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Review: Slashy Hero

Table of Contents

Quick Info

Gore & Brutality Magic Sex Civility Religious Objections
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Additional Notes
This game offers Achievements (or similar awards)! Steam Trading Cards are available!

Summary of major issues
This holiday themed game is relatively non-violent, however there is one enemy that becomes beaten and bruised when you fight them, and you're required to chase them down and defeat them even though they are trying to flee from you.

Screenshots

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Heading for a chest

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Nearly out of health

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Finishing off a beaten foe

General Information

Genre:AdventureAge Rating:Children (Ages 6+)
License:CommercialQuality Rating:Good
Played on:Thaddeus
Available from: Humble Store, Steam
Save System:There is no true save feature. Instead, you gain the ability to start your descent into the mansion at specific checkpoints. You always keep any costumes and candy you collect however.

To pause the game, press ESC.

Game Overview

If you only knew the name, Slashy Hero sounds like a rather violent and possibly horrific game. However, it's really just a silly romp through holiday themed dungeons in search of costumes and candy. The story is just as silly as the concept: a giant evil mansion stole all of the Halloween treats, and since you just can't have Halloween without candy, one trick or treater takes it upon themselves to fight through the haunted mansion and save the holiday.

The gameplay itself is also different than you might be expecting. You'll still be wandering around rooms using WASD like a normal Hack and Slash game, but instead of attacking by swinging your sword in front of your character, you draw a line to slash through the environment. Once drawn, you'll quickly zoom along it, damaging any enemies that you pass through and performing a little flourish of your weapon when you come to a stop. A tactical bonus is that you're immune to enemy fire while performing your attack, so you can effectively "phase" through anything they throw at you. Spiked floors still damage you though, so be careful about where you draw those lines!

As you play, you'll also find pieces of discarded trick or treat costumes. When worn, they change your stats, making you more resilient to injury, do more damage with your attacks, move about faster, or some combination of the three. While there are over two hundred different pieces to collect, you'll often find the same pieces again and again. This isn't really a problem though, as each piece becomes stronger every time you find it.

All in all, this is a fun seasonal game that's easily overlooked, but the emphasis on grinding for candy and costume pieces might be a turn off for some.

Pros

Unique gameplay
The ability to glide along paths you draw allows for some unusual tactics. For example, hit and run style attacks are very easily done, and your ability to pass through enemy attacks means that you can approach from any direction before striking and moving back to safety. You can also use your attacks as a purely defensive maneuver, dodging volleys of bullets to follow up a better strike later. Excluding the deadly spike traps, slashing over special tiles allows you to avoid their effects.


Three game modes
At first, you'll only be able to play the Story mode, but soon enough the other two modes, Time Trial and Infinite, will become available. In the Story mode, you progress through the mansion's rooms and eventually confront the person responsible for ruining everybody's Halloween fun. There are over 70 rooms to explore in this mode, and each one has a different goal that must be completed before the portal to the next room appears.

The Time Trial mode is similar, but you have less than a minute to rush through the rooms and grab rarer costumes before the game suddenly ends. Extra time can be earned by reaching chests or defeating a large group of monsters in a single stroke, but be warned: this mode gets difficult very quickly.

Lastly, the Infinite mode plops you in a large arena and continuously spawns more enemies for you to fight. Every so often, it'll spawn presents instead, rewarding your efforts with more candy and a costume piece. Once you're finally defeated by the onslaught, your effort is evaluated and you're given additional candy as a prize. Thus, the Infinite mode is easily the best option if you want to gather a lot of candy in a short amount of time.


Tons of costumes
Any trick or treater knows that the secret to their candy gathering success lies in a good costume, and there are a little over 250 different pieces to collect. While you have your generic werewolf, ghost or Frankenstein, the majority of the costumes reference popular movies and game series. It's a good idea to check your backpack from time to time to make sure you're wearing only the best out of your collection.


Over 70 floors to explore
In the story mode, each level is a separate floor of the mansion. Many of the floors have hidden areas where extra candy and costumes are stored, so it's worth taking a moment to check the walls for secret paths. To leave a floor, you must locate the floor's portal and step through it. The catch here is that the portal only appears once certain conditions have been met, and these vary from floor to floor. Sometimes you'll need to defeat every enemy, other times you'll just need to find the portal or defeat a specific enemy. Once you've completed the story, a new option becomes available. This is the Jawbreaker mode, which is a more difficult variant of the original story mode. As a bonus for the higher risk is the higher amount and quality of loot you can find.


Steam community features
Like most games on Steam, you can earn some achievements while gathering your Halloween spoils. There are achievements for doing well in each mode and for increasing your abilities, but interestingly enough, there is no achievement for defeating the final boss or gathering all of the costume pieces. In a way, the lack of an achievement for the costumes is a good thing; since there's no way to control what you'll find, it's unlikely that your average player would stick around long enough to collect them all, even if the developers dangled an achievement like a carrot on a stick.

Also, if you're one of the people who enjoys Steam trading cards, you can earn a set of them in this game.


Cons

Occasional graphical bugs
Sometimes when you start the game, it's impossible to draw lines, and thus impossible to perform your slash. This leaves you at the mercy of the monsters, and thus it leads to a fast game over. Opening and closing your backpack often fixes it, though I've never been able to deliberately trigger this bug. Fortunately, you can check that things are working by performing the slash in the menu and fix it before going any further.

The other bug I've noticed is that if your health grows too high, the life meter no longer works. Instead, it'll display 100% health at all times, even when you're on your last legs. Here, the solution is to swap out costume pieces for ones with lower health boosts. Granted, this is more of a problem once you've acquired some epic costumes and increased your own stats significantly, so you're not likely to run into it for a long time.


Based on grinding
In order to progress through the game, you'll need to gather a lot of candy and as many costume pieces as you can. To do this in a reasonable amount of time, you'll need to clear the same levels over and over again. You could also try the Infinite game mode, but your survival there is more tied to your stats than the Story mode. Either way, you'll need to grind quite a bit to raise your abilities enough to save Halloween.


Concerns and Issues

Ghosts and other holiday trappings
The vast majority of the enemies you'll see in this game are ghosts. The typical examples look more like napkins draped over gumdrops, but you'll also see floating flames and caped pumpkins along the way. The most evil looking monsters are the bosses, most of which wear helmets covered in large spikes. Harder bosses, such as the skeleton lord, are even more creepy, yet still fit into the game's cartoonish style.


Mild violence -- with one exception
Most of the game revolves around defeating enemies using your slash technique, but it's not really very violent. If you injure an enemy, they'll flash red, and if they are defeated, they'll simply disappear with a puff, leaving a little pile of candy behind. Likewise, you flash red when you take damage and collapse into a candy covered gravestone when you've been defeated.

However, one of the enemy types becomes battered and bruised after you've done enough damage to it. When this happens, it'll also start retreating in an attempt to flee from you. Unfortunately, the game requires you to cruelly chase them down and finish them off, often by chasing them into the spike traps.