Solar Sail Games steps forward with a new open-world action RPG called Smoke and Sacrifice. Dark and repentant but aesthetically pleasing, Smoke and Sacrifice is more than just a survival game. In fact, it’s a story about the unabridged love of a mother and her child. As bleak as it may be, this world captivates you like no other.

Sachi, the mother of a child who gets sacrificed in the opening scene as part of a ritual, drives the narrative with sheer force. This is not just a bland survival game, it’s Sachi’s evolution into someone who couldn’t light a campfire to someone with the grit to thrive in harsh and unforgiving circumstances.

The story unfolds itself slowly, prompted by the protagonist’s meeting with a mysterious person. Sachi eventually unfolds conspiracies and schemes underlying facades of customs and traditions. Subsequently, she embarks on a mission to reunite with her son whose death is no longer certain.

At the core of this game, it is very much a survival one. Sachi struts around in the underworld crafting clothing, supplies, armour, potions, and collecting resources. However, Sachi always needs to be aware of the weather; snowy conditions require hefty clothes to conquer the cold, all being equipment she needs to craft. The underworld is dark and full of terrors.

Smoke and Sacrifice is bleak and depressing, as choking smoke is released at night, and the only way to combat it is by harnessing the skills you’ve learned and creating potions that temporarily disable it enabling you to rush into the safety of light before it poisons Sachi. Later, throughout the game, you will be able to craft lanterns that help you fight the smoke. Moreover, health in Smoke and Sacrifice can only be restored by food. Obviously, you’ll need ingredients for that such as a kettle which you will eventually find in the world. Crafting may start out simple but it soon evolves into a complex system.

Combat in Smoke and Sacrifice is fairly simple and traditional. Monsters are quite tough to beat especially if you've lost your weapons. We rarely found ourselves winning in Smoke and Sacrifice. You can either go in weapons drawn slaying monsters or stealthily by prepping traps for monsters by using what you've crafted. We've found the latter to be more convenient. You can also tame monsters, and even milk them. However, what mostly made the combat somewhat clunky is the title's fixed camera. Smoke and Sacrifice never gives you the chance to let your guard down. It’s dark, dangerous and unforgiving.

Smoke and Sacrifice’s world is captivating, from the way plants interact to the way animals do, it’s all amazing how the game’s ecology is mechanised. The game's design alone is a joy to look at, and that distinguishes Smoke and Sacrifice among other survival games.

Conclusion

Smoke and Sacrifice is a good addition to the survival genre, from its compelling storyline to its amazing design that engrosses you in a bleak world run over by monsters. The only thing Smoke and Sacrifice seems to falter in is its clunky and outdated combat and daunting crafting system. A beautiful aspect that distinguishes the game from other survival games is the narrative that focuses on motherhood. If you like titles such as Don’t Starve, then this is a decent alternative.