New releases for the PlayStation Vita are few and far between these days. Especially games that take specific advantage of what the Vita can offer, in this case touch screen controls. Severed plays out much like a twisted fantasy told in a foreign and colorful land. As the protagonist Sasha, she finds herself hoping to rescue her family and do battle in the process.
Players will find the style of this title very similar in artistic visuals as DrinkBox’s previous game Guacamelee. This means vibrant colors, pastel tones, and vivid environmental and character designs. Severed takes place in first-person perspective and is similar in tone to the classic dungeon style exploring RPGs. A map system is offered to the player in order to help them traverse the land and figure out exactly where they are in the vast maze of tunnels and locations.
Combat is the most interesting aspect of the game but also the most frustrating. Combat is used via the touch screens and players will have to swipe with their fingers to battle these monsters. The monsters move in unique patterns and attacks that require precision that support this control style. Attacks can be blocked via times hits and patterns have to notice if players intend to survive. As more and more enemies enter the fray, more unique elements of combat come into fruition. That said, sometimes there is two or three enemies on screen at once, which then requires the user of the controller to move viewpoints, then swipe, swipe, and swipe. Which can lead to a very tedious feeling. When enemies are attacked enough and weakened, there is a final moment of swipes that can occur that break the enemies and provides parts that are used to level up Sasha. This indeed helps offset some of the tediousness that comes with the combat as attack damage gets increased and other stats, but still had me tired of swiping at the enemies repeatedly over and over just to have to do it to more and more.
The visuals and sound go a long way in making this experience stand out. Even with the combat growing a bit tiresome for me. The world and atmosphere in Severed is definitely what kept my attention the longest. Those aspects along with the huge emphasis on exploration and finding switches to progress, left me feeling very invested in the world created. I wanted to know more about this strange land and exactly what inspired it. At the same time the story is decent, but nothing that kept me wanting to play. Which isn’t necessarily a bad thing but it wasn’t the driving factor for me playing personal.
Severed has unique written all over it. I don’t think it’s as enthralling or appealing as it could be or had hoped. The damage and amount of time it takes to bring down single enemies alone can just make fingers tired. The act of swiping for attacks is a novel idea and fun in spurts but it simply gets old. If players can tolerate that and won’t take issues with getting lost at times, there is a very atmospheric and interesting game here, it’s just not guaranteed to be a hit with everyone.
A PlayStation Vita code was provided by the publisher for review purposes.