I’ve led my team deep into the Forest of Gluttony. Our mission? To slay the first of the seven sinlords and end his evil scourge upon the land. But I never imagined his forces could be so powerful. My team is badly wounded, and there’s no end in sight. For though our combined strength is great, how can you possibly defeat sin itself?
Sin Slayers is a melancholic RPG roguelike that draws inspiration from — you guessed it — the seven deadly sins. With the world in chaos, you must lead a team of heroes into battle. Journey across the game’s seven different regions, completing quests, unlocking secrets, and cleansing evil along the way. Do you dare take on the challenge?
- What is Sin Slayers? A dark-themed fantasy RPG w/ roguelike elements
- Game Modes: Campaign
- Reviewed On: PC
- Platforms: PC, Mac, Linux
- Developer: Goonswarm
- Release: September 5, 2019
- Business Model: Sales & DLCs
- Price: $14.99
The Impossible Quest
Launch into the adventure, and you’ll be greeted by a stunning cut-scene that takes you through the lore behind Sin Slayers. For the most part, the feel here is well-executed, with sharp animations and vivid imagery. The one caveat? The voice acting is very hard to understand, and it doesn’t match the subtitles on the screen.
Get past this hiccup, and you’ll enter the Grand Church, which acts as your sanctuary throughout the game. This is where you’re introduced to your primary guide (and keeper), the Blind Sage. He explains the game’s primary objective and offers you your first quest. From here, you’re given free rein to navigate and explore the rest of the kingdom.
But before you begin, you’ll need to meet your team. While there are ten playable classes within Sin Slayers, you begin the game with just the Priestess, Huntress, and Warrior. Open the menu screen to assemble the party in battle order, then embark on your quest.
A World of Sin
Exit the big wooden doors at the front of the church and locate your quest area on the breathtaking world map. Upon seeing it for the first time, I was absolutely entranced by the vibrant colors and fantasy-style scenery. There are castles, mountain ranges, forests, and all the cartographic goodies that make fantasy maps so riveting.
My first stop in this world of sin? The infamous Forest of Gluttony.
Upon entering this new land, you’re given total control over your character’s movement for the first time. Simply hover over a tile, and a guiding marker with directional arrows will appear. Tile-by-tile your heroes follow your chosen path and move as a single unit.
But be wary! Things are never as they seem, and unmasking the wrong tile could spell doom. In addition to the flustering booby traps (a true staple of any roguelike), there are also decrepit bodies and tombs scattered throughout the wilderness. Choose to investigate the situation, or go on your way – it’s up to you. But your actions aren’t without their consequences.
Enter the sin-o-meter. Each ethical action you take decreases your sin-o-meter, while each immoral action boosts it. Be careful! If your sin-o-meter gets too high, powerful monsters will descend upon you like lions to a sacrificial lamb.
The Mark of the Devil
Sooner or later, you’ll uncover a tile that’s home to one of the game’s many demonic forces. You’re the mark, and there’s only one way out: win.
Sin Slayers features a turn-based system that cycles between each of your characters, as well as the enemy NPCs. At the start of each confrontation, each combatant has access to their most basic abilities, which deal moderate amounts of damage, while the more powerful abilities require Rage.
You gain Rage as you engage in combat, and it remains a finite resource throughout the battle. Use it up, and you’ll have to accumulate more. That means you must strategize your use of Rage, or you’ll only have access to weaker attacks — a deadly mistake that cost me several battles early on in my journey.
Fortunately, Sin Slayers presents ever more detailed information about the environment as you play, and this helps tame the difficulty. Take the bestiary, for example. Accessible from the in-game menu, here you’ll find intimate details on the different stats and weaknesses of all the frightening enemies you’ve encountered, from possessed humans to satanic ghosts hellbent on ensnaring your soul.
Level the Playing Field
Make it through your battles alive, and you’ll gain experience points. Like many traditional RPGs, you can use these XP points to boost your character’s stats. But gaining new skills is an entirely different beast. And it’s also what sets Sin Slayers apart.
