Sin Slayers: The First Sin by Goonswarm
Sin Slayers: The First Sin is a classic turn-based RPG featuring randomly-generated environments populated by monsters and themes based on the “seven deadly sins.”
The combat is based heavily on traditional JRPG conventions with each character and enemy taking a turn in order of relative speed. All the old hallmarks are here, from special moves with limited use (in this case based on “rage points”) to items that can restore fainted characters.
What, then, does Sin Slayers do differently?
The story of Sin Slayers revolves around a grim afterlife where heroes from many worlds are trapped. The game itself struggles to convey its narrative effectively due to some subpar writing. Whether due to translation issues or simple errors, much of the dialogue and text in Sin Slayers features poor grammar and sometimes completely nonsensical sentence structure.
Thankfully, much of the plot seems to be very straightforward and simply provides an excuse for the next quest to annihilate monstrous foes.
Thankfully, despite the writing issues extending to the tutorials, the JRPG gameplay is extremely easy to get to grips with, and the game wastes no time in getting to the action. A church serves as a hub area where new items can be crafted and characters rotated in and out of the team. Beyond this, there are several locations that can be visited to explore randomly generated grids and gather resources to progress.
Same Old Sinners
Three characters are available at the start of the game, with several more being unlockable or in development. The starter characters include a tough warrior wielding sword and shield, an archer capable of high damage and a priestess who can heal: pretty much the classic JRPG triumvirate.
I have found that the healer is, as you might expect, almost essential for maintaining group survival during exploration, but it is always fun to have options and to tweak party composition.
Each character has an out of combat ability that is useful on the grid map of each area. Of the starting characters, the warrior can reveal nearby event tiles, the healer can regenerate hit points for the entire team, and the archer can allow the group to retreat from an unfavorable engagement before it begins.
The game is fairly well-balanced overall, providing a solid challenge while rewarding careful play. I found that successful exploration depends extensively on using these skills wisely; each skill has a cooldown that only passes by exploring new tiles, so measured and cautious progress is necessary to advance and to stay safe.
Seven Times Deadlier
In addition to the usual perils of combat, Sin Slayers also features a “sin-o-meter” that increases as you interact with events or perform certain region-specific acts. In Gluttony’s realm, for example, consuming food products (often useful for regaining health) will increase sin level. If this level gets too high, enemies will become stronger.
This is an interesting system, but I did find that it can result in situations where the power level of enemies is irrevocably high. Nonetheless, with a little tweaking, this could be an intriguing twist on the JRPG structure.
Aesthetically, Sin Slayers has a nice variety of environments, and some of its animations are quite charming. The music is similarly effective at crafting a grim atmosphere of a dark and corrupted world.
At the moment, any level of polish is held back by the writing issues; some of the combat dialogue given to characters is especially troublesome. Of course, a few rewrites should solve this problem in the long run.
Sin Slayers is an accessible JRPG experience with an interesting twist in the form of the sin system. The combat is punchy and challenging, making for a fun game for drop-ins or for lengthier sessions. The game is far from finished, with several areas currently in development, but Sin Slayers is definitely worth watching as it grows.
Sin Slayers: The First Sin is available as a demo via Steam.
Watch the official trailer for Sin Slayers: The First Sin below: