After a brief tutorial of sorts, you are brought to the main hub. There are seven symbol-etched boulders here, each one a portal to a boss fight. You can take them on in any order you like, but they all must be defeated before you can take on the final boss. You can’t simply walk up and fight them, though. Oh no, that would be too easy. Instead, you must sacrifice a piece of yourself to unlock the portal and take on the bad boy (or girl) within. The sacrifice comes in the form of a reduction to your combat capabilities. This can be decreased health/stamina, reduced item supplies or some other type of annoying debuff like a weakened shield that breaks completely when your defense is broken. This means that as you progress, the odds are more and more stacked against you. Defeating a boss allows you to redeem the sin for a boost in health. This does not, however, restore the sacrifice you initially made. Better than nothing. What it boils down to is strategizing on the best order to defeat the bosses in, ideally taking out the hardest ones first.
You cannot find new weapons and armor during the course of the game: what you see is what you get. There are two sets of weapons that you can alternate between on the fly. First up is a basic sword and shield combo. This is what I ended up using almost all the time because it offers a much more versatile approach to the alternative option. Your other option, the 2-handed sword, deals more damage but is slower and takes up more stamina. Plus you lose the ability to block, so in my opinion, it just isn’t worth it. Weapons aside, you enter every battle with a set of consumables that automatically replenish between fights. Spears and firebombs give you the option of a ranged offensive, while there is another item that temporarily engulfs your sword in flames, boosting your damage for a limited amount of time. The last item in your arsenal is an orb-like object that restores a little health. It isn’t much, but it is all you have to work with.
So despite getting off to a rough start, I stuck around to discover just what exactly Sinner: Sacrifice for Redemption has to offer. While there are some annoying technical foibles that mar the overall experience (I’m looking at you, unresponsive controls!) you’ll find an engaging boss-battler with some interesting character/environmental visual designs. Finally decimating that one pain in the ass boss that killed you repeatedly can feel pretty satisfying. On the other hand, while it tries to offer up Souls-like gameplay, it definitely falters in the story department. There isn’t much to see here aside from a quick intro before each boss fight. So if you’re in the market for a quick challenge and don’t need all the embellishments a good story would provide, check out Sinner.
Note: A copy of the game was provided for the purposes of the review
Final Score: 6/10
+Interesting new take on the old boss rush formula
+Visuals and soundtrack really set the mood
+Overcoming bosses feel rewarding
+Some cool boss/environment design
-Not much in the lore department
-Some irritating control issues
-Difficulty may be daunting for some