You see, gaining a new skill requires advancing a skill tier. Each character boasts several different skill tiers, and each tier features a handful of different abilities – but you can only choose one at a time. This is particularly difficult considering that the abilities of each character affect more than just that one hero – they affect the entire team.
The symbiotic relationship between all your hero’s skills makes finding the perfect amalgamation of abilities a critical process. Especially when you consider that there are ten different classes to choose from.
The end result on my team? Long-range missiles and swift strikes from my archer, devastating melee blows from my warrior, and blasts of holy essence from my mage. Together, they became a force to be trifled with. But nailing this configuration was no easy task.
Fortunately, new understandings of certain mechanics would dawn on me throughout my journey, and often just in the nick of time. It was as if a guardian angel was there to guide my movements in the battle against sin. Either that, or it was all strategically planned by the dev team.
On that note, I think Sin Slayer’s development team did an astounding job balancing all of the game’s intricate complexities. It’s a real joy to explore the system and see how each of the parts interact with one another. From the combat, to the tile-based exploration mechanics, to the game’s robust crafting system, Sin Slayers offers a little something for fans of RPGs and roguelikes alike.
So what are you waiting for? Gather your team of apostles, and embark on a mission to vanquish darkness from the realm. With a little luck and some strategic planning, you may be able to accomplish the impossible after all.
High Ground View
Next, let’s take a closer look at the different elements within Sin Slayers. We’ve categorized the different elements based on RPG, Roguelike, and Art elements.
Sin Slayers features all your favorite RPG elements while adding in some fresh and exciting twists. You’ve got fleshed out lore and questlines. Epic fantasy characters. Turn-based combat that incorporates JRPG elements for all the turn-based goodness you could ask for. And my personal favorite — the crafting system, which offers not just armor and weapons, but the ability to cook food, brew potions, and construct other useful tools.
Each milestone in Sin Slayers truly feels like a hard-earned reward. And so it is — because while the game can be exceptionally difficult at times, it’s never too much. An expertly balanced RPG.
Sin Slayers features a procedurally generated top-down map system that guarantees a new hack ‘n slash adventure every time. In that sense, it offers a classic roguelike experience that’s sure to delight even the most nitpicky fans of the genre.
My favorite roguelike feature? As you travel across unexplored tiles, your characters regenerate special abilities that assist with exploration. The Priestess, for instance, can heal the party. The Ranger can scope out the field ahead and shield you from unwanted encounters. The system is very well balanced, and a delight to explore. And that’s exactly what roguelikes should be.
In terms of art elements, Sin Slayer meets and exceeds expectations. The pixel art is gorgeous, and the atmosphere is seriously haunting. The dark theme combined with spine-chilling music and sound effects remind me of the old school Diablo titles that I absolutely love. Huge kudos to the dev team.
A couple of caveats, however. As mentioned earlier, the voice acting is incredibly disappointing. I can’t stress this enough. The narration doesn’t even match the subtitles! And though the overall story is great, the introduction seems a bit lazy in terms of the setup. It seems like a convenient way to set the stage, but it doesn’t match the vibe of the rest of the game.
Sin Slayers is an enchanting indie title developed by a small team out of Russia. The dark-themed pixel art is gorgeous, the loading screens are breathtaking, and the overall feel of the game resembles a product launched by a team twice the size. It’s well worth the $14.99 price tag.
Game title: Sin Slayers
Game description: A dark roguelike RPG that’s loosely inspired by the seven deadly sins. Assemble a team of heroes and embark on your quest to rid the world of evil.
RPG Elements - 9/10
Roguelike Elements - 8/10
Art Elements - 7/10
Sin Slayers is an expertly balanced RPG game. Entering the mysterious world, creating a badass team of heroes, and taking down the sinlords in a turn-based fantasy setting is everything you’d expect, and so much more. At $14.99, it’s a real steal of a deal. So go on – commit the sin of greed and pick yourself up a copy.
- Immersive world & storyline
- Easy to learn the basics
- Beautiful pixel graphics
- Sluggish start
- Frustrating voice acting
- PC only