Slayin 2 is a fast paced co-op action game that looks like it came straight from the SNES era. The influence from classic arcade games is apparent and shines through in both its gameplay and presentation. Therefore, can Slayin 2 pull off the homage or would this type of game have been better off staying in the 90s?
The gameplay for Slayin 2 starts off simple: you attack enemies by moving into them by either moving left or right and thus impaling the enemies that spawn in the two “lanes” of each stage. The first couple of stages are easy and repetitive. The combat quickly becomes engaging and varied as you gather heroes, weapons and charms, each of which have different strengths and weaknesses.
Enemies also come in all shapes and sizes. The enemy variety is remarkable: there are variants on every type and the humanoids come armed with different weapons that have a wide variety of strengths and weaknesses. Every boss battle is intense and requires the player to analyze the patterns of attack in order to win.
This game is both punishing and rewarding. Every so often, I would find myself stuck and would resort to switching between characters and loadouts until I found the winning combination. The grind in this game is incredibly satisfying.
One of the worst things about modern gaming is the death of couch co-op. Slayin 2 offers local co-op in both of its game modes, and the experience is frantic and fun. You won’t lose anything by playing solo, but there is a certain giddy excitement that comes from playing with your friends in the same room.
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Slayin 2 is the lovechild of Ghouls and Goblins and Punch Out! I never knew I needed until I got to play it.
World / Level Design
Each level is designed in two lanes so you can alternate between them to slay your enemies. There isn’t much actual difference between levels, except for the rare platform, however there is certainly enough variety in the aesthetics of each level to keep things from getting stale. There are several different ecosystems represented and plenty of variation within these. The main hub of the map is a charming little village with NPCs that will help you on your journey. The village and the game’s final levels are certainly the highlight of these design elements.
The story is one of the less fleshed out aspects of Slayin 2. There is really no mention of the “quest” between the beginning and end. The best part of the story is talking to villagers and restoring the home base of the map. The dialogue is well written, but you could finish the game without reading anything and not be worse off for it.
Graphics / Art Direction
The sprites and backgrounds for this game are gorgeous. There are always multiple enemies on-screen and everything moves quickly but there was never any significant lag. Slayin 2 is beautifully optimized and the art style never gets stale. Truly something to behold. The sheer amount of vibrant colors is staggering, but it never feels overwhelming.
Music / Sound Design
The fast paced rock-ish soundtrack that accompanies the action of Slayin 2 is appropriate and pleasant overall. It’s a shame there wasn’t more variety in the music as the entire score seems to run together. However, it’s a small issue that doesn’t lessen the game’s clear quality.
Final Score: 89%
Slayin 2 was pleasantly surprising. While playing the tutorial, I worried that this would be a mindless hack and slash game with a thick nostalgia filter. I’ve rarely been so happy to be proven wrong. The simplicity of the core concept allowed for the developers to add layers of complexity to the combat and aesthetic beauty to the entire game. The result is one of pure fun: the gameplay and artwork is superb. This game is one of the most fun and simple I’ve played this year. Slayin 2 is something you might not look twice at while browsing the eShop, but is well worth playing. Even though the story mode is very short, the arcade mode and co-op capability makes this game one you can enjoy for a long while after the credits roll. Slayin 2 is expertly crafted and incredibly accessible for players of all skill ranges.
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