Thanks to FDG Games for the review code
Title: Slayin 2
System: Nintendo Switch (eShop)
Release Date: 05/07/2020
In this sequel to the hit mobile game, you take control of a hero who sets out to save a kingdom in peril! Despite a story mode being the main focus of this game, there really isn’t much of an actual story to be found, just some dialogue from NPCs and towns.
Slayin 2 continues the done to death pixel art trend I’ve noted time and time before. Not much to say outside of that this game is one of the better examples, with some pretty solid animation, well-detailed sprites and lots of color.
On the other hand, the soundtrack needs to be commended for catching me completely off guard with its quality. By the miracles of the world, Slayin 2 ends up being the game to make an OST that directly calls back to the redbook audio days of video game soundtracks, and it’s easily the best part of the entire package.
All the traits PC Engine/Sega CD fans are familiar with can be found in Slayin 2‘s godlike OST with plenty of intense and energetic rock pieces all around! It’s very evident that the composer of this soundtrack was a huge fan of that era of gaming music, and while it’s very common to see pixel art games like these stick to the safe 8-16-32 bit tributes, it’s almost never a case where they pay tribute to the early CD era, and that makes me extraordinarily happy that Slayin 2′s soundtrack kicks so much ass. No matter what’s going on in the game, there’s a good song backing it.
Slayin 2 is an action-arcade game of sorts, with some basic RPG elements. While the original was mainly a scorechaser, this sequel adds a stage by stage story mode to the mix, with a ton more unlockables to boot. However, it also has an arcade mode for those who preferred the way the first game played out, and either way, you’re getting a solid time. The game’s controls are very simple, tasking the player with moving left and right, their sword automatically drawn to attack enemies by running into them. You have a jump button along with a strong attack you can unleash with a button press, but otherwise that’s all you have to take advantage of.
New to the sequel is the ability to shift between two planes, which does add some strategy and helps make dodging certain foes a bit easier, but you can play the arcade mode with just the single plane if that’s how you prefer. Either way, it’s also important to keep up a combo, since that’ll increase the multiplier for coins dropped, along with improving your score overall.
The Arcade mode is pretty straightforward, just tasking the player to get the highest score and see how far they can get without dying. You only have characters unlocked in the story mode available to you, but besides that, you always start with basic equipment and have to work your way up with gold earned in each wave. It’s very simple and the game ends when you die, but without online or local leaderboards, I can’t really see much use from this mode outside of trying to get to a further wave each and every attempt.
Thankfully, the main meat of the game is Story Mode, which is a brilliantly designed game mode. Traversing the world stage by stage, the gameplay is essentially the same, but with a longer upgrading process and some more RPG elements thrown in. You see, while each stage still has that solid two-plane action, there’s also a town that you’ll focus on rebuilding over the course of the game, by finding residents in some of the stages, who return to town after finding them. These can range from new shopkeepers, traditional NPCs, to even brand new party members that you can hire after fixing up their house or doing them a favor. This is the only way to play as other characters in arcade mode, hence why I recommend you check this mode out extensively before you play the other.
Of course, you can also play as these newcomers in the story mode stages, though it can be a bit tricky to build up a new recruit as you’ll have to buy their second and third weapons, along with any upgrades those weapons may need. Thankfully, upgrades like extra health spark energy, or your fame level are uniform across the board, so you at least won’t be too fragile when experimenting with a newcomer. Before too long, I found myself reaching a very satisfying addiction with Slayin 2’s story mode, moving to each new stage I unlocked, testing out new weapons or characters, and even trying to find some of the hidden items that a couple of stages hold, which can in turn lead to more secrets in other stages! There’s several hours of fun to get out of the game, and even more if you decide to go for all the secrets, so that leaves for a very enjoyable experience from start to finish.
Last but not least is the Co-Op added to this sequel! Both Arcade and Story Mode allow you to team up with a local buddy, and doing so can help you with some tricky stages, since each player has their own lifebar and can work independently. In Story Mode, this makes the game in general a lot easier, since you and a buddy could just team up and win a tough stage through patience and reviving the other player in an endless cycle; dying in co-op allows the other player to sacrifice some of their health to revive the fallen, which can make some stages that would normally be insanely difficult a lot more manageable without needing to grind.
In conclusion, Slayin 2 was a great time, both solo, and in co-op! Whichever way you play, the story mode offers plenty of fun unlockables and secrets, adding lots of replay value to the mix. The arcade mode also serves as a decent means of scorechasing, but without a local or online leaderboard, it feels a lot more shallow than such a mode deserves to be, though at least each character can have their own highscore.
Still, considering the shockingly god-like music and easy to use controls, this is a perfect pick up and play experience for the Switch, and if you were a fan of the iOS original, or just like stage-based scorechasers, then this is one I can give a solid recommendation to, especially for the addictive nature of the story mode alone!
I give Slayin 2 a 8 out of 10.