Sclash – Game Review

Sclash is the newest game from publisher Just For Games (who also recently brought us Saga of Sins), the first ever game from developer Bevel Bakery that’s currently available on PC through Steam, and will also be coming to Playstation 4 & 5 sometime soon.

There is the core of a fun game here, but it’s accompanied by a raft of technical issues that make it difficult to recommend in its current state. The story is your classic tale of good vs evil, revenge, betrayal, and true love. It’s the story of two warring clans of samurai backed by opposing gods.

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On one side the Aki clan, followers of the the raven god, Tengu. On the other, the Natsu clan, followers of the trickster god Kitsune. You play Jinmu, an orphan raised by the leader of the Aki clan, Sunsanoo. The game starts with you finishing your training and setting out to fight with your clan against the warriors from the Natsu clan. But is everything you’ve been told actually true? Are the Natsu really the aggressors or do they have a good reason to be fighting with you? Soon Jinmu learns that not everything is black and white, that his heroes might not be as honourable and virtuous as he thinks, and he might even need to enlist the help of another god in his quest to find the truth and bring peace back to the land.

Gameplay-wise it could be classed as something Souls-like in that you have a dodge mechanic and a stamina bar. It’s also reminiscent of the old PS1 title Bushido Blade, with most fights decided in a single hit, except for bosses who require multiple hits to defeat (more on that later!). There’s a story mode to play through which is… short. Very short. I completed it in two hours, and someone more skilled than me will likely find themselves watching the end credits in even less time than that. That said, the game is also super cheap (about $10/£7.49), so I won’t hold the short playtime against it.

© 2023 Just for Games, Abiding Bridge, Bevel bakery.

What I will hold against it, though, is the janky combat. When your game relies on precision and timing for the fights it can be deeply frustrating to have enemies hit you mid-dodge, or for your strike to somehow hit someone when their model is inside yours. The fighting feels sloppy, with attacks you think will hit somehow missing, and ones you think will miss landing instead! Sometimes it feels like you defeat opponents through luck instead of skill.

The marketing for the game also boasts local multiplayer, and the ability to fight against AI opponents to hone your skills. Online multiplayer is promised, but is currently unavailable as of time of writing. That’s about it for the game! There’s also a gallery where you can view unlocked items, and the ability to customise your character in these one-on-one fights with any of the items you’ve unlocked.

Graphically the game is gorgeous to look at, with a lovely hand-painted art style that means pretty much every screenshot you could take looks like a work of art. The music is perfectly decent, if nothing to write home about. It perfectly conveys the atmosphere the developers are going for. The voice work is serviceable. Some of the dialogue is a bit kitsch and cheesy, but it gets the job done, and given that the developers of this game are French, we can perhaps excuse the English translation not being entirely perfect.

© 2023 Just for Games, Abiding Bridge, Bevel bakery.

Now, unfortunately, we need to get to the things that aren’t so good and, sadly, it’s a long list. There is a slew of technical and gameplay issues that make this title feel rough and unpolished. Setting the voice volume to max results in the voices becoming distorted, like the voice actors were sitting too close to the mic. Just pressing the pause button rather than pressing and holding results in the cursor being trapped behind the settings menu, forcing a restart of the game.

If you don’t have subtitles turned on, then there’s no indication given in dialogue sections that a character has finished talking, and sometimes characters don’t have an icon at all. You also need to press a button after every line of dialogue to progress the scene which grows a bit tiresome in some of the extended conversations. The game has a narrator a la Bastion, though she doesn’t respond to your actions, just tells the story. It’s a nice idea, but sometimes her voice cuts off mid-sentence. Characters also have a habit of saying their lines over each other.

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-On ultra-widescreen (5120×1440), the top and bottom of the game extend off the screen when you’re in the menus and there’s no option to change the resolution, meaning it wasn’t until I was over an hour in before I realised the game even had a gallery option as it was hidden. The game is a ridiculous GPU hog. It uses nearly 97% GPU on an RTX 3070 at 210 fps and there are no options in game to lock the frame rate or change the resolution.

In its current state, Sclash is hard to recommend, even right now when it’s available for less than $10 with a launch discount. There is a good game here, one that could be a lot of fun to revisit and practice, but right now it’s one that needs some post-launch TLC from the developers to smooth those rough edges off and make it a little more gentle with PC hardware. Keep an eye on it, but hold off for now.

Sclash is out now for PC via Steam, and will be released on consoles later this year.

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