Smoke and Sacrifice – Review
Follow Genre: Action adventure, Survival, RPG
Developer: Solar Sail Games
Publisher: Curve Digital
Platform: PC, Switch
Tested on: PC

Smoke and Sacrifice – Review

Site Score
8.2
Good: Beautiful graphics, interesting setting, challenging
Bad: Graphics perspective sometimes makes fighting or looting pretty hard
User Score
9.0
(1 votes)
Click to vote
VN:F [1.9.22_1171]
Rating: 9.0/10 (1 vote cast)

Smoke and Sacrifice is a beautiful looking game which is a combination between a survival game and an action-adventure RPG. Not only that, but the game is being driven by an interesting story. Smoke and Sacrifice has been developed by Solar Sail Games, and published by Curve Digital.

Story

Smoke and Sacrifice tells the story of a young mother named Sachi who sacrifices her firstborn to the sun-tree, the mystical tree which gives her village the light and warmth needed to survive and grow crops in the icy plains of the world. Seven years later when the village gets attacked, you discover in the confusion that the sun-tree temple is deserted and the priests are missing. A mysterious traveler askes you to investigate the altar where your son was sacrificed and when you do, you suddenly get transported to a mysterious world underground.

In this strange and dark world you try to find your son again, but you’ll quickly learn that the minds of those living within this hostile underworld gets warped eventually. In search of your son you’ll travel many different dangerous environments and fight hundreds of deadly creatures to gather everything you’ll need to survive this perilous journey.

Graphics

This game has a beautiful cartoon-ish style, with papercut-like animations. The graphics are very atmospheric, and the style of the drawings like the trees and houses is unique and set the mood of the game really well.  The UI is very simple and insightful.

Sounds

The music is great; beautiful atmospheric background themes which are unobtrusive, but will get stuck in your head if you play regularly. The conversations aren’t narrated, but Sachi makes sounds when she gets hurt and attacks.

Gameplay

Smoke and Sacrifice is an adventure game with an important survival aspect, combined with lots of combat, exploration, crafting, and an interesting storyline. Items decay just like in survival games, but you’ll need to gear up just like in an RPG. All these genres combine beautifully within this game.

In the underground world there is no actual night and day, but instead there is daytime and ‘smoke-time’, which lasts for half of the ‘day’. During smoke-time the screen gets filled with a poisonous purple-ish smoke which distorts the environment around your character and hides scary monsters which will attack you if you come close. You’ll need to have a light with you at all times during smoke-time to survive and get around, or walk quickly towards light sources like glowing plants or glow-bugs to be safe from the smoke. Light sources can charge your character’s light amulet as well. During smoke-time there are also new, harder enemies around, which are attracted to your light, so you either need to run or fight. Some normal enemies drop different loot during smoke-time, so you’ll need to take this into account when gathering.

You don’t have hunger or disease bars in this game, just a health-bar at the beginning. However, several items you’ll find have limited duration before they disappear from your inventory, as is common in survival games. Gear and weapons will break and disappear too if you don’t repair them regularly. Food items which are crafted are permanent items, so it’s important to craft food often to use up your perishable ingredients.

A short while into the game you’ll also get a ‘light’ bar, which indicates the charge of the glowing amulet you carry. The glow from this amulet can keep you alive for a short while during smoke time, but the glow area is very small so you won’t see much of what’s around you. This bar runs out very quickly during smoke-time, but can be recharged by standing close to light sources.

You’ll explore the mysterious underground world to eventually find your lost son, but to do this you first need to learn about the world and gather supplies in order to survive. As you explore the map, you quickly discover there are many different hostile environments like icy plains, electrified surfaces, hot lava rock, and many more, where you’ll need special equipment to walk around. These kinds of equipment you’ll need to craft yourself, but usually you’ll get quests pointing you in the right direction: gathering ingredients or find a recipe.

During your travels you’ll meet several weird creatures, some friendly and some unfriendly. Gatherers give quests to collect a certain item in exchange for coins, and you’ll meet many interesting story characters. Most creatures you’ll encounter are hostile, but some of these can turn neutral if you wear a  particular mask to disguise yourself for them. Fighting is a bit tricky at times. Because of the isometric view it is pretty hard to see where you need to stand to hit an enemy, especially if that enemy is flying. However, you’ll get used to this pretty quickly as soon as you’ll learn how to fight new enemies. It’s important to time your attacks and dodging the attack patterns of an enemy, because all hostile creatures do a lot of damage. Luckily, opening the inventory pauses the game, so you’ll be able to heal during battle.

Every creature you defeat drops loot, usually several items you can use in crafting. You can also gather ingredients and items from the world. Sometimes you need special tools to gather items. Some items, enemies or plants only appear at smoke-time, some items drop only during the day. Often you’ll encounter barrels or chests containing loot as well.

There is a fast-travel system which costs coins to use. You earn coins by destroying barrels or by gathering items for the gathering NPCs which are located all over the place. You can also spend your coins by using vending machines in towns, where you can buy rare items. Chests are littered around in the world, and you need to unlock them by finding a key. When you’ve opened a chest to gather the loot within, you can use them as storage afterwards. It’s very handy to store stuff in a chest close to a teleport point, because then you can easily get to your stuff. Your inventory space is very limited and as you learn more recipes and gather more items, you’ll quickly run out of space.  Chests always contains some loot. Chests appear on the map, just like other useful items like recipe stones, gatherers etc.

Crafting is an important part of the game. You’ll be busy collecting crafting recipes to use the many resources you’ll find around the world, and turn them into useful items which help you progress exploring the world map. You can craft consumables, weapons and armor. Weapons can be clubs, knives, hammers, bows, etc. Most weapons have certain special traits which makes them perfect to attack a certain kind of creature. You’ll also be able to make bombs to stun, freeze or poison enemies. Both weapons and armor can be upgraded, and need to be repaired if you use them regularly. Many recipes require a working bench and most food recipes require a cooking pot. Simple recipes like a lantern can be crafted anywhere. You can find recipes around the world: often as a reward for completing quests, but there are also recipe stones and skins around the world you can gain recipes from if you have the right object to copy the recipe in your recipe book.

Sometimes the creatures walking around in the game give some useful advice on how to deal with certain enemies, but if you click too fast through the conversation, there’s no way to retrieve this info again in the game. Especially if you tend to play a game with long pauses in-between, it would have been nice if this kind of information would be stored in some kind of an in-game bestiary. Another minor annoyance of the game was that sometimes when loot dropped behind another environmental object is was impossible to collect it.

Conclusion

Smoke and Sacrifice is a great game which combines many fun and different gameplay elements into one beautiful game. The story is engaging and the graphics and music are absolutely beautiful. This is not an easy game: fights can be quite deadly, you’ll need to keep an eye on your inventory at all times to see if anything is close to decaying or breaking, and you’ll need to travel through a lot of dangerous areas to get all (decaying) components of certain quest objectives. If you love a challenge, this beautiful game might be perfect for you!

VN:F [1.9.22_1171]
Rating: 9.0/10 (1 vote cast)
VN:F [1.9.22_1171]
Rating: 0 (from 0 votes)
Smoke and Sacrifice - Review, 9.0 out of 10 based on 1 rating
Anmaja
Anmaja


I'm a LARP writer, freelance teacher and everlasting PhD student, and an avid gamer. Nowadays I game mostly on PC, but I love my retro playstation 1 & 2 as well :) I like watching anime, movies and series, and read books & comics whenever I have time!

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