When you step right into a sepia-toned world crafted by Black Tabby Games, there’s a pair issues you may count on: a solid of quirky characters, darkish humor, and the occasional macabre shot of one thing grotesque that reminds you–yep, this can be a horror game. This is a system I do know all too effectively from the three at the moment launched episodes of Black Tabby Games’ ongoing title, Scarlet Hollow; however regardless of going into the demo of Slay the Princess with these expectations, I get the sensation the latter will pull much less punches than the previous. Slay the Princess feels extra satirical, extra tongue-in-cheek, and extra prone to throw the participant proper into the deep finish of chaos and cosmic horror than the slow-burn of Scarlet Hollow.
Slay the Princess seems to comply with a storybook format – sections of the game are separated by chapters, and the participant is guided (or misled?) by a sardonic and seemingly omniscient narrator (voiced by Jonathan Sims). Abby Howard’s visually putting and iconic artwork is absolutely animated this time round–bushes, tree branches, and leaves shake and shuffle in an eerie, dreamlike method, and the digicam barely pivots based mostly as you progress your mouse. Additionally, Slay the Princess is absolutely voice acted, delivering a really immersive expertise. As quickly because the scene unfolds and the somber background tune kicks in, you’re given the straightforward prerogative: slay the princess, or the world will finish.
As the protagonist, you’ll management the narrative via selections associated to actions and dialogue. Do you play a brash, no-bullshit character that listens to the narrator and acts, no questions requested? A reluctant hero who questions why you’re being tasked with “slaying” the princess? Or do you say screw it, reject all expectations and attempt to drive your individual path?
I used to be pleasantly shocked throughout my handful of playthroughs of the demo simply how otherwise the primary two chapters panned out based mostly on my selections. Not utterly shocked, given how successfully Black Tabby Games has nailed down branching narratives in Scarlet Hollow, however shocked by how advanced the premise turns into regardless of the seemingly easy activity you’re given. Spoiler alert: slaying her is not going to be that simple (if you happen to select to within the first place).
It turns into obvious in a short time that the world of Slay the Princess shouldn’t be because it appears. Objects disappear and reappear with out cause. Multiple paths in some way all result in the identical vacation spot. You’re by no means given a concrete reply on, effectively, absolutely anything. The quick demo has already spawned dozens of theories in my head about who (or what) the princess is, whether or not I ought to belief The Narrator, and the way the story can doubtlessly pan out. That’s the great thing about Black Tabby Games’ titles: the chances appear countless, and arising with theories is half the enjoyable. I’ve a sense some people will likely be dying left and proper, some will likely be making an attempt to woo as an alternative of slay the princess, and others will likely be selecting their strikes very rigorously to crack the thriller of the game (if there even is a thriller to be cracked!).
Despite the truth that Slay the Princess doesn’t take itself absolutely significantly as a rule, when it chooses to get darkish, it will get darkish. There had been a number of occasions in the course of the demo that the temper instantly shifts, the music abruptly stops, and the creepy issue jumps to stage 100. Whether it’s physique horror or cosmic horror, Slay the Princess is fast to remind you that regardless of the witty dialogue selections and one-liners, it stands agency as a horror game as effectively.
If you’re intrigued, the demo of Slay the Princess is at the moment out there on Steam, and it’s at the moment set to launch someday in 2023. In the meantime, if you end up hooked to artwork and humor, I utterly advocate making an attempt the primary three episodes of Black Tabby Games’ Scarlet Hollow. The visible novels being produced by Black Tabby Games are like no different, they usually’re the right spooky choose-your-own adventures to get misplaced in as we head in direction of Halloween.