Smoke and Sacrifice
A woman must travel to a parallel universe to find her son who was sacrificed years past. We loved this open-world survival-RPG with plenty of crafting, where you'll need to gather resources, make items, die... and start again. And it's all wrapped up in original, joyful graphics. Just know that the smoke that falls every now and again will kill you...
Be warned: beneath its friendly exterior lies an unexpectedly testing and unforgiving game, so we hope you're in the mood for a challenge!
In Smoke and Sacrifice, you'll play as a brave mother.
Sachi was forced to sacrifice her newborn as a ritual offering, and see her baby disappear in a flash of blinding light. Years later, a strange character turns up to tell this mother, still crushed by guilt, that her son is still alive somewhere out there.
Without a moment's hesitation, Sachi sets off to find her offspring and uncover the truth.
What follows is a survival game similar to The Flame in the Flood, but one that comes with a tightly plotted, disturbing storyline.
You will have constant goosebumps thanks to the omnipresent sense of danger and the feeling that something bad is about to happen.
Your very first quest is basically a crafting tutorial. To protect Sachi from the fatal smoke that drifts below the ground, you'll need to collect fireflies that you can use to craft and equip a lantern.
The first steps are straightforward enough: you'll quickly learn how to craft a net to catch bugs and simple remedies to prevent a swift death, as well as learning to forge weapons and armour. Smoke and Sacrifice places a firm focus on crafting and finding ingredients. Indeed, you can create hundreds of different items. New recipes can be found through side quests, as well as on stone tablets and hidden messages dotted around the game world.
Our tip: health regeneration items can be found everywhere, but they come with two disadvantages. They only restore a tiny percentage of your HP, and you can't stock up on them for long, as most of them are plants that wither and die.
That's right: in Smoke & Sacrifice, the store cupboard essentials in your inventory are all perishable. This means you'll need to keep a close eye on their condition. Thankfully, as you learn new recipes, you can make different kinds of food that have no expiry date in your pack.
Our advice? Never lose hope. The first few hours of the game are particularly trying: your equipment is extremely limited, the items you craft will break, and you have few means to defend yourself. But it's definitely worth keeping on.
Great to look at with original artistic direction, the game world is not randomly generated. This is an open world in which the right equipment opens up new areas (a bit like in the Zelda games). Between each area lies a hazardous no man's land littered with mines and where resources are scarce.
This means you'll have to do a whole lot of crafting to keep making progress. But be warned: it's not as easy as it sounds! You can't craft potions and weapons anywhere you like on the map. Our advice? Waste no time in finding cauldrons and workbenches where you can craft effective items.
Beyond the exploration and resource-gathering, the other main attraction in Smoke and Sacrifice is the combat.
And, boy, are you going to suffer. At first, you might ask yourself if the developers used Dark Souls as a model. The bosses are rock hard! But it's through crafting that you'll eventually defeat them, as soon as you are able to create weapons that are strong enough for the job, so don't waste your energy on the bosses early in the game.
This is a game that really blew our minds!
Publisher: Curve Games
Developer: Solar Sail Games Ltd
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