Severed was already a quirky indie title that had some buzz about it when it was released in 2016. Depending on who you like to believe when it comes to reviews, it was either a very colorful and charming adventure, or a weird action game that didn’t quite do it for you. We’re going to shed that skin and give the game a go on the Nintendo Switch, as Drinkbox Studios released the game for the console this week.
Severed focuses on a young woman who has just lost her family as they were brutally murdered in front of her, along with the loss of her right arm. An ancient being approaches her with a red sword as a way to get revenge and rid the world of the demons and monsters responsible for the attack. You move around in first-person mode with the graphic doing what appears to be a phasing creep toward you as you go from room to room vanquishing everything in your way.
You use your sword the same way you would in Fruit Ninja, swiping your finger across the screen to hit your enemies. This combat, while clever for a video game, becomes tedious after the first hour. Enemies tend to repeat and only change in difficulty as you progress through the game. You have to monitor how they attack so you can anticipate and deflect to avoid getting hurt, and then return the favor by hitting them in critical ways. Bosses are your biggest challenge, but they have predictable patterns as well and only pose a slightly greater threat than standard enemies.
There’s also the ability to steal status effects from the enemies you face, but it costs a lot of mana and usually the payoff isn’t as good as you would hope. The key to progression is through exploration of the map and clearing out levels. But after a while this becomes formulaic and you see the pattern in the levels become very clear. And that becomes a dredge when you get to tougher enemies as the battles become longer and you just wish there was a better way to take care of them as you move on.
Graphically, the game has a great style that feels like they were inspired by Samurai Jack. Everything that you encounter has a cool design from the enemies to the levels themselves. The audio could have used something more to make the game pop as it feels like I’m constantly just wandering through a random jungle everywhere I go, and any minute now I expect Indiana Jones to pop out with an idol on the run from a boulder.
Severed is a lovely concept, but the game still has flaws on the Switch that it did on the 3DS and Vita versions I played before. Constantly slashing with my finger across the screen becoems a chore and even started to hurt my wrist. I wish there was much more to this game, but alas, there was no improvement from what it once was.
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