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Sin Slayers: The First Sin Review: An Apple Worth Eating

Indie RPG Sin Slayers: The First Sin came to life with a Kickstarter campaign. Developed by Goonswarm, makers of Alteric and Pandarama: The Lost Toys, it’s a pixel art style game with a turn-based combat system. While at first, it seemed a little repetitive, as soon as I began to unlock new characters and features I was quickly drawn into this world of sin and corruption.

Slaying The Sinners

Sin Slayers is set in the Valley of Fallen Sinners, with a number of foes corrupted by sin residing within its lands. There are beasts, cursed warriors, corrupted slimes, and all manner of other horrors. All are imbued with darkness and roam the valley, searching for respite and an end to their torment.

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Players are tasked with leading a team of heroes to explore the area, defeating foes, and discovering and destroying the seven seals of the Portal of the Worlds. Completing this mission will open the gates of the portals and allow all the tormented souls to escape their prison... at least, that’s what the legend says.

Setting Out

The game begins with three characters; a priestess, a warrior, and a huntress. They cover healing, melee, and ranged abilities, respectively. As you venture through the game, you will rescue and unlock extra characters with unique abilities. Your party can only ever contain three people, but different classes can be rotated in and out when you are in the church.

The church acts as your home base and is where all your important decisions are made. You can pick up quests, craft weapons and items, learn new skills, and customize your exploration party, including the order they fight in.

Once this is done, you can head out into one of the seven zones of the map. These areas are procedurally generated, so each exploration will yield different results, keeping fights and traps unpredictable.

You will need to explore every area at least twice in order to defeat the bosses required to destroy the seal for that zone. However, there are advantages to exploring beyond this. Each round of exploration can offer new opportunities to collect crafting items, discover hidden vendors, search for treasure and complete side quests.

Fighting Your Battles

The JRPG-style turn-based battle system is where I first came unstuck. To begin with, it felt too boring and repetitive. Players have access to only two skills and pretty much every fight involves exactly the same rotation of the stronger of these. The only variation was which target to hit.

There is also a sin system, which affects your foes more than I expected. Actions considered bad, such as looting corpses, will give you a sin value. As this adds up, your foes become stronger. While you can bring your sin level down by praying at altars, this has a cool-down and requires actually finding one.

I hadn’t noticed any real tangible effect of my sin level at first, so I got ahead of myself and began looting everything I could in my quest for more loot. As I ventured further into the forest, I began to get more and more complacent about both the fights and the sin meter. However, I was soon to discover that this was about to bite me.

The first major boss smacked me down, hard and fast. It was time for me to repent for my sins and to explore the leveling, crafting, and skill systems.

Customization For The Win

In order to defeat the more difficult foes, players will need to use the many customization options available. Due to previous fights being so easy, I hadn’t really thought much about this until it was too late. Once I ventured into it though, I hit the point where I began to see the real beauty of the game.

There are four entirely separate ways to customize your party. The first is through the members themselves, then through their skills, equipment, and finally, through the extra items you carry. Each of these four things will affect the outcome of fights. The key to defeating the game is selecting the best combination for the area you are exploring.

Through your inventory, accessed within the church, you can also craft items for your party, with each member being able to equip two specific types of items.

I discovered that even early on you can loot and craft some reasonable gear, which made the more difficult fights much easier. This menu also allows you to select the best skills for each party member. Finally, you can choose which items from your inventory you want to carry, such as healing potions, resurrection stars, and food.

One important thing to note is that leveling is a manual process. I hadn’t realized this at first and went through some fights wasting my experience. You need to level up your characters through this party screen, so keep an eye on your progress.

Verdict

Sin Slayers: The First Sin is an enjoyable, old-school-style RPG with turn-based combat and a few quirks. The different customization options and the unique sin system allow for a more in-depth experience than some other games of this type.

Once you progress into later levels, where choices become more important, expect the game to draw you in as you seek to level up and optimize your team for each challenge.

A simple but fitting soundtrack accompanies the retro style graphics to make this feel like the RPGs that were so common when I was younger.

I would have liked to see more detail in the narrative and an automatic leveling system, but overall, this game is enjoyable and immersive. Just make sure you don’t get too complacent or (trust me) it won’t end well.

4 Out Of 5 Stars

A Steam review copy of Sin Slayers: The First Sin was provided to TheGamer for this review. Sin Slayers: The First Sin is available on PC.

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