"Lust, Gluttony, Greed, Sloth, Wrath, Envy, Pride; these are the seven deadly sins men and women are confronted with throughout their time on this mortal plane of existence, temptations borne within the hearts and souls of us all, the slippery path set before us to lead us all into damnation."
The words reverberated around the cold stone walls of the chapel, not spoken in raised tone but with a solemnity that granted them both power and presence. The Warrior was tense, for he had no recollection of how they had arrived in this place nor whether the elderly man before them was complicit in this mystery, though for now it seemed wisest to stay silent and listen.
"For aeons we had believed that those hedonistic traits were nothing more than bedtime horror tales, told to keep children and adult alike on the narrow path of virtuousness, designed to keep the masses in line while our Noblemen & Women pursued a much freer life, where the judgmental eyes of the keepers of the faith did not watch."
The Huntress & Priestess flanked the Warrior, focused less on the speaker and far more alert to their surroundings. Faint light crept from hanging candles in the corners of the chapel hall, casting ungodly shadows across the baroque statues based around the pillars supporting the towering ceiling, as if the shadows themselves held a life of their own.
"Foolish we all were to discard the warnings of scripture as nothing more than manipulative writings, our lack of belief has deceived us all. Lust, Gluttony, Greed, Sloth, Wrath, Envy & Pride; we caved to our primal desires, and as each and every one of us traveled that path we opened the door to them. Further we debased our virtue, and we lent credence to them, granting them substance."
The lights around the chapel grew dimmer, the shadows growing in thickness and seeming to move with a real energy around the hall. All three of them now focused solely on the heavy words falling from the old mans lips, reverberating around the now unseen walls.
"The Sin Lords, accompanied by the lost and ruinous, the damned and possessed, hold dominion over this realm. There is no escaping from this reality, there is only the hard trail of redemption, and if you wish to feel the warmth of a bright summer day or taste the freshness of spring water upon your lips again then you must face those hedonistic desires within and overcome the Seven Deadly Sins"
Sin Slayers is a new offering from Goonswarm which offers quick turn based combat, RPG progression and Rogue-lite adventuring on procedurally generated gothic maps, ensuring no two playthroughs are exactly the same.
The vast majority of your time will be spent on the atmospheric procedurally generated maps outside of the Church safe haven, tentatively exploring through the fog of war in search of your quarry, while also expecting something horrible to happen with every move into an unexplored tile. There are a whole range of text based events to come across, allowing you to rummage through graves and all manner of other things for some items of note, as well as static traps, traders, resting points, and of course enemy encounters.
The trio of heroes you decide to bring on an adventure will allow you some tools to make exploring a little easier (the Warrior will reveal tiles of interest within a small range), though it’s worth thinking about when you decide to use these abilities, as there are cooldown timers that only tick over as you move through unexplored portions of the map, so using the Priestesses group heal prematurely can really haunt you if you encounter a bruising battle straight after!
These maps are also where one of the games stand out features begins to play out, the Sin Meter, which will increase as you undertake certain actions on the map, and are very thematically tied to the Sin Lord which rules over the part of the world you’ve set foot in. Gluttony will punish players for using food items, Sloth punishes use of the healing/resting fountains, Envy will punish any crafting done while on the map. These all provide a slightly different handicap to players, as if you haven’t prepared carefully for the Sin you are facing, the inhabitants of the map will get increasingly more powerful as your sin meter increases.
Remember here though, that with greater risk comes greater reward, and while managing your Sin level to keep it low will offer a quicker and easier journey, if you can handle the greater punishment the game will reward you with greater payouts after battles!
The remainder of your time will be spent within the sanctuary of the Church, a place full of NPCs you’ve encountered on your journeys, and where you have the ability to use traders, change up the trio of adventurers you’re using, progress through the main quests, as well as explore the deeper parts of the crafting system.
Sin Slayers can feel a little light in the RPG progression department if you’re looking for a game that offers deep customisation and a crafting system worthy of needing a degree education, however, this isn’t a bad thing when you look at what the game is actually trying to achieve.
Each of your heroes will be able to level up five times, increasing base stats (like health) in a fixed way, as well as having 5 levels of abilities to choose from as you get deeper into the game, and tweaking the active and passive abilities does give you a chance to have heroes fill certain needs within your squad. One of the surprises I liked was that unlocking ability choices doesn’t appear dependent on character level, as different craftable items (stones of knowledge) are used to get deeper into the ability tree, meaning you could unlock a new heroes skill tree immediately upon recruiting them if you desired it!
Crafting can either be done mid-adventure with some items (food, potions, other 1 use items) while the deeper gear crafting will be available as you steadily progress the capabilities of the Smith in the church. One thing I learnt for too late was the it can be well worth keeping hold of older ‘useless’ gear as they become ingredients in the recipes for better gear; the Old Broken Axe is needed for a Battle Axe, and that in turn is required to craft the Inquisitors Axe which ends up being a solid weapon choice!
Combat within Sin Slayers offers up no major surprises to any turn based strategy player, as your heroes line up against all manner of depraved and possessed enemies, before proceeding to take chunks out of each other in an initiative based order. The majority of fights aren’t particularly time consuming, but as the game implements a rock, paper, scissors system of resistances and weaknesses against differing types of damage (physical, holy, projectile amongst others) you can very quickly find yourself struggling against enemies which hold some advantages over you in this department. Given that there are 40 normal enemies, on top of the 7 mini bosses & 8 Sin Lords, the random encounter fights have enough variety to keep them engaging.
Your 10 heroes themselves fit a variety of slightly different roles on the battlefield, bringing damage, abilities, and utility to your squad, and it’s well worth thinking about what synergies you can create on the battlefield! I’m currently running with the Inquisitor, Paladin & Warrior, all 3 are physical damage based, but with high armour (which unlike health, always replenishes for each battle) and the passive once a turn heal the Paladin offers give a hard hitting, durable trio with some self sustain.
One last word of advice within battles, make sure you hover your mouse over the battlefield items, as the game will occasionally hide some free items within some inconspicuous looking crates/bottles/tables that would be easily dismissed as nothing but decoration.
I’ve put a fair few hours into Sin Slayers since getting hold of a key, and while I’m now done with writing the review, the best compliment I can give the game is that I am not done playing this one just yet! There’s plenty of challenge to be found within the game if you decide to push your sin meter to the max, and even without handicapping yourself that way Sin Slayers is not a walk in the park once you progress past the first Sin Lord. The game offers another great option for people who are looking to relax for a couple of hours in a shorter gaming session, while still feeling like you’ve had some reward even if you’re adventure finished in failure overall!
I want to thank Black Tower Entertainment for providing us with a key to take Sin Slayers for a spin, and if you’ve got any thoughts let me know below!