Review: Slash It

The name is wrong.

Developers: Just1337 Studio, Crohack
Publisher: Just1337 Publisher
Platforms: PC
Release: 16th December, 2016
Copy purchased

yellow

Slash It is a game with absolutely no slashing involved, Just1337 Studio and Crohack’s oddly named title is instead about mashing your keyboard to on screen prompts. Not much complexity involved in playing Slash It, just following button prompts on an almost too colourful background set to some decent electronic tracks.Slash It is not an ambitious game, it seems to be designed to be more of quick time killer, with short gameplay sessions in mind and the ever replayable objective in the form of a score leaderboard.

Slash It is not a visually busy game, it’s essentially just grey button prompts set against a monochromatic background that occasionally switches colours. The constant colour, while keeping the game visually interesting, really test your eyes, I couldn’t comfortably keep playing for longer than 20 minutes at a time. The occasional colour set also managed to obscure some of the on screen prompts, rendering them almost invisible. Aside from the visuals, there’s also a different piece of electronic music featured for each stage, it’s pretty good, but not mindblowing. The overall presentation of Slash It isn’t special, but it gets the job done, most of the time.

numbers

The core gameplay revolves around hitting buttons in time to various on screen prompts, it’s incredibly simple and easy to get into, but runs the risk of quickly growing old. In an effort to mix the gameplay up, you’re provided with six different game modes, although I use the term different very loosely. The amount of game modes is actually somewhat limited, arguably presenting only three distinct modes. Even then they only change what kind of prompts to expect. I definitely would have liked to see more variety in the way the gameplay loop was implemented, there was a lot of missed potential there.

Classic is the first mode available and serves as an introduction to the basic gameplay premise, despite easily being Slash It’s most distinct mode. Its premise is simple, hit the spacebar when the shapes line up. Classic takes Slash It’s simplicity to the extreme, the gameplay is boiled down to only one button, focusing the goal on accurate timing rather than accurate typing. Classic also shows of the worst of the visual effect, the background colour swaps every time a point is scored, rapidly becoming annoying and even painful after a while. What’s worse is that some palettes almost completely obscure the precise targets, making Classic difficult for all the frustratingly wrong reasons.

colourblind

The other game modes are incredibly similar to each other, they’re all about typing your keyboard match onscreen keyboard prompts. The only variation comes in the form of whether you’re going to be seeing letters or numbers on screen, unless you opt for a Twisted mode, where the prompts flip and spin in an effort to confuse you. Aside from the final “Insane” mode, the difficulting is constantly mild, never really getting too wild, even with the Twisted variants. The difficulty really shows that this game is meant to be a cathartic time sink, rather than an engrossing, immersive experience. If you’ve good at touch typing, this game is almost no challenge until the last mode.

Slash It has a strange obsession with achievements, for some reason it offers “300+” of the bloody things as a selling point. The store page claims they’re “easy achievements” which is a major understatement, most of them are unlocked incidentally while playing, if they’re so easy, why are they considered achievements? They wouldn’t even be worth mentioning if wasn’t pitched as a sale point on the store page. Also a series of total playtime achievements ends at 45 minutes, which proves this game isn’t meant for long sessions.

letters

On top of this the game also has a progression system, a linear progression of levels that gate off the different game modes. I can see  the benefit of easing players into the more challenging modes, but it came at the cost of becoming a grind to unlock the last two modes. Ultimately, the leveling system felt like an excuse to cram more achievements into the game rather than an well thought out and integrated aspect. 

Slash It is not an easy game to recommend. While being well made for the most part, it just wasn’t that compelling for me. The gameplay was easy to learn and get to grips with but that came at the cost of doing anything interesting or innovative. The visuals didn’t like much is happening on screen at first, but a barrage of contrasting colours quickly became overwhelming, especially when they still managed to obstruct the gameplay. The progression system seemed like a decent way to ease players into harder game modes, but it just made unlocking later modes a grind. Overall, I’d say that Slash It works best as a way to practise touch typing or as a relaxing time killer, although it’s also pretty good at killing eyesight.

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