Whew, seems like it’s been forever since I wrote anything here. Granted, it’s only 3 weeks, but it still feels like a long, long time to me. So let’s open up with something light, a Games I’ve Been Playing post!
Our guest of honor for this post is Slayin, an endless arcade game for iOS with retro looks. Some days ago I promised that I’ll have the game as the topic of my next Games I’ve Been Playing series, and so, here we are.
My first encounter with Slayin is on a preview article, and I immediately knew that I have to give it a try when I saw the screenshot (pictured below). I mean, come on, it has a pixelated retro look, a fire-breathing dragon, an armored knight, and a freaking NES controller for controlling the knight. If that doesn’t scream awesomeness, I don’t know what does.
Anyway, the game finally arrived on the App store and I was really pleased to discover that it actually has a solid gameplay to pair up with the fantastic theme. Later on I found out that I can buy equipment upgrades for my knight at a shop, giving the game a hint of RPG feelings. At that point, I just fell in love with the game.
I didn’t know that I could love the game even more, but I actually did when I figured out that I can purchase a new look for the controller (just check out the controller in the last picture of this post, it seriously looks bad-ass). And when I discovered that I could turn on scanlines effect for an even more retro look, I was simply ecstatic.
Wait, let’s roll back a bit. What is Slayin? How does it play out?
Well, Slayin is some sort of an arena game where you keep fighting monsters in a closed area to increase your level and collect coins. In a way, it really is similar to Spellsword, another really nice arena game. The difference is that Slayin is an endless game, which means that as your level increases, so does the amount of more monsters thrown at you.
Their difference doesn’t stop at that, while Spellsword is a hardcore game where you have to jump around quickly and accurately, Slayin is a really simple game where your hero will automatically move and kill any enemy he hits. So it’s just a matter of changing direction and deciding when to jump. This simple control surprisingly works very well for what seemed to be a hardcore game (I mean, slaying monsters and all that sound pretty hardcore, aren’t they?).
Slayin tries to add some depth to its simple gameplay by having a shop where the players could get upgrades for their hero. I really like their implementation of this shop since it lets the players choose how they want to play the game. You want to play a tank with tons of health? Upgrade your armor so you can endure more attacks! Or may be you want to kill enemies easily? Buy a longer sword. Coupled with the medieval setting, there’s a really strong hint of RPG oozing out from this game.
And have I mentioned anything about the bosses? Once in a while, a boss will spawn in the arena which can only be killed after a few hits. And I’ve gotta say, I’m really, really impressed with the variety of bosses shown in the game. At first I thought they will be as simple as “dodge twice, then attack the opening”, but instead the game got a teleporting insect, a bouncing-and-splitting giant slime, and other crazy stuff as the bosses. Simply put, boss encounters in the game never seem to bore me.
That said, the game could really use more contents. While the game features 2 more heroes that can be unlocked, the second unlockable hero plays almost the same as the default one. It would be really awesome if the player has three ways to play the game instead of two, since each hero gives the game a unique feeling.
And the lack of noticeable progress is disturbing too. Sure, we have unlockables like the heroes and a few custom controllers, but these unlockables don’t make me any better at playing. I suppose the developer wish to have a pure-skill based game, which is totally understandable, but that doesn’t mean a skill-based upgrade can’t be incorporated into the game.
With all that said though, I still loved the game. I think it manages to nail a lot of stuff perfectly even though it lacks that addictive, one more time feeling.
A little trivia, I actually came to the same conclusion ages ago when I tweeted my initial impression on Slayin 😄