Apple Slash review for PS5/4, Xbox Series X/One, Switch

Platform: PS5
Also on: PC, PS4, Switch, Xbox One, Xbox Series X
Publisher: Ratalaika Games
Developer: Agelvik
Medium: Digital
Players: 1
Online: No
ESRB: E10+

Apple Slash may not be very long, but it certainly knows how to pack a lot of plot ? or at least a lot of personality ? into its short runtime. During the thirty minutes or so that it takes to beat the game, you discover that you?re an apple, living in a village full of apples, and as their valiant knight protector you?re charged with repelling the invaders from your village. Along the way, you have to rescue another apple?s son, while also finding the secret keys to unlock gates and discovering sentient masks that give you more powers.

It?s a bit of an odd game, you might say.

It?s also not entirely finished. As the developer explains on his website, the game is more a proof of concept than anything else, meant to figure out whether there?s enough to the idea to turn it into a fuller game.

It certainly feels like there is. On top of the zaniness crammed into that first paragraph, there?s plenty of hack & slash gameplay. Your apple is armed with not just a typical sword, but a sword that can also double as a lethal boomerang, or turn into a giant killer from the skies. The action gets a bit frantic, as enemies respawn in certain areas very quickly and you?re constantly dodging projectiles from frogs that want to kill you. It would be interesting to see some of these ideas fleshed out a little more.

It?s also worth noting that the game has some pretty interesting aesthetics. Visually, everything is black and white, with a few hints of red, which is certainly pretty striking. On top of that, Apple Slash is scored by a chiptunes soundtrack that does its genre proud.

To be sure, if you?re looking for something more substantial, Apple Slash isn?t it. But if you look at it as a teaser or a prelude for something bigger ? which it hopefully is ? it certainly seems like the first part of something that could become a truly distinctive experience.

Ratalaika Games provided us with an Apple Slash PS4/PS5 code for review purposes.

Grade: B