Can’t Kill The Metal: Slain! Released

You can delay the metal, even quite a bit. But kill it? Please. These devs are so hardcore they actually listed 666-666-6666 as their phone number. (Madlibs: replace “hardcore” with a word of your choice. Just don’t be too mean.) You know what you’re in for.

Slain! [official site] is a 2D hack-and-slash platformer with a gothic aesthetic that you may find gorgeous, repulsive or both. It was successfully kicked and started in 2014 aiming for a May 2015 release, but it’s only managed to see the pale glow of the moon this week.

The pixel art is certainly very well made, it’s the art direction that may put you off. Or maybe you’ll jump on this straight away, claiming that there aren’t enough games like this. I am of two minds about this, I love gothic art but some bits in this trailer and screenshots are really not my thing. I prefer more elegant Gothic, as in the works of Victoria Frances.

The music by Curt Victor Bryant of Celtic Frost is a big part of this too! Very loud, very aggressive. Possibly a tad repetitive.

As for how it plays, it draws heavily from the hack-and-slash of the 80s and 90s, from Ghost and Goblins to Golden Axe. The levels alternate combat with platforming and puzzle-solving, and you’re going to die quite a bit, as you learn enemy attacks and trap placement.

And now, for the part I’d like to never have to write: the game came out with a few technical issues. Judging from the statements on the Steam forum, the devs made a last-minute adjustment which created a new problem they didn’t catch in time. Those who played on release with mouse and keyboard found themselves with terrible control delay which rendered the game extremely frustrating to play. There were also some silly mistakes, like never explaining or listing the controls anywhere in the game. People in the forum are trying to work out what the controls are for themselves, some didn’t even know how to exit the game.

This brought a slew of (legitimate) negative Steam reviews, and those will remain even after the issues have been fixed – and they are really easy to fix, they’re already working on it. Many players won’t give it another chance, and others won’t buy it based on those reviews. The devs explain that they just couldn’t keep delaying it any longer, but this lack of attention really hurts the game, even if all the hard work has already been done. The game can’t be judged for its own flaws and merits, and lots of indies seem to be making these avoidable mistakes. Don’t make me write this again, it makes me really sad to see all that hard work wasted.

Let’s cheer up a bit with some Tenacious D, huh?

Slain! is out now for £8.99/$11.69 on Steam and GOG. The deluxe edition contains some art and the soundtrack.

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  1. GameCat says:

    Dunno, it looks quite interesting but at the same time animations seems to be weak (especially after playing Momodora 4 with ultra fluid movements) and that generic metal music is just… ugh.

    • bit.bat says:

      Had not heard of Momodora 4 before, looks really good!

    • noodlecake says:

      The new Momodora is ridiculously beautiful however I found it really weirdly balanced and didn’t think it was particularly good from a gameplay standpoint, which is a shame. I got my money back on steam after playing it for an hour.

      • GameCat says:

        I think you just didn’t liked it. Gameplay is rather simple there, but controls are top-notch, everything is responsive, tight and fluid. I’ve never felt that I’ve lost because of controls or bugs, it were always just my errors.

    • aircool says:

      Sadly, it’s the retro graphics that put me off. I grew up with shit graphics, so there’s nothing charming about them. Otherwise it looks kinda fun.

      • Kaeoschassis says:

        Listen, I’d put money on the fact that you and I grew up with the same graphics. Don’t take something that someone, somewhere has poured their heart and soul into and just call it ‘shit’. That’s not critique, it’s not useful, it’s just being an arsehole.

        Also I think this is very pretty, but that’s kind of besides the point.

  2. Turkey says:

    It looks like what would happen if Crystal Dynamics made a Castlevania game.

    • FreshHands says:

      Somehow these visuals now make me very sad (again) that I never managed to make LoK:Blood Omen run on modern systems. Ah, vae victis.

      • Kaeoschassis says:

        Have you tried Blood Omen Portable? Last I checked it was still up, a google search should get you it… Yep, still there. I’ve never had any trouble getting it running myself, and if you already own the game there’s not really any harm in using it.

        And yes, by the way, it’s every bit as great as you remember.

  3. Choca says:

    Sadly, the game’s problems go beyond the simple issues with the controls. The combat system is clunky and devoid of any depth or impact, the platforming is extremely weak and the boss encounters are badly designed for the most part.

    It sure is pretty though.

    • Reapy says:

      I was holding off buying it because watching it in motion was giving me a feeling of what you just mentioned. It looks so awesome but it doesn’t quite ‘move’ right.

      I like platformers but usually don’t like playing them, so it has to be quite the thing to lift my embargo on them. I’ll be looking hard at salt and sanctuary though when it gets to the PC.

      • Reapy says:

        Damn no edit button there.

        I wanted to end by saying I think that a few small adjustments could smooth the game over a lot if the creator can figure out what he needs to adjust. Hopefully they do well enough in sales to keep going with it.

