Review: Severed (Wii U)

A cut above the rest.

By Robert Marrujo. Posted 10/04/2016 09:00 Comment on this     ShareThis
The Final Grade
Editor's Choice
grade/score info
1-Up Mushroom for...
Cool new hero; gripping visuals and music; gameplay makes smart use of the GamePad touch screen; leveling up Sasha is greatly enjoyable
Poison Mushroom for...
Traveling across the world can become overly long; how to counter some enemies can be needlessly obtuse; some might be put off by focusing on the GamePad over the TV screen

Fans of DrinkBox Studios’ title Guacamelee!: Super Turbo Championship Edition will be delighted to know that another game from the developer has come to Nintendo’s home console in the form of the first-person action-adventure title Severed. Formerly a PlayStation Vita exclusive, Severed has found its way to Wii U, where it meshes perfectly with the GamePad’s large touch screen and stylus. I was a big fan of the game when it originally hit Vita, so I went into this Nintendo release of the title curious as to whether or not it would survive the transition to new hardware. Thankfully it has, feeling even more at home on Wii U than Vita and cementing Severed as one of the best pieces of software in the eShop.

Severed revolves around the story of a young girl named Sasha who is trying to rescue her family. Missing an arm, Sasha still takes up a sword to defeat the monsters in her path as she makers her way through a surreal, unsettling world to discover the whereabouts of her loved ones. As far as heroes go, Sasha is refreshingly different being a woman of color, not to mention fighting hordes of enemies minus an appendage. I was also please how DrinkBox subverted the roles of her mother and father, with the former being the warrior of the family and teaching Sasha how to fight. The game world is foreboding despite the bright, vivid color palette used to render it; it’s a beautiful environment to behold, but at the same time I never felt comfortable rounding its corners or walking its paths. Which is a good thing! The mood created by the surroundings mirrors the tone of the narrative, not to mention the stirring soundtrack playing in the background.


The game takes place in first-person, with players tasked to move a frame at a time. Sasha can stand in place and pivot around to observe her surroundings in each frame, but move too far in any of the four cardinal directions and she’ll advance into the next frame. Attacking enemies and interacting with the environment are all handled by the touch screen. On Vita, this meant swiping with a finger; on Wii U, players can choose to do the same thing, or take advantage of the better precision offered by the stylus. I played Severed employing the latter and greatly enjoyed making more surgical strikes on enemies, but the choice is yours. I enjoyed that for this game DrinkBox chose to use the TV screen for map information and kept the action on the GamePad; if Kirby’s Rainbow Curse showed me anything, it was how difficult it can be to simultaneously lay down stylus swipes in time with the action on the TV screen. Thankfully, DrinkBox seems to have been aware of how impossible it would have been to do that in a game like Severed and chose to instead stick the action on the bottom handheld screen.


Foes can attack in singles or multiples, with Sasha having to twirl around to face them one at a time. Each enemy has a health meter to keep track of, but perhaps more importantly is the attack gauge that they all have on display, as well. Dealing damage to one enemy but ignoring the looming danger of a foe to the side or back (or both!) makes battles very tense and exciting. Defeating foes can bestow valuable items that are used to upgrade Sasha throughout the adventure. These light RPG elements make battles worth engaging in, as building up Sasha’s ability and skill tree is immensely satisfying. It was also great fun during battles finding out an enemy’s “tell” and knowing when best (and how best) to launch an offensive flurry of sword swings at them. It can become a bit of a drag trudging through the numerous corridors throughout the game, but the map system keeps everything easy to navigate.

Severed is a raucous good time on Wii U, taking perfect advantage of the hardware to deliver an improved version of what was already excellently done on Vita. The graphics are lush and engrossing, and the music tethers everything together wonderfully. Combat could have been a mess of frantic, mindless stylus swipes, but instead the game calls for much more thought out and meaningful tactics. It was addictive to keep slicing through foes to gain items and power up Sasha, never growing stale all the way through the game’s ending. The storyline isn’t especially deep, but I found the narrative engaging, nonetheless, particularly thanks to Severed’s unique heroine. Wii U might not have the biggest library of games to play, but Severed is yet another can’t-miss gem just waiting to be discovered.

Nintendojo was provided a copy of this game for review by a third party, though that does not affect our recommendation. For every review, Nintendojo uses a standard criteria.

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