Is Severed the last great title for the Vita? Many might assume so. But regardless, if you’ve enjoyed what unique experiences have been on the Vita so far, Severed is a worthy addition to your collection.
From Drinkbox Studios, the developer behind Guacamelee!, Severed is a title exclusive to Sony’s PlayStation Vita (No, really!), and takes full advantage of the handheld’s touchscreen. Throughout the game, you play as a one-handed girl named Sasha who wakes up in a world of nightmares and goes in search of her family. If you’re looking for a deep story, Severed’s probably not going to fill that void. That one sentence is essentially as deep as it gets here. A few more details as to what exactly is happening would have been a welcome addition, but it only slightly detracts from the game overall.
Severed is a first-person dungeon crawler in which touch based combat mechanics take center stage. Sasha explores five different areas, solving puzzles and fighting enemies using her sword, which in reality, is you swiping your finger. The various types of enemies you come across require you to swipe across the screen in different ways, sometimes for a long period of time, and sometimes even enough to make your hand sore. Discovering and defeating enemy patterns is a rewarding and fun experience unique to this touch screen premise and it fits the game quite well.
Combat can seem tricky at first, but it quickly becomes second nature after the initial battles. The difficulty amps up shortly as you’re required to balance more and more enemies with each encounter. Severed then adds special status abilities, increasing the need for strategy, such as one foe boasting a higher defense or the ability to regain health as the battle goes on.
A swipe of the finger not only damages enemies, but is also used to block their incoming attacks. Blocking can be a vital move in each battle as sometimes choosing to stop the right move can make or break a fight for you.
Besides the standard health and mana meters, Sasha also has a focus meter which begins to fill up with each slash dealt to an enemy. If Sasha defeats an enemy when her meter is full, a few swipes of your finger will “sever” parts off of each enemy that are then used for gaining new abilities in Sasha’s skill trees. With the right parts, you can control which abilities she gains first in combat, adding a touch of RPG elements that give you control over what Sasha can do.
Severed’s art style will be recognizable to anyone who played Guacamelee! with its bright colors and unique settings. Each area contains its own patterns and styles, and while moving through the world requires a great deal of focusing on the mini map, it’s generally a fun world to explore. Certain portions of each area are blocked off your first time through and are not accessible until you come back later with abilities you have gained along the way. But Severed successfully made me want to go back and make sure each area was completed to 100%.
The game’s main campaign will likely take most people between six and eight hours, but by the time I had found every secret and explored every nook and cranny, my game clock finished at just over ten hours. It took me the first hour or two to really get into the game, but once I did, I was hooked and left wanting more. Here’s to a great Vita experience that is absolutely worth a swipe.