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Sword with Sauce

Sword with Sauce: Alpha Impressions

Diatomic Games' violent slasher/shooter is still in its early stages, but we gave it a spin anyway.

  • Text: Sam Bishop

Diatomic Games' Sword with Sauce is available now via Steam Early Access, although it's only in Alpha stage at the moment, and this game meshes a load of concepts together in order to create an experience in which you need to take down a load of enemies in the coolest way possible, whether that be all guns blazing, a fireball of explosives, or sneaking around like a ninja.

The concept itself is a little bit like Rainbow Six's Terrorist Hunt mixed with Superhot, in the sense that your task is simply to rid the map of enemies, but the character models and world designs are simplistic. The enemies, for example, are all black, and you are all red, and everything from the doors to the cups on tables are simple in design. Oh, and there's blood that sprays everywhere when you kill enemies, splattering the walls and leaving a trail of destruction.

Helping you to get rid of these enemies are a number of weapons and gadgets. The weapons you can choose from are the sword, the gun, the shield (not really a weapon we know, but whatever), and the bow. These can all be used to devastating effect, but to make your killing spree even more effective and satisfying, you'll need to use your gadgets as well.

Before you set off into each map, you can choose which gadgets to put into the selection wheel so as to suit your style of play, and there's 20 gadgets to choose from thus far, from the devastatingly loud grenades to the more stealthy sleep darts. There's even some wackier ones thrown in there as well, such as explosive crabs that hunt enemies down, and grenades that open black holes that suck people in.

Sword with Sauce
Sword with SauceSword with SauceSword with Sauce

All of this firepower, coupled with the fact that bullets move slow enough for you to see their movement, would make you think that the game is pretty easy, but you'd be wrong. It's very easy to get overwhelmed by rushing bad guys, or find one sneaking round the back of you, and since you die in a couple of hits, that's never good. Practice makes perfect though, and when you know the map, and get good with your armoury, then you can really get the upper hand.

What's also cool about Sword with Sauce is that a lot of things can be picked up and thrown, so if your reactions are good enough you can hit enemies, grab their guns mid-air, empty the clip, throw the gun at another enemy, pick up a sword, deflect bullets with your sword (you can do that), and throw that into someone's skull. For those who want to feel like a ninja, this game definitely lets you do that, and because of this no single run will be the same as another, especially since, if you mess up, you can respawn exactly where you are but with all enemies back on the map, giving some new avenues to explore.

There's three difficulty modes, too. The Normal mode is without any extra rules - you just have to clear the map of enemies without dying, but Ninja difficulty tasks you with doing just that without getting detected, which is an instant fail. Lastly, Survivor difficulty gives you waves of enemies to defeat in order to see how long you can last.

As mentioned, those who like to be stealthy have plenty of avenues to explore this. Crouching is featured, but there's way more than that, as you can also drag bodies to avoid detection, tag enemies using either your own vision or a drone, and weapons like the bow can be used to take enemies down silently as well. This all makes the Ninja difficulty a lot easier, although you still need to take your time - enemies have a nasty habit of walking through doorways at inconvenient times.

Sword with Sauce
Sword with SauceSword with SauceSword with Sauce

Sword with Sauce is definitely fun as a result, and the fact it doesn't take itself too seriously adds to this dramatically. It's all about the kills and the destruction, however big or small, but for now it's let down by a lack of content. If this were free, this criticism wouldn't be relevant, but because Diatomic Games are charging, in whatever stage of development it's in, it's disappointing that there are only three maps, three modes, and four weapons. This restricts the amount of time that you can get out of it for now, and we sincerely hope more is added.

As expected with an Alpha game, there are some issues like clipping through doorways or people glitching into walls, but for the most part it actually performs very well, with no frame-rate dips from what we could see. It all looks great as well, especially with regards to things like windows and smoke effects from toxic grenades.

Controls need a bit of tweaking, though, especially in regards to climbing. When trying to climb things, especially in the cargo level, it can be frustrating trying to mount onto something, as pressing the jump button can often launch you off of a surface instead. Also, in regards to selecting gadgets, the wheel is useful when all is calm and there's no pressure, but a quicker selection process would have come in handy when it was all kicking off and bullets were flying.

For now though Sword with Sauce is off to a great start, and if Diatomic Games keeps polishing and adding content to it, there's no reason why fans can't keep having fun with it for months to come, whether they be blowing the smithereens out of bad guys or taking them down like a ghost.

Sword with Sauce
Sword with SauceSword with SauceSword with Sauce