Heart&Slash is a very peculiar game, crossing roguelike gameplay with a brawler combat system to create an interesting idea. Set in a post-apocalyptic world where humans no longer exist and robots have taken over, you assume the role of Heart, a kind-hearted but brutally murderous machine with sword in hand, that's trying to escape the evil clutches of QuAsSy (Quality Assurance System). In order to do this, you have to battle your way through a series of randomly generated rooms, each filled with various destructive robots equipped with a variety of unique weapons. Oh, and if you die, you'll have start over.
The title gets the ball rolling by giving you three items, either weapons or armour pieces. These come in many different varieties and get unlocked throughout your adventure for achieving certain statistics. You're able to equip three different weapons at once and switch between them at will, which allows you to build your own style of play. You can also pick up and equip armour pieces to help block incoming damage – we found a rather cute rubber duck which we wore proudly to our poor bot's end. What's more, these weapons and armour pieces can be upgraded using the currency that's dropped by defeated enemies, boosting things like damage, defence, and loot drop chances.
It's the music and visuals that are probably our favourite parts of the game, though, and they give the release a lot of heart that perhaps feels like it's missing from other areas. The music's very upbeat and cheerful, and almost sounds like something you'd expect from a Pokémon soundtrack. Meanwhile, the visuals are equally cheery in a bright and colourful Minecraft-esque style.
It's not all sunshine and robotic rainbows, however, as Heart&Slash can be brutally difficult, unforgiving, and potentially a little unfair. When you enter a new room, four or five enemies will often spawn – some on foot and others flying. This usually means that you won't be able to see all of your opponents on screen at once, so the flying enemies can sometimes get some cheap shots off when you're not looking.
To make matters worse, the combat system itself makes the game difficult to really get stuck into, with only basic light and heavy attacks at your disposal. In most cases, simple button mashing seems like the best way to play, which, needless to say, isn't too entertaining. That said, you are equipped with the ability to jump and evade, but even when you're putting these defensive techniques to use, their effectiveness is limited due to how cramped some of the rooms can be – especially if you're up against several foes.
Heart&Slash has some enjoyable moments. The weapon and armour unlocks coupled with the randomly generated levels will keep you coming back, but ultimately, the experience is let down by unfair encounters and repetitive combat. It's a quirky combination of roguelike and brawler that will leave fans of either genre disappointed.