LifeisXbox’s Apple Slash Review | You would be mistaken if you thought this game, Apple Slash, that I’m about to review was from one of the many studios formed by a AAA company. Instead, this gem of a game is created by a very talented Norwegian indie developer who goes by the name Agelvik and has been published by Ratalaika Games S.L.
In Apple Slash you must repel an invasion of mysterious charming creatures in a vast murky marshland, save the local village boy, and unlock mysterious new powers for your trusty sword. The game is quite challenging in places, but does it deserve your attention? Read on to find out.
ℹ️ | We played Apple Slash for your One Hour on Xbox Series S. This game is also available on Xbox One and S/X, PlayStation 4/5, Nintendo Switch, Microsoft Windows, and Steam.
What we liked!
- Striking your foes in a God-like manner | One of the best parts of Apple Slash is feeling like an unstoppable force with your sword at your side. The sword acts as your only weapon however, you can unlock different abilities as you work your way through the level that allows your sword to spin for a duration of time dealing damage, dealing fire damage, shooting a barrage of swords at the enemy, and causing a huge sword to come smashing down into the middle of the battlefield. The whole ordeal makes you feel strong, and linking these abilities creates a great satisfaction level when vanquishing foes.
- The art style | Retro is coming back in a big way. The number of new PS1-inspired games I see daily in the indie scene never ceases to amaze me. With Apple Slash, however, they have taken the more classic NES approach from the late ‘80s. Combined with a very striking and limited palette colour of black, white, and red, the game really shines and sticks out quite well. The enemies will flash between black, red, and white before attacking giving you a satisfactory visible cue to know when to dodge. There is enough of an enemy variety to get you through the game’s playtime and a decent story to keep you engaged. Looking at the developers’ other games, it seems he has found a liking to the visual style since their upcoming game Gun Devil also uses this. Everything here is also hand-drawn and animated with Unity’s 2D game engine. It’s quite impressive the level of detail that they have gone for here as this would have been a very time-consuming process, but the whole aesthetic of the game looks great!
- The Music | For such a small game the soundtrack really accompanies the game well. In total there are a total of 11 tracks which totals around 30 minutes in total. The style of music is modern midi tracks infused with old-school chiptune. This is largely composed by Hallvard Ulsund and makes for a great listen if you pick up the version with the soundtrack. The soundtrack is very reminiscent of older Final Fantasy games with some really upbeat tracks.
- The lack of Side Quests | As mentioned earlier the story is good and engaging enough on its own to hold your attention. However, given the length of the game (around 30 minutes), this would have been an ample opportunity to generate more side quests for the player to experience the world. Apart from the main story, there is only one real side quest which is recovering the cart boy from the woods and returning him to his father. Unfortunately, this still gets intertwined with the main story and ultimately leads you to the final boss. Apart from this, there are no other quests to complete and everything just falls into place as you progress naturally.
- Lack of Bosses | Whilst the enemy variation certainly fits well within the environment and timeline, the lack of boss types or even just more powerful enemies is lost here. The enemies you do already face can be killed off within a few slashes and it would have been nice to see some type of mini-boss to defeat which then unlocks your new abilities. Instead, we have the one boss at the end which also wraps up the story. It’s a missed opportunity that I feel would have been appreciated by many picking up this game.
What we disliked
- The length of gameplay | The biggest disappointment for me was the length of gameplay. It’s only really a disappointment for me given how much I was enjoying the game, so this comes from a sense of wanting more. The game is good overall and as a result, left me wanting more. At £4.99 it’s not a bad price point but some may argue that the pricing to what you get isn’t worth it. After all, there are no extra modes to speak of. No New Game +, no difficulty levels to experience. Essentially when it’s done, it’s done and you start off exactly the same as before.
- Accessibility | Very few indie games these days add options for the ever-growing issue of players with accessibility needs. With this game specifically, it would have been great to see the addition of colour deficiency correction settings. The black, red, and white palette mentioned earlier could be almost a no-go for some people due to the certain colour blind needs of people. Protanopia and Deuteranopia suffers may want to avoid this game.
How long to beat the story | 30 Minutes
How long to achieve 1000G | 60 Minutes
Similar with | Minit and Shovel Knight. The art style and combat are highly similar and make a great formula.
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Gaming is in my blood. Be it handheld games, Xbox, PC, Switch or Playstation, I am all over it.
I make my own games as part of my profession and love playing co op games with friends in my spare time. Avid dog lover and camper van enthusiast.