Welcome, you poor damned souls! *Insert demonic cackle here* Welcome to Saga of Sins and the doomed village of Sinwell. Home to poor, simple folk who have lately found themselves suffering under both a terrible plague, and an infestation of demonic corruption that turns the villagers away from God and down a dark path! Each damned soul is afflicted with an infernal malady relating to one of the seven deadly sins.
Returning home from the Crusades, you play the cleric Cecil, who is granted the power to enter the minds of the villagers and root out the corruption within. He does this by taking on one of three forms (plus one SUPER SECRET FINAL FORM), each offering slightly different combat mechanics such as the fire-breathing gargoyle or the fireball-spitting werewolf. Why does a werewolf spit fireballs? The answer is shush and go kill some demons! You journey through the mind of the villager, fighting an assortment of creatures from flying fish and giant wasps to sonic-attack spitting birds and weird, contorted monstrosities with scythes for hands.
Saga of Sins plays out as a fairly standard action-platformer a la Metroid, Blasphemous and the like. The village holds 31 villagers – 21 sinners and 10 innocents for Cecil to attempt to cleanse. The innocents are more of a puzzle level for extra gold coins. One sees you lighting braziers in a particular order, another has you shooting targets as you fall down a huge “test your strength” themed level. The coins are important as you use these to upgrade your abilities, such as giving yourself more health or extending the range of the gargoyle’s fire breath. There is something of a balance issue when it comes to the various forms. Once you unlock the griffin it will most likely end up being the de facto choice for most levels as it does everything the other two do, but better.
There’s also a dearth of real variation in the levels and enemies, with everything starting to look a little samey after a while. Once you’ve jumped and power dashed across your third lake of instant-death they start to blur together a bit. The same puzzles requiring you to use specific forms to overcome, the same selection of enemies, the same occasionally cheap deaths and all but unavoidable damage inflicted on you by enemies that come in at just the wrong angle for you to attack. That’s a gripe of most of these kinds of games, though, certainly nothing unique to Saga of Sins.
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The biggest thing the game has going for it is the art style, which is rather distinctive. The visuals are designed to look like a stained glass window, with distortions in the corners and along the sides of the windows as if you’re looking through a window at the game. It’s rather nice, even if the animations for the characters are rather stilted, though that could be part of the aesthetic, with them moving stiffly, like a marionette. The glass conceit even extends to the way they take damage, with enemies and armour cracking and then shattering into pieces under the impact of your fireballs.
The game is relatively short, and skilled players will likely take around four hours to beat it. This is reflected in the quite reasonable price of £15.99 on Steam. The game is also available for Nintendo Switch, PS4 and 5 and XBox Series X/S. In the end, though, it’s difficult to find anything to seriously recommend it, or condemn it for that matter. It falls into that shadowy valley of being solidly “fine”. It plays fine, we encountered no crashes or technical issues in our time testing it. The gameplay is solidly fine, treading no real new ground. It’s not a bad game, but it’s not a “oh my god, I need this in my life” either. If you’re a big fan of platformers and want something a little different from the sprite based art and demakes, then this one could be worth a look.
Saga of Sins is out now on various platforms from Just For Games.