Game review by
David Wolinsky, Common Sense Media
Slain! Game Poster Image
Violent gothic action-platformer has bugs, shows promise.

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this game.

Positive Messages

Story here is basically "kill a bunch of things because we said so," no emulatable behavior.

Positive Role Models & Representations

Everyone here wants to kill each other. No role models here.

Ease of Play

Bugs aside, straightforward play, easy to learn.


Monsters, everything you kill explode in cartoony gore, plus fountains of blood, blood dripping from ceilings. Gore everywhere.


Statues of nude women in some levels. 

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Slain! is a downloadable action game that's focused on combat and eliminating opponents. Blood and gore, while cartoonish, is frequently found scattered across the environment. Similarly, fountains of blood are frequently seen, and monsters explode into pieces when attacked. While gameplay is easy to grasp, it's complicated by bugs and other flawed mechanics.  There are also some nude statues found on some game levels.

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What's it about?

In SLAIN!, players control Bathoryn, a dark hero who is awoken to liberate seven great towers from their corresponding deadly overlords. It's a standard videogame plot, with the dialog there largely just to get players pumped for more hacking and slashing at whatever's onscreen. It continues on in the tradition of classic old Nintendo games like Castlevania or Metroid, where you are a lone explorer being set loose on a big big map to explore and fight with things. The story ultimately is about whether you can complete the task at hand you're assigned, and there isn't much in the way of character development.

Is it any good?

This gothic action title could be somewhat enjoyable for fans of the genre, if they're willing to overlook significant bugs that can ruin the gameplay experience. The most glaring are the controls, which are noticeably laggy. That is, there's a good half a second before any button press you execute telegraphs onscreen. For an action-platformer that's combat-heavy, this makes for considerable more challenge than is likely intended here. There are other basic problems here, too, such as the game being unclear how to quit the game and have it remember your progress. Although there are many checkpoints to continue from as you make your way through each level, when you end a session and come back, you're expected to start either at the beginning of a level or are sometimes -- not always -- brought to a hub screen. These are things that likely should have been addressed before release and sure enough, the developers have already made a post online indicating things like the controls are going to be fixed by the next patch. 

And there certainly are reasons to check Slain! out once these issues are addressed. It's an amusing send-up and celebration of metal aesthetics, with galloping battle-ready blast beats serving as the soundtrack as you traverse a variety of levels painted in gorgeous crimson, cobalt, and shimmering purples. The game exudes a rock album cover aesthetic, though really it's just the chosen coat of paint and soundtrack for what, at its heart, is a standard action-platformer. You walk around and slash at enemies, learn magic spells, and talk to big boss characters before your inevitable showdowns with them. But as of right now, until the major issues are addressed, it's a title that should really only remain on gamer's radar for the future.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about violence in video games. Is the violence in Slain! okay because it's over the top and cartoonish, or is it problematic because of the graphic content?

  • In myths and other old stories, when people are told they must kill someone else to fulfill a prophecy or some other tradition, do they show reservations or skepticism in taking on these duties? Why or why not? What sort of patterns do you notice in these types of stories? 

Game details

Our editors recommend

For kids who love action

Themes & Topics

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