Slayin means very little. They allow the purchasing of aesthetic items and new play-styles more quickly than they would otherwise be earned in-game, but otherwise have no impact on the game’s progression. It’s an example of in-app purchases done well- they allow the player to save time, the developer to gain money, but in no way spoil or unbalance the game.
The aesthetic of Slayin pays tribute to classic SNES era rpgs with colorful sprite art, simple animation and classic monster design. The music, with its chip-tune sound, is a particular joy, and the inclusion of new music to choose from in the 2.0 update is very welcome.
Slayin is the kind of game that crops up every now and again on the appstore that I love to see. It’s simple, well presented and fun. It’s a game that requires genuine skill to play and complete, but still brings you back after you’ve beaten that boss. If you’re looking for something to challenge you and occupy your mind, whether for a few minutes or even a hour or two, Slayin comes highly recommended.