Severed Preview

I only need one hand to slay all those who oppose me.

At last year’s PAX East, I only got to watch a trailer for Drinkbox Studio’s upcoming Vita title, Severed. It was enough to excite me then, so you can only imagine my elation to finally get my hands on their demo this year. Constructed like a point-and-click adventure game with real-time battles, the small bit I played managed to keep me pumped for the final product.


Our unnamed heroine starts the demo looking through what appears to be her destroyed home, where her family used to live. Soon, she comes across a mirror where she sees herself, presumably for the first time, missing her one arm. Behind her, a spirit of some sort grants her a sword and she learns the basics of wielding it. When she turns back to the mirror, her look of surprise is replaced with that of sheer determination. She’s going to get revenge.

While searching the surrounding area, I got to fight some of the various enemies. The way battles work is that these unique creatures charge up to attack, and when they’re little timer circle alerts you, you’re expect to parry and catch them off guard. Once this is done, depending on the enemy, you can go nuts slashing at the enemy’s weak spot, such as its eye. Eventually, with enough successful parries and slashes, you can enter a special mode by tapping on the enemy while it’s exposed. This mode prompts you to precisely slash off limbs and slice foes in half to a satisfying finish.

The challenge ramps up when you face more than one enemy, however. The heroine can only face in each cardinal direction, so you’re not able to put both enemies in view. Instead, by monitoring their timer circles and learning how their attacks function, such as by slowing you down, you make determinations of which enemies to parry or distract. Eventually, when abilities open up, such as the ability to absorb an enemy’s buff, you must utilize them to gain the upper hand. Successfully employing crowd control leads to enemies dropping more items used to strengthen the protagonist further.

I only got to sample a small portion of the beginning of Severed, but Chris McQuinn, the designer, demoed how the current build functions and showed me the aforementioned abilities in action. After an emotional ending to the demo, where I discovered the fate of a family member, my curiosity was piqued for what’s to come. Like everyone else who got to try the game out, I’m anxious to wait until this summer for release.