Everyone dreams of a peaceful life, a beautiful house, and serenity. However, this rarely happens, especially when your land is invaded by monsters! What would you do if this happened to your homeland? Would you sit back and allow it to happen, or would you fight back? Apple Slash is an old-school monochromatic game that tests your ability to defend your home.
Developed by Agelvik and published by Ratalaika Games, this is a retro 8-Bit action-adventure title. You are a mighty apple knight who wields a god-like sword! Your murky swamp may be considered foul by some, but to you, it’s home. When mysterious blob-like creatures invade your land, you grab your weapon and slash away.
Apple Slash is a quick and simple adventure.
Like many games from a bygone era, Apple Slash is a quick and simple adventure. I admit I flew through this in well under an hour. Strangely, I wasn’t disappointed with the short gameplay, instead, I was left frustrated as I desperately wanted more. This has plenty of potential with some unique combat mechanics, fun and adorable NPCs, and interesting monsters. Sadly, however, its short tale will leave you feeling cheated.
The combat’s hack ‘n slash nature is moreish, and I loved how the monsters repeatedly spawned back in. You’ll take on acid-spitting frogs, tiny blobs, and monstrous creatures. As you flail your weapon madly, you’ll decimate each of your foes. This was fantastic fun and never got old. Yet, you’ll beg for it to move on from its simple foundations. Each battle follows the same pattern and you’ll wonder why the developers failed to capitalise on their creation.
Fun puzzles and interesting abilities!
The key concept of new abilities opening up previously locked areas was fantastic. I loved how exploration and secrets rewarded you with new abilities. Most revolve around stronger and more bizarre attack methods. These can be combined to kill wave after wave of monsters or to hack down bushes and vines. You’ll also learn how to create magical bridges to reach previously inaccessible places. I liked how this helped to connect the paths in the swamp, but it made a tiny world just that bit smaller. It was a shame, as it made a semi open-world feel very restrictive.
The developers cleverly sneaked in some fun yet basic puzzles. The combination of switches and new paths were nothing new, but it was constructed accessibly. Each puzzle funnelled the gameplay to the one massive blob that acts as the end game boss. This was great, but came far too quickly, even though there were plenty of humorous moments along the way.
The boss tests your ability to combine each skill while avoiding his minions and blows. Once you learn his simple attack pattern, you’ll annihilate him with ease. I wish Agelvik made this fight much tougher while combining many of the brilliant exploration elements that make this game really enjoyable.
Apple Slash has nice indie graphics and surreal sounds.
The mainly monochromatic colour palette and simple imagery were lovely to look at. With a dank world to explore and contrasting tones, it was easy to navigate around the small maze-like environment. The Gameboy-style perspective emphasised the retro approach and the limited view helped to make the swamp feel larger. The gameplay ran smoothly and even when there were large numbers of enemies there were no problems.
The strange nature of Apple Slash is reflected in the surreal soundtrack. The airy and mystical music was supported by loud and OTT sound effects. The swoosh of your blade as you sliced through monsters was ridiculous but brilliant. Sadly, there is no acting for the weird conversations and this is the only element I would have liked to be different. If acting was added it would have made the humorous interactions funnier still.
The awkward controls quickly become second nature.
I was surprised by how awkward the straightforward controls were to master. Selecting abilities and aiming with the analogue sticks was fiddly, to begin with. Yet, after a small amount of practice, it quickly became second nature. Once you get to grips with the control system, you’ll note it’s a pleasure to play. Until that point, it’s frustrating and will leave you feeling annoyed.
Another area this short title is lacking is replay value. Comprising around one hour of gameplay and no reason to return, this won’t push you to keep playing. However, this makes it a completionist’s dream, as the small achievement list is unlocked with ease. As previously stated, I loved what I experienced. I simply wanted much more. I wish the developer created more lands to explore as this would have made Apple Slash much more interesting.
Apple Slash is enjoyable but it could have been fantastic.
Apple Slash is a great, short indie title that I thoroughly enjoyed, yet it fails to reach its potential. With so much going for it, it could have been fantastic. I recommend you buy it here, but be aware it’s extremely short. Learn some new abilities for your god-like sword and remove the monsters from your beloved swamp.