Seraph is a run n’ gun Metroidvania style game developed by Dreadbit who have worked on Ironcast on steam prior to this release. Following a woman who houses the soul of Seraph, a being from another world, you will blast through demonic beings to escape your containment. Picking up guns, ammo and health along the way you will also meet other survivors or sentient demons who will try and steer you on the right path.
You start the game as Seraph is let out of her prison, landing in a facility overrun with demons and devoid of any human life. She picks up the closest guns to her, picks herself up and moves on to the top of the facility in hopes of escaping. Seraph is an Angelic being who possess the body of Talia, a somewhat devout follower of her religion, but due to recent circumstances they are at odds with one another.
You will be directed to kill the demons that enter the facility in the hopes that Seraph will have her power returned. It isn’t long before Seraph discovers it was her who allowed the demons to enter the human world. Death and destruction both await Seraph as well as lying behind her, gunning your way through demons, barricades, fonts of power and doors.
The main story is rather linear, with no choices given to you, lasting over 4 to 6 hours depending on your skill. There is a rebirth system that allows you to replay with your skills intact, but with little replayability due to the repetitiveness of the game itself. Your “character” is saved across story mode, survival and daily missions so you have quite a few options for improving your stats or testing your abilities.
Seraph is rather easy to control, Left Thumbstick to move, right for targeting enemies, holding down left trigger to auto-fire, RB for swapping to your alternative weapon or opening containers, Left trigger for a quick dash, X to smite fallen enemies, Y and B for set abilities, A for jump and double jump. The game is best played with controller due to its need for quick buttons presses and reactions, without a need for precise aiming due to the auto-aim function.
As you go through the levels you can find containers that contain new weapons to swap to, health and souls. Besides those there isn’t too much you can get out of exploration, there are logs here and there but they don’t seem too important in the grand scheme of things. As you kill demons or open containers you will obtain motes for Experience, Terminessence which the general upgrading material, combined with body parts taken from destroyed demons.
The main goal for character progression is to unlock new abilities and weapons, then use materials to upgrade the ones you use constantly. Increasing damage caused, chance of effect and more. Besides your equipment you will also collect Shards that can be slotted into specific parts of your character. Increasing max health, damage reduction or output or drop rate of items are all accessed through the use of Shards, combining smaller shards for more powerful ones to get a greater bonus.
Overall thoughts and feelings
Seraph is plagued with glitches, though with it being “Early Access” it can be expected to have a hitch here and there. There is a good chance that when starting a level, Seraph’s arms will break and the animation for shooting will freeze her, wasting ammo. It is also possible to completely crash the game during play, phase through objects and have the sound stop playing. These problems wouldn’t be so bad if they weren’t so consistently occurring, the breaking of her arms happens almost every time I load the game up for the first time.
In continuation of the glitches, the sound design is hard to review due to it cutting out for a lot of my experience with the game. Where I could hear it however I wasn’t too pleased, the sound effects for weapons were rather disappointing, reminding me of old PlayStation or arcade sounds. Guns are too weak, explosions small and unimpressive and “Victory” sounds overshadowing a lot of the other sounds at play. Music goes hand in hand with this, with boring piano tracks for exploration that stick too long into combat, throwing in some drums and cymbals doesn’t really add much more to the tracks, feeling as lacklustre as the rest of the game.
Seraph looks to have a lot of potential but it lacks polish and direction, the lack of voice acting for an action game really pull this down even further as the energy from fights is taken away when the characters force you to read for a minute or two. Difficulty ramps up too quick during the mid-game, with no real way of decreasing it, if you’re too good at the game the difficulty will rise with you but will never decrease.
If it wasn’t for the constant game breaking glitches, lack of direction and polish this game would be great. The progression for equipment and abilities is in-depth and really allows for customization, but getting to that point can be quite a slog. Lack of voice acting dims whatever enjoyment you would get out of the story, with little to no context given about the world or backstory, save for some of the logs. It is going to take quite some work to get Seraph up to par, but for £10 it could be worth it for the leader board lovers or a small jaunt whilst waiting for other things.