(PAX West) Nindies@Night / First Impressions: Severed (Wii U, 3DS)

Next to Jotun, Severed was probably the most visually unique game presented at the indie night. It was available to play on both the Wii U and the 3DS, and according to the developers, the game is the same experience on both systems. We had a chance to try the 3DS version, but were assured that there was no difference in gameplay between them—and judging by the way the Wii U demo players’ heads were down and focused on the GamePad much of the time, we believe it. The dual-screen feature works on both systems, and you’ll be making considerable use of the stylus.

What stood out to us immediately was that Severed features a young woman of color as the protagonist, something we don’t often get to see in video games (but hopefully, that will change as games like Severed are released). The music is ethereal, and the dialogue happens on-screen as opposed to voice-overs.

The main feature of this title is that your monster fights require you to not only kill the creatures, but slice off their limbs and use them for upgrades. However, slicing off monster limbs requires a distinct style of attack that pays attention to consistent movement as opposed to randomly slashing at the monsters every which way.

That said, this demo made us feel like we were hacking and slashing randomly, but it became clear that with a bit of practice, the wrist movement and finding the right angle of attack—which makes a difference—would get easier. The tutorial at the beginning of the demo was very helpful, though Nintendo Fire team member Faith did have a bit of struggle as a lefty in terms of getting the angles correct. That said, the developer mentioned that the character movement could be directed using either the left or right hand, which made it comfortable for both left and right handed players to hold the system in one hand & move the character, while holding the stylus in the other hand for battle.

And comfort is critical in Severed, because speed of attack will make the difference as to whether you complete the battle in such a way that you’ll be able to slice off monster limbs when you deliver the killing blows. There’s no time to adjust your hands or fumble with the stylus, otherwise the monster will definitely hit you.

The game will also have many secret rooms, hidden treasures, and an upgrade system that you have a great deal of control over as opposed to being strictly linear.

Severed left us feeling excited and eager to play the full game on release.

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Faith
Author: Faith View all posts by
Faith likes games and books and cake and writing and Lara Croft, not necessarily in that order. She also thinks a Skylanders cartoon show is a really, REALLY good idea...

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