In a society where religion is everything and the sacrifice of a first born is required to maintain life for everyone else. A single mother does her duty giving her first born so that the sun plants will continue to let the village survive. At least until a strange traveler arrives and makes her question everything and points her to a dark path that will shatter her world. Developed by Solar Sail Games and published by Curve Digital, players take on the role of Sachi in an open world crafting ad fighting game.
The game focuses entirely on Sachi, a female protagonist, in a small village. As is customary, a sacrifice of a first born child is needed in order to maintain a large light bulb referred to by the villagers as the Sun Tree. Taking on a religious aspect, this is a norm of village life. Heartbroken, Sachi is greeted by a traveling merchant giving her a pendant. Before he disappears, he passes along a cryptic phrase implying her child isn’t gone. Seven years later, Sachi is absorbed by fate when the Sun Tree dies and the village is under attack she uses the opening to sacrifice herself and instead finds herself teleported to a smoke filled land filled with hostile creatures.
The game itself is rather simplistic in it’s combat system. In fact, if I had to compare it to something, it’d be Don’t Starve like, minus a hunger bar. Weapons have different stats based on the materials that are used to craft it. There is also a basic dodge system, which aside from armor, is the only way to avoid taking damage from environment threats as well as large monsters. The environmental threats are easy to surprise you when you first encounter them. But the threat is the large monsters that roam around. For beginning players that’s going to be smoke ghosts which hit ridiculously hard and have a stun effect that knocks your lantern from your hand making you deal with the health draining smoke. There were plenty of times where after a serious fight and losing to an unlucky dodge miss, I rage quit the game.
The game’s focus is on the crafting element. As the story progresses, Sachi will be thought newer and more difficult recipes. Some of which require specific crafting tables in order for them to be used. There isn’t much indication of where most of the items can be found as well. Which does add quite a bit of difficulty to the crafting element of the game. Even worse when you realize there’s a limited inventory system, you might not have everything that you need to hand. Which is then compounded by the fact that materials degrade, such as food items from animals. From personal experience there’s nothing more frustrating than having to rush to a cauldron to make imperishable food only to have it decay away.
All in all, this is one of the tougher games that I’ve played recently. Some of the challenges that I cam across have actual quest assignments but there isn’t anyway for me to see if I’m at the correct equipment level in order to face any given challenge. In addition, I was going to complain that the saving system had a massive flaw, but that was resolved with a save system linked to game progression. So while for any hot saves you have to travel to the original start location, you at least won’t lose a few hours of progress due to misfortune. Similar to Dark Souls, you will become adequate at the combat portion of the games by dying…a lot. But then again, if you are a glutton for punishment, this game might actually interest you.
The game is currently available on all gaming platforms and through PC on Steam. So if what I said interests you, you can pick it up there. Until next time…
Smoke and Sacrifice
- Enticing story of a mother searching for her son
- Hand drawn art style
- Low skill floor, high reward ceiling
- Save system far more lenient
- Early game is brutal
- No way to tell if a challenge is too difficult before getting there
- Ever expanding recipes can be a bit daunting