When Slain, an action-platformer described as a Castlevania-inspired game with a heavy metal aesthetic, launched earlier this year, it was highly anticipated based on its looks alone. Slain is a beautifully animated, 16-bit-style action game that looks great in GIF form.
Unfortunately, the game itself didn’t quite match up to the expectations of players lured in by its visual style. Now, developer Wolf Brew Games is trying to make good on Slain’s promise with an update, Slain: Back From Hell, that’s pitched as a "night and day" difference from the game that was released in March.
First, let’s take a look at a couple Slain GIFs, just as a reminder:
For as good as the game looked, it played pretty poorly. We went hands-on with a pre-release build of the game and walked away pretty disappointed. Slain didn’t control well, was filled with cheap, combo-wrecking deaths and just wasn’t much fun to play.
The developer recognized that Slain wasn’t that great at launch, explaining that rather than delay the game further, it planned to release the game, then patch it quickly. Here’s an explanation of the situation from Slain’s publisher, Digerati:
If you were looking forward to decapitating heads in Slain! and reigning in the blood of giant Flesh Hounds, werewolves and other monstrosities, then you may have been a little bummed when the game initially launched. With the prospect of Slain! slipping its release date yet again Digerati made the (now understood to be a tad reckless) call to release Slain! as it was and hot fix/patch over the next few weeks post release. Unfortunately, the problems turned out to be a lot deeper than first thought and then the original team disbanded, which left just the lead artist. The code that needed fixing fell on a new programmer’s shoulders, and he obviously had to take time to understand the new code base and then change/re-write big chunks that extended the timeline massively. But it is all fixed now and the game is where Digerati would've liked it to be the first time around.
Over the past few months, the developer has been releasing updates for the game designed to address its many shortcomings. (The game’s early Steam user reviews complained about the game’s combat, its combo system and lack of polish — issues that Slain’s developers have been tackling one by one.)
Today, Wolf Brew released the Back From Hell version of the game. The developers say they’ve "significantly changed and improved pretty much every single element of the game’s look and feel" over the past few months.
The changelist is extensive, touching on the game’s difficulty curve and checkpointing, new and refined boss encounters, new combat abilities, "100% re-scripted dialogue," and more.
Digerati has given Steam users who purchased a copy of Slain an extra key to gift to someone else. More details on Slain: Back From Hell are available on Steam and in the new trailer above.