Slasher’s Keep thrusts and lunges into Early Access

Slasher's Keep

There’s just something delightfully satisfying about a solid and tactile first-person dungeon crawl. Sneaking around danger, spotting traps with your own two eyes and shoving loot into your backpack en-masse and swinging your mouse around to bash in heads has been a compelling loop as far back as I can remember.

The latest game to keep an eye on in this venerable sub-genre is Slasher’s Keep, newly debuting on Steam via Early Access. A melee-centric dungeon crawl with procedural level generation and a charming art style full of pin-sharp sprites, and monsters constructed of hand-drawn segments rather than polygons.

Melee is clearly key to Slasher’s Keep, with the position of enemy limbs telegraphing what direction they’ll swing from and telling you how best to parry or block the oncoming attack through manual weapon positioning. It seems that the noggin is the primary target for most of your attacks, and I can’t help but chuckle at the enthusiastic ‘Face!’ notification whenever the player scores  a direct hit in the trailer, but it does feel a bit more succinct and snappy than the typical ‘CRITICAL’ or even ‘HEADSHOT’ text which you see in so many other games.

There also seems to be a vein of Dark Messiah of Might & Magic running through Slasher’s Keep, with many traps seemingly designed for you to exploit, rather than pose an immediate threat. Shoving stubborn zombies into conveniently placed spike racks is present and correct, as are pressure-pad triggered devices that you can splatter your foes with assuming you managed to avoid triggering it yourself.

According to the developer’s description on Steam, the current release of Slasher’s Keep is a mostly self-contained and complete game, minus a couple sounds effects. Over the course of 5-7 months, lone developer Damian Schloter plans to add a little more of everything – room types, enemies, traps, etc – to help flesh things out a bit more, as well as listening to feedback so that bugs can be squashed and the more egregious difficulty spikes can be smoothed out a bit.

The first Early Access release of Slasher’s Keep is available now via Steam for £11/$14, minus the standard 10% debut discount. The final price may go up after the game leaves early access.

11 Comments

  1. Premium User Badge

    Drib says:

    Something about that screenshot gives me the immediate impression of Daggerfall. Maybe because… dagger. I mean, even ignoring the title, my general weapon of choice for the first while was always that ebony dagger.

    But the art style looks neat.

  2. Uncle Fass says:

    Graphics remind me of Action Doom 2

  3. Michael Fogg says:

    Bold move to release it the day before a certain major fantasy RPG.

    • falcon2001 says:

      Yeah, but assuming you’re talking about Kingdom Come, the only things these two games have in common is their platform.

    • Vastial says:

      Kingdom Come isn’t fantasy though, it actually couldn’t be any further away from that genre if it tried.

  4. Tim James says:

    FACE!

  5. DEspresso says:

    You can kick monsters in traps?? Wheeee!

  6. Blake Casimir says:

    Excluding Delver… WHY has it taken until 2018 for there to be another first person dungeon crawler in this style!?

    Why does this have the rarest genre in the world? :(

    I love this game but I loathe that it is a rogue-lite that destroys my progress when I die. IF the dev is reading: please give us an adventure mode that allows us to carry on from save points!!

    Oh there is also Castle of Torgeath but still, darnit, there aren’t enough of these games. :( :(

    • Darth Gangrel says:

      I agree. It’s not often I hear something that has “a vein of Dark Messiah of Might & Magic” (the best melee game ever, imo). Other games have more or less fun melee combat, but nothing has all the parts of Dark Messiah – the physicality, the variety in combat and playstyles…

    • BeardyHat says:

      Barony is quite good

      link to store.steampowered.com

  7. April March says:

    That trailer doesn’t sell it to me at all. The gameplay looks slow and stilted, and the narrator sounds like he’s dying from trying to drum up enthusiasm for the game. “They were locked up, then they escaped! Um, there is loot! There is combat! There is also RANGED combat!”