SacriFire is an upcoming turn-based side-scrolling JRPG developed by Pixelated Milk. Developers of WARSAW, and Regalia: Of Men and Monarchs. The demo for SacriFire is exclusive to backers of the game’s Kickstarter, which I was. As such, you will have to either wait for a demo prior to the games full release. Or wait until it is released to pick up and try the game. Here are my thoughts on the exclusive demo.
A Charming, Yet Deep Story
SacriFire puts you in the boots of Ezekiel. A bishop who helps one of his own track down his missing father and bring him home. There was very little in the way of the story in the demo. But the game excels with its characters and world-building from what I was able to experience. Ezekiel and his companion Zephaniah play off each very well. Ezekiel is more of an uptight type of character and Zephaniah has a more laid-back personality. The voice actors deliver believable line delivery as well. The dialogue and characters were a major highlight. As well as the world they inhabit.
Despite the limited offerings for exploration in SacriFire. Stepping outside of the very lively city of Antioch into the lush and vibrant Erebus to track down Zephaniah’s father was a fantastic contrast. This shot out of the golden tree, the running water and all of the lit-up plants was a visual feast. In the city of Antioch, you can explore and talk to people, or play a coin game to pass the time. But when you are in the Erebus it leads to the game combat and exploration segments, both of these being very well-paced.
Simple Yet Tedious Exploration, and Complex Combat in SacriFire
SacriFire has one of the most interesting combat systems I have seen in a JRPG-styled game. As you explore, you will find enemies you can engage combat in. When in combat, however, is where things get very fun. You can move around in a segmented-off area with enemies trying to attack you. As you run around and avoid their attacks, you build up your action meter. When you attack, you get to use a number of strikes with whatever weapon depending on the number of action points you have in a tactics sort of fashion.
The combat loop feels satisfying as you can unleash multiple attacks without being interrupted, then try and avoid the enemies, and then do it all. There were only three weapons in the demo with very simple combos and a limit break attack that can one-shot a singular normal enemy. While this sounds complex, it becomes very simple once you do one or two encounters.
I just wish figuring out how to progress while exploring could be as simple. When navigating the world you can acquire keys to activate runes to unlock hidden passages and progression blockers. However, you can refund your key from the runes and use those same keys for other runes. There is a lot of trial and error in figuring out how to progress.
This is the only gripe I had when playing the demo. You have to really pay attention to what the puzzles are asking of you and if enemies were not around, I would have gotten frustrated by it all. The in-game map was no help either.
Steam Deck Technical Performance and Closing Remarks
Playing SacriFire on the Steam Deck felt good with only one issue, both docked and undocked. When moving left to right in areas with a massive backdrop, there’s a problem with the frame pacing. But when you are in closed-off tunnels and the like, the game runs very smoothly. Other than that, there were no bugs, glitches, or crashes found in my playthrough of SacriFire.
SacriFire is a game I would recommend keeping your eye on. The premise, combat, and exploration for the most part are all very well done. The game’s pixel art in 3D environments meshed very well and there were some impressive-looking backdrops to take in. The characters feel very well realized as well. SacriFire could end up being a surprise hit of the year, and it is very clear a lot of time and love was put into it all. Do keep your eye on this game.
SacriFire is slated to launch this year for Xbox Series X|S, Xbox One, PC, Nintendo Switch, and PlayStation 4|5 with no release window nor price tag at this time.