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Smoke And Sacrifice

Posted by GG Goblin On June - 6 - 2018

Survival and story.

While most survival games will drop the player into an inhospitable environment with the bare minimum supplies and then challenge the player to simply survive, occasionally a game comes along that actually drops a reasonable story into the mix as well. However, I don’t think I have yet to find a story in a survival game that is as dark and twisted as that in Solar Sail Games’ Smoke and Sacrifice. And yet, the game is so damn pretty at the same time.

sas1 (Copy)

Smoke and Sacrifice, reviewed on Switch but also available on PC, is a survival game with a heavy dose of RPG mechanics. Or is it an RPG with the strong scent of survival? With both survival and RPG gameplay, Smoke and Sacrifice places the player into the shoes of Sachi, a mother who lives a reasonably happy life in an idyllic fantasy setting. The world seems quite pleasant, except for the fact that parents are expected to sacrifice their first borns to the gods, presumably to keep this pleasant experience going. Yeah, that’s a bit dark, isn’t it? Drop in some creepy priests and you can understand why, after some years, Sachi is starting to question what is actually going on in this place, and so decided to explore the dark and foreboding underworld to get answers and possibly even find her son.

Sacrificing your kid is a pretty grim way to start any game, and things get worse from there. There is a whole world below, inhabited by all manner of scary monsters and those unfortunate enough to not live in the village. And it is here that Sachi will have to begin surviving. As with most games of this type, players will have to start gathering various materials in order to craft gear for survival, and gathering materials will involve exploring, finding plants and fighting monsters to collect whatever they drop. There are often some essential items that the player will need to craft at the very beginning, for their own protection, and Smoke and Sacrifice is no different. As night falls, smoke rolls in and causes harm to Sachi, along with making any monsters that bit more powerful, and so a light source should be up there with the first things that the player crafts.

sas2 (Copy)

And so it goes on, with main story quests pushing the player forward, it is all about scavenging components and ingredients to craft things like armour, weapons and health restoring items. As the player progresses on their journey, saving often as the game never lets up on the danger, they will come across side quests and even new recipes that may allow them to progress that little bit further into the game world and towards their objective. There are a variety of different environments that the player will visit, each with their own monsters and ingredients, giving access to more and more items.

The combat is quite simple, with one button to attack and another to dodge. How the player fares in combat will come down to what weapon they are using, but a healthy use of the dodge button will improve their chances. Most of the items in the game will eventually deteriorate and become unusable, so keeping spare weapons, or a means to repair them, is essential, and checking on how long your healing supplies will last before they perish is also a good idea before going to face off against another monster.

sas3 (Copy)

Exploring will lead to many discoveries that will move the game along, or make the game that little bit easier. Workbenches and forges can be found to craft certain items, while chests can be used to store items in. Then there is a fast travel network that will make a real difference as the map opens up.

Despite the grim subject matter, Smoke and Sacrifice is a very pretty game, with 2D hand-painted assets and very nicely animated characters and monsters. The game looks good on the big screen, but on the handheld screen it really shines and is a joy to behold.

Other than the difficulty of the game, which will come as a real surprise to players who have never tried the survival genre before, the only real issue I found was with the management side of things. The player collects many items through the course of playing, and all of these items are stored in a pouch which is small and fiddly. It can be difficult to remember or identify what each of the little items are, and while moving them and organising is an option, it is quite a lengthy process.

sas4 (Copy)

Smoke and Sacrifice sits perfectly on the Switch. With beautiful visuals and a disturbing story, deep crafting and challenging gameplay, the game will reward players who spend time with Sachi in this mysterious fantasy world. Smoke and Sacrifice straddles both the survival and action RPG genres, and deserves a place in the Switch library of any fan.




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