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Does it Make the Cut? - Severed Review

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Drinkbox Studios have opted to take a different direction for their latest game. Traditionally preferring to make 2D sidescrolling platformers such as Guacamelee, Severed is first person dungeon crawler with almost entirely touch based controls. This may like an eyebrow raiser, but Drinkbox have managed to make a very noteworthy example for how touch controls should be handled.


Platforms: Vita, Wii U [Reviewed], 3DS, iOS
Developer: DrinkBox Studios
Release: September 22, 2016
MSRP: $14.99
Press Copy provided by DrinkBox Studios


Severed has you take control of Sasha, a young adult with a severed arm who is seeking out her missing family. Very little is told directly, you’re left to pick up the pieces yourself based on the environment and occasional bit of dialogue. The plot doesn’t overbear itself and leaves it entirely up to the player to interpret. The world is dark and atmospheric, yet filled with very tone setting colours. The 2D, vector style of visuals have been carried over from prior Drinkbox games yet have been applied to a three dimensional pane.

Severed Screenshot

The gameplay is definitely unique. Movement is managed with the left stick/circle pad and everything else with the touch screen. Severed adopts a Fruit Ninja style of slashing at enemies, with each enemy having unique weak spots. When an enemy attacks you can parry by counter-slashing in the direction opposite the swing. It’s simple but effective combat that is easy to come to grips with but nuanced enough to be entirely skill-based. You navigate your way through first person dungeons, solving various puzzles to unlock doors and continue deeper into the catacombs. Throughout the game you can obtain new abilities which open up new areas to previously visited ones, owing to the studio’s Metroidvania prowess from Guacamelee. You have to uncover the map by yourself and there are many hidden and abstract puzzles throughout the journey.

Severed Screenshot

Depending of if you enjoy exploring on your own to discover hidden secrets, Severed is an excellent experience and a new concept for people who’ve only played Drinkbox’s 2D outings. While there are moments of frustration here and there, the game isn’t completely unforgiving and allows you to take it on as you wish. The fact that it absolutely nails touch controls without feeling forced or unnatural is something to really be appreciative of, we really could do with more games that don’t use it as a gimmick.


Pros

  • Very easy to understand and get the hang of
  • Still has plenty of depth despite its simplicity
  • Touch controls feel natural

Cons

  • Minor blemishes here and there

Verdict:

Great

Great

Great games are generally good buying decisions and are recommended for those with an interest in the genre. There might be a few flaws that detract from the gameplay, stories, controls, presentations, or value, but the game is still an enjoyable experience that justifies a full playthrough.



Want to know what this score means? Check out our Scoring Guidelines page.

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