Severed review: The best slice of the Vita pie
Severed is the first must own PS Vita title that’s come out in quite some time.
It’s a real shame that Sony’s all but cut the PlayStation Vita off for support, cause it’s still the sleekest portable device on the market. Because Sony’s all but given up on their poor bastard handheld, you don’t see too many games even coming out for it anymore – let alone an exclusive – but Drinkbox Studios decided to throw a bone to the little system that could and created one of the best original games you’ll find in the PlayStation Vita’s library.
The story of Severed is a bit generic but it’s adequate for what it is. You play as a girl named Sasha who’s trying to recover her severed arm and in the process free her family from death. It’s a silly story, but it’s interesting (with some silly comments thrown in like Guacamelee) and it was cool to see how the tale unfolded.
The best part of Severed is definitely the gameplay. It’s a pretty cool concept – Severed is a dungeon crawler that plays like Fruit Ninja. You swipe enemies to attack, and you learn how to attack based around enemy defenses in order to score critical hits and eventually defeat an enemy which you can then cut off their limbs to upgrade Sasha’s skills.
You’ll cut off a lot of monster arms, tentacles, kidneys, eyeballs, and wings to level up your abilities. You’ll eventually start picking up enemy pieces from smashing urns and those can be used to build pieces that you might be low on in order to expedite your upgrades.
Combat is surprisingly fun considering how simple it is, but it does get repetitive. There’s only a few different types of enemy throughout the game, and they just evolve into stronger versions as you go. Eventually you’ll get a charge attack which is executed by holding your finger down on the screen until it’s ready and then you can use the charged swipe to break barriers in the environment and break rock shields that stronger enemies have armoring off their body.
While it’s fun, later on it turns into a frenzy of swiping the screen as fast as possible as you’re battling enemies from all sides and you’ll have to stay on your toes to keep from being overwhelmed.
The game is forgiving, and you’ll get magic abilities as you recover parts from bosses. Eventually you get the ability to freeze an enemy and debuff them, as well as the ability to eat enemy buffs and steal them for yourself so while the Fruit Ninja style does get a little bit old, there’s just enough tricks to keep it compelling. I’d suggest you always steal attack up and health regen when possible because those are easily the best buffs for dealing with multiple enemies. Once Sasha finds her arm, you’ll gain access to rage and you’ll be able to send yourself into a frenzy.
Aside from combat, Severed does a good job on just showcasing what makes the Vita such a versatile machine. Severed is colorful, it has that familiar Drinkbox aesthetic, and control wise manages to showcase why the Vita is on par with and performs better than a Smartphone when it comes to gaming.
Severed feels intuitive, inviting, and refreshing in a time when the Vita has been all but abandoned. The puzzle sections feel fantastic, and your instinct tells you to pull a chain by swiping it down and that’s exactly what you’d do.
No mistakes about it, Severed is the first must own PS Vita title that’s come out in quite some time and if you’re a fan of Drinkbox or simply a fan of fun at all, Severed absolutely deserves a place in your library.