Grossing You Out This Spring: Slain

Huge guts.

In much the same way that it’s okay when it’s zombies, retro decapitate-’em-up Slain relies on developer Andrew Gilmour’s gorgeous pixel art to make it’s gore-splattering slightly less horrifying. It’s an action platformer featuring a two stage system of seven levels each comprising a side-scrolling wilderness and vertical-scrolling tower. The outside areas will usually be combat orientated and denser with enemies, while the towers have more puzzles and traps. Hero Bathoryn uses a ludicrously large sword to cleave his way through these and anything else that happens to be in the way. Trailer and thoughts on the EGX demo build below.

While it’s still very early (the version number for the build I played was “pre-alpha 0.0.09” meaning I believe technically it doesn’t exist), there’s promise. The art and animation carry it well, sword swings sending heads looping from bodies, spewing blood. It’s necessarily satisfying, counteracting the classically extreme difficulty and allowing a vent for frustration. Each level is distinct too, with new sights and challenges in the form of enemies, traps and tilesets.

Still to be implemented is a magic system, providing a much-needed ranged option to Bathoryn’s suite of abilities. In the publisher announcement post there’s also talk of transformation into beasts, which I would presume will be powered by the same system. There’s still a lot of work to be done creating the rest of the levels and crafting the story before the planned release in March.

22 Comments

  1. MrFinnishDude says:

    Hmm… I don’t really like the way the characters seem to be animated.
    Its like they posed 3D models, and then pixelated them to resemble sprites.
    Well maybe the gameplay elements will be more appealing than visual ones. We shall see.

  2. Blackcompany says:

    Is it just me…or is the platformer getting stale? Not to say they arent or cannot be fun. I’m sure they are and I know a goodly number of people love them.

    On the other hand…like a lot of other genres of late, they dont seem to be evolving at all. Its just jump, hack, slide the big box so I can jump here and not there and repeat. I dont know what else one could do with the genre so maybe its just me. But it seems awfully…stale, for lack of a better word.

    • pepperfez says:

      I think it’s you, but also a lot of other people. I mean that the genre itself is no staler than usual, but sometimes one just doesn’t feel like a platformer.

    • Chaz says:

      It looks like the dev is making a retro style arcade platformer, so does it really need to do anything new?

      I’d much rather have a dev make a good fun safe game, than try to shoe horn in an evolutionary new feature that falls flat on its face and ends up being a sour note in an otherwise solid game.

  3. RandomNext says:

    Seems like a nice mix between Mortal Kombat and Castlevania.

    • Fenix says:

      I agree on Castlevania (in fact i ctrl+f’d it as soon as I finished watching the trailer) but I don’t see the Mortal Kombat in this at all.

  4. Nesty says:

    Reminds me a lot of Shadow of the Beast.

    • Strangely Brown says:

      That was my first thought when I saw the image.

      However, judging by the video there doesn’t seem to be enough puzzles (simple though they were). Personally, I’m happy just listening to the music and reminiscing about the good old days; I don’t really feel the need for another game like that.

      • Chaz says:

        I didn’t really see any puzzles in the video, a few traps but no puzzles. However it IS pre-alpha, so one would expect there’s still loads to be done yet.

    • BooleanBob says:

      It reminds me a lot of some amiga-y game I played on a DOS shareware disc as a youngin. It was a bit gorey, but not massively so, it had a voodoo theme and you got turned into a panther at certain points. That’s all I remember, other than it being the second scariest game I’d ever played at the time (Wolfenstein, same disc, GUTEN tag!)

  5. Baines says:

    the version number for the build I played was “pre-alpha 0.0.09″ meaning I believe technically it doesn’t exist

    These days, that can mean anything from “It might be done in five years” to “A month from a legal obligation fulfilling final release”.

    • Ben Barrett says:

      Heh, very true. There was a time when Alpha/Beta/Gamma/Release Candidate were technical descriptions of processes of development, but they’ve more evolved into statements on quality now. Shit/Might be alright/Oh this is pretty good/We think you’ll like it.

  6. LionsPhil says:

    How ’90s.

    Except honestly that animation is pretty stiff.

    • Mrawolf says:

      heys
      Thx for preview.!

      Glad you guys are liking the revision numbers!

  7. Gog Magog says:

    well,

  8. Igor Hardy says:

    I love how the beard (or is it the mane?) sticks on to that vertical squashing thing! Sold.

  9. Kaeoschassis says:

    I think it looks gorgeous, but it’s not actually about what either of us think.
    See, here’s the thing. Games take a lot of work to make. Even bad games take a lot of work to make. A whoooole lot. While it’s perfectly reasonable to expect that some people will dislike a game for all kinds of reasons, and they certainly have the right to feel that way, I don’t think you realise exactly what you’re doing with this comment.
    You’re literally dismissing months or possibly years of hard work and emotional investment with “It looks like crap”. Can you imagine if the tables were turned? I’m fairly certain you’ve never created anything on that kind of scale, because I’ve yet to meet a person who has, who’d leave a comment like that one.
    But this isn’t a personal attack, I understand that it can be hard to relate to something when you haven’t had any experience in it yourself. In future, all I’m asking you to do is please, consider how much effort and heart someone might have put into a game (or any other kind of art) before you dismiss it so off-handedly. Try some constructive criticism instead. Or if you can’t think of any, just leave it be.

    • Jubaal says:

      Beautifully and constructively said Kaeoschassis.

      *tips hat*

    • rabbit says:

      100% agree.

      this is something I had to have explained to me once, four or five years back. i’m only young – 22 now – and I didn’t… well, I didn’t think about the effects of my words before saying them. I was criticising a game in pre alpha that I actually liked , but bringing more attention to my negative opinions than my positive ones. not because I wanted to be an asshole – but because I really liked the game and wanted it to be as good as it had the potential to be.
      after rowing with one of the devs (won’t name names, but they’re known on the indie circuit for… well, a promising game and some amateurish outbursts when upset in the past) for a while, he made the point that all I had to do was word things more gently. that this was something he put his heart and soul into and to see someone being so fucking blunt and hurtful about it, whether or not it was someone who loved the game, fucking hurt him.
      and I thought about that, and how i’d feel if someone who liked my music said ‘fuck me the first three tracks on that album were fucking dire. cut them in half and maybe there’ll be something salvageable there but what a shame this idiot decided to put such shit on an otherwise good album.’ and ever since then I’ve been very careful about how I choose to criticise (particularly independent) games, art, music, whatever.

      because I know what you’re thinking and how you justify it. you’re just one random guy on the internet, who gives a fuck what you think? it doesn’t matter at all?
      but the devs? they probably do give a fuck. and that you made the effort to log in and comment and then all you said was ‘this looks like crap’ — you can bet that that hurt.

  10. Chaz says:

    I quite like the look of this actually. Has that retro arcade cabinet game feel about it. Just needs few tinny sound effects and a jingly tune and it’ll be just the job.

    A special edition in an arcade cabinet, featuring authentic cigarette burns on the front please.