With the Nintendo Switch there are so many amazing indie titles that have begun to show up. Slain: Back from Hell is one of those games that I randomly came across in the eShop and immediately caught my eye. Of course the 16-bit+ enhanced pixelated style definitely stood out, but the whole theme of a metal-god that is slaying demons is seemingly straight out of a Dio song!
Right from the get-go Slain screams original Castlevania inspiration. I however challenge you to look a little bit deeper and games like Wolfchild and Shatterhand really are a valid comparisons as well. Apparently the “Back from Hell” release is a modified version from an original release that was panned by critics, which offers various refinements, but I’m not familiar with that version.
The controls in Slain are what really sticks out to me. You wield a large sword, which has a great feel to it and easily contacts with all of the evil beasts. Combos flow nicely and I never felt like I was taking any damage by accident. You can charge up your sword attack for a powerful super move and can also block or dodge to avoid enemy attacks; which is all essential for survival.
Aside from your sword, you also have a magical shot which consumes a bit of your blue meter. You can charge the shot up for a much more powerful mana blast that moves through enemies. I found the shot pretty underwhelming to use and typically would just hack and slash my way through levels. Especially because you can also time your sword swings to hit back enemy projectiles at them and cause them to be stunned. When they are stunned you can unleash a really powerful attack that is very satisfying to watch.
The levels are linear, which harkens back to the classic action platforming games from the 3rd and 4th gaming generations (think NES, SNES and Sega Genesis eras). There are also some outstanding boss battles that you come across which have that pattern memorization aspect that I really enjoy. While the game can be challenging at parts, it never becomes overly frustrating due to the abundance of save points. This gives it that “one more time” feel and kept me wanting to play until I beat each level section or boss.
The whole evil atmosphere is done extremely well and I really enjoy the music throughout the game as it is brooding and completely fits the level style. You can tell that the developers are metalheads and this title really exudes brutality on each and every level. The graphics are so colorful and each enemy is so well drawn that I found myself dying because I was checking them out!
Slain is an excellent indie game on the Nintendo Switch, and a really solid “old school” action platforming experience. While I personally enjoy the accessibly of the Switch version, it is also available on the PS4, Vita and PC. If you enjoy classic challenging 16-bit platformers then Slain: Back from Hell definitely scratches that nostalgic itch and is a worthy metal-inspired adventure!