Switch version tested
Review code provided
You just can’t beat a good old fashioned dark fantasy RPG. When lands roam with all manner of monsters and demons it’s down to a band of heroes to brave all and save the day. It’s a tale that has worked countless times from Lord of the Rings to Diablo and Sin Slayers is one such. This fantasy RPG is full of roguelike elements and provides an addictive gameplay loop so stay a while and listen as I take you through this take of swords and sorcery.
Sin Slayers begins as the story of three characters who function primarily as classes, you start out with the brave knight, a huntress and a sorceress. The world is overrun by the seven deadly sins and after taking refuge in a church which will act as the hub for the story in between missions, you are tasked with setting out to take down the sins one by one starting with Gluttony.
The quests take place in set area’s that range from woodlands, graveyards, towns, ruins and castles. Each level is made up of a procedurally generated landscape that you can traverse with grid-based movement. As you explore you unveil pathways and also uncover enemies, traps, treasures and more as you search for your goal which is to locate and defeat each area’s boss. Side quests can be found in mission or by interacting with the folks at the church and grant a good reward for being completed. After taking down gluttony the order of which sins you want to go for next is largely left to you and the area’s vary greatly with the maps increasing in size giving a strong sense that you are exploring a foreboding and unforgiving world.
As well as searching and slaying you will have to make lots of decisions along the way, these range from choosing to help a traveller, whether to search dead bodies or raid graves or search abandoned caves and tombs for much-needed loot and supplies, the actions you choose take a toll on your sin level, the higher your sin level gets the harder the enemies become. There are five bars to the sin level that can be filled, managing this will greatly increase your chances of success, you can find shrines to pray at to reduce the sin meter as well as performing good deeds but as the difficulty increases as you naturally progress it becomes a fun concept to juggle and will allow each player to tailor the difficulty to their own preference on the fly.
Battles take place in turn-based combat where juggling character positions and keeping an eye on their turn rotation to better manage abilities and item use will be the order of the day. The sins are not shy about having a wide range of enemies in there employ with each enemy type having its own strengths and weaknesses to discover and exploit as well as having both an armour and health bar to take down. The more you fight them the more knowledge you gain of their characteristics giving the combat an Octopath Traveler vibe which was very welcomed. With your heroes each having their own respective classes, they too have their own strengths and weaknesses to learn and use tactically to your advantage from being able to damage multiple enemies at once to offering protection and healing to allies.
In the beginning, you have your three starter heroes and the combat feels a bit by the numbers but it won’t be long before more travellers make their way to the church for you to recruit to your cause. Your party can only consist of three heroes at a time so a bit of experimentation with your recruits will enable you to see which heroes complement each other best and as you fight the minions of the deadly sins you will level up each character and unlock new abilities to help you on your journey. Armour and weapons can be found and equipped throughout your adventures but you will have access to a smith who will help you craft greater items.
Turn-based RPG’s can suffer from an element of grind due to their set up and Sin Slayers does suffer from this at times, fortunately, once I settled into a handful of heroes I liked to use and managed by sin meter well the game felt quite balanced, maybe a bit easy in places but it’s good to have the option to tailor the experience in-game instead of just selecting a difficulty option and running with it. This is also helped by the story being well written and moving along at a steady pace. Though the basic set up will win no awards for originality, the level of charm and humour expressed by each character through the text dialogue offers a welcome reprieve from the large amount of combat that makes up the core missions.
From visuals full of colour and charm to detailed character models and a fantastic soundtrack to slay monsters too, Sin Slayers was fun to play with a clear presentation that worked great on both the small screen and blown up on the big screen with intuitive controls to put the icing on the cake.
Sin Slayers takes clear inspiration from similar titles and wears them proudly and respectfully on its sleeves while adding its own ingredients to the mix. From the risk and reward loot system akin to Darkest Dungeons to the Octopath themed combat, for fans of turn-based RPG and dark fantasy settings you need look no further.
TBG Score: 7.5/10
Platform: PC, Nintendo Switch
Release Date: 26/03/2020
No. of Players: 1
Category: Adventure, RPG, Action
Publisher: Black Tower Games
Download link: eShop