GDC 2018: Smoke and Sacrifice Hands-On Impressions

Monday, April 23rd, 2018

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Smoke and Sacrifice | Logo

Platform(s): PC, Nintendo Switch, Xbox One, PlayStation 4
Publisher(s): Curve Digital
Release Date: 2018
Solar Sail Games Website, Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, YouTube

The story of Smoke and Sacrifice starts off in one of the (ironically) darkest ways possible: You are forced to sacrifice your firstborn child to the fiery Sun Tree in order to keep it lit in a world where the sun has failed and the ‘smoke’ must be kept at bay that would otherwise extinguish humanity. Sachi, realizing that her son may still be alive and therefore determined to get her son back, sneaks into the portal and dives into a mysterious dark world. During my time with Smoke and Sacrifice, I played through the opening cutscenes and I was able to explore some of the underworld that the main game takes place in and take part in a couple of the game’s quests.

The first thing that I noticed about Smoke and Sacrifice was about how well Solar Sail Games designed the world and how effortlessly the world sucks you in with a swelling sense of dread. The graphics are in a hand-painted style with strong, bold colors that stand out as a stark contrast among the three-dimensional games that a lot of big ‘AAA’ publishers are putting out today. This art style, combined with the game’s strong writing that is both dark and humorous, made it so that as I carried Sachi’s baby to be sacrificed and then had to place the baby down, I found myself growing incredibly uncomfortable with what I was doing yet incredibly interested in finding out what happens next.

Sachi in the above world in Smoke and Sacrifice in the opening stages of the game. (Image courtesy of Curve Digital).

Crafting is a major part of Smoke and Sacrifice as well. You gain crafting items by slaughtering enemies with destructable weapons that are repairable. One of the first things I crafted in this game was a lantern, an item needed in order to keep the smoke in this darkened world at bay, but only until it burns out. You can craft weapons and food in Smoke and Sacrifice as well from ingredients, and you’ll need to do so in order to survive long term. Combat is fairly straight forward and is in real time on the map in Smoke and Sacrifice: You have to attack and fight and dodge in order to keep Sachi alive.

Smoke and Sacrifice | Crafting

Crafting is a major part of surviving in Smoke and Sacrifice. One of the first items that Sachi crafts is a lantern (as seen in the bottom image). (Images courtesy of Curve Digital).

Smoke and Sacrifice | Lantern

Although I did not get a chance to see it while I was playing, the development team at Solar Sail Games told me during GDC 2018 that the world of Smoke and Sacrifice grows and evolves as the enemies interact with each other and with Sachi to the point that you can literally change the world around you. This is a concept that I am especially excited to see in the final game when it is released.

Smoke and Sacrifice | Enemies

Smoke and Sacrifice | Enemies

There are enemies everywhere in this game, and they drop items that you can craft into weapons, food, and more. (Images courtesy of Curve Digital).

As I played through the opening parts of this game and completed a couple quests during my hands-on demo, I found myself wanting to play more and more of Smoke and Sacrifice than I had time for. Even though Solar Sail Games has billed this game as ‘Survival-RPG’, Smoke and Sacrifice is clearly so narrative driven that it stands out from anything else in the genre as of today in the best way possible. This was one of the games I was most looking forward to experiencing at GDC 2018, and I was not disappointed at all when I was able to try it out. This game is coming to PC, Nintendo Switch, PlayStation 4, and Xbox One in 2018 and I for one cannot wait to get my hands on it.



Are you looking forward to Smoke and Sacrifice? What do you think of the art style?

Let us know in the comments below!

About Quentin H.

Likes pina coladas and getting caught in the rain. And video games. Cannot forget those video games. Anime too. Should not forget that either.