Drinkbox Studios has gotten continuously better with its development over the past few years, really hitting amazing new ground with its Metroidvania-esque open-world platformer Guacamelee!, complete with great Lucha references and splendid puzzle design.
But for its latest game, Severed, the developer tries something different, as you portray the one-armed heroine Sasha as she attempts to reunite with her family, with the help of a powerful sword to do away with enemies.
The game caters back to memories of classic first-person adventures, like Myst, but with far more interaction, as you roam through a colorful, danger-filled universe, finding switches and other items that tie in with puzzles while doing battle with enemies that come your way. It’s here that the game takes an Infinity Blade-style of approach, as you use parries to do away with incoming attacks, and then strike true with your blade, eventually getting to the point that you can cut off their limbs and use them later for upgrades.
Enemies change up quite a bit over the game, revealing new weak points and eventual strategies that you’ll need to grasp if you hope to see the adventure through to the very end. It can be challenging at times, mainly because of the small scope of the Vita screen (an iPad it isn’t) and the fact that sometimes the swipes don’t read as clearly as it should.
Still, for the most part, the adventure is outstanding, with plenty of new enemies to encounter, secrets to find, and images to partake in. The art style is definitely up there with Guacamelee!, and it’s done so well that you’ll want to find every nook and cranny within the world. The animation is great as well, with each nightmarish character giving the previous one a run for its money.
As for the audio, it’s very cool, with small pieces of gibberish mixed in with ambient themes that really bring each world to life. I had a blast listening to this game through headphones, and chances are you will as well.
Between the puzzles that need to be solved throughout this world (enough to fill up a few hours’ worth of gameplay), enthralling battles and a superb presentation, Severed gives you another good reason to cherish your Vita. Sure, the market hasn’t exactly been thriving with games for the system as of late, but Drinkbox Studios more than validates its development with the game, even with inaccurate swipes and other tiny problems. It’s a great adventure for a platform that desperately needed one — and that’s something that shouldn’t be cut off.