    • LacSlyer says:

      That’s disappointing, but is exactly what I was concerned about when I saw videos of it. It’s a gorgeous game, but shallow gameplay really kills it for me. Maybe I’ll pick it up during a steam sale now instead.

  4. peterako1989 says:

    Yeah! 666! because we are sooooo cooooool!

  5. MrFinnishDude says:

    That pixel art is really good, animation could be more dynamic and fluid though. I wonder if the 666-666-6666 and Brütäl Metäl thing are ironic or not, It does still give that charming Tenacius D wibe.

  6. Jalan says:

    At least they didn’t delay it (yet again), they just found a clever way to incorporate the delay into the control scheme.

    Wait… that’s not a good thing, is it?

  7. noodlecake says:

    The art style and music is ridiculously cheesy, but isn’t that just most metal anyway? I think it sort of works. It’s clearly meant to be tongue in cheek.

    • Halk says:

      Precisely. The world looks like it consists completely of bad album art taken from bad cover designs of bad albums by bad metal bands, think Blind Guardian etc. I totally love it.

      Unfortunately the reviews on GOG are really bad, and not just for technical reasons. There also seem to be gameplay issues.

      • kalzekdor says:

        Did you… did you just call Blind Guardian bad? Nightfall in Middle-Earth is a classic, and their 2010 album At the Edge of Time was amazing. I mean, granted, they’re no Serenity or Ancient Bards, but they’re damned respectable.

        • Press X to Gary Busey says:

          Blind Guardian *were* goddamn great at least. Can’t say I’ve kept up with them since I saw them live with a friend who was really into them years ago. That was a pretty interesting experience… Music was good but the location was way too small and the room turned sub-tropic with sweaty people humping from all directions and a guy in front whipping my face with his head banging hair the entire time.

          • Press X to Gary Busey says:

            link to

          • kalzekdor says:

            Can’t reply directly to your comment with the link to YouTube due to nesting limits, but literally the first track on At the Edge of Time is an updated version of that song (Sacred Worlds) with a new orchestral intro/outro. It’s a great album, the best they’ve had in a good number of years, and well worth checking out.

            I can’t speak to their performances, though, I don’t really go to concerts. Not a fan of crowds.

    • deadlybydsgn says:

      The style is definitely cheesy, but that quality of execution! Phew.

      Shame the launch has been marred by the control delay issues.

  8. TychoCelchuuu says:

    I don’t like it when pixel art games have particle effects that aren’t pixel art. It looks weird to me.

  9. thelastpointer says:

    My kingdom for a fantasy FPS with this retro attitude!

  10. Lintire says:

    The art is fairly top-tier for a indie pixel project, but I’ve heard nothing but complaints about the game itself.

  11. Eukatheude says:

    This is the worst kind of metal (though it’s appropriate for the kind of game).
    Also the lack of a bass player is quite evident&grating.
    The art style is gorgeous though.

  12. GWOP says:

    Jack Black’s cinematic output might not be something to write home about, but I loved Tenacious D!

  13. Koozer says:

    The problem with this (and other ‘retro inspired’ games) is that I already own a copy of Aria of Sorrow and haven’t even finished Portrait of Ruin.

  14. April March says:

    Looks pretty, but also looks like a game that will be deliberately hard to be “hardcore” and I’ll either be unable to finish or just barely able to do so but without pleasure and holding a :| face all the time.

  15. Spacewalk says:

    The same Curt Victor Bryant who had his pubes out on the back of the Cold Lake sleeve? I think I’ll pass.

    • Scumbag says:

      Ohhh so THAT is where he falls in the Frost timeline. Anything post (and mostly including) Into the Pandemonium kinda bores me and that name is certainly not a Martian Eric Ain or Reed St Mark.

  16. NailBombed says:

    Car (Boot) Sale Vania.

  17. Eight Rooks says:

    I really liked Cold Lake*, but “music by the guy who was CF’s bassist for two years” (according to Wikipedia…?) doesn’t exactly fill me with confidence, and the snippets on that trailer were pretty dull.

    *I can see how Cold Lake’s thundering cheese might have put old-school fans off something fierce, but the songwriting and musicianship was still fine by me. I like operatic grandeur: I like a bit of hard-edged, ridiculously straight-faced glam posturing now and then, too.

    • Eight Rooks says:

      Bah, reply fail to Spacewalk above.

    • Spacewalk says:

      I couldn’t even last the Cherry Orchards video, the last thing I needed to see was Tom Warrior and his mates palling around like they were in some fucking Poison or Ratt video. It’s like Turbo only twice as bad. I wonder if there was a point in his life where Tom ever thought of himself as anyone’s turbo lover only to tell them to get their hands off of his private property. (Out in the) cold lake that’s for sure.

      • Spacewalk says:

        But the real tragedy is the best thing that had the Celtic Frost name on it before Tom got his shit together for Monotheist was that S.O.D. song seven years earlier. Fucking Stormtroopers Of Death, can you imagine.

  18. mavu says:

    I like metal, because you can skip forward in songs without it sounding wrong.