A match in Sclash is over within seconds. Holding my breath and reading my opponent, I watch for the perfect opportunity. Then I strike. It’s an intense, faster-than-you-can-blink experience. But players can’t rest on their laurels as the next opponent is always just around the corner waiting to exploit my weaknesses and cut me down before I even realize what’s happened.
Framed by a swirl of painterly artwork, Sclash asks me to step into the shoes of a warrior. Exactly which one is my choice. The character selector offers up glowing-haired samurai, ninja-like duelers, and other colorful characters with which to do battle. However, my outward appearence means little.
Each of the duel’s participants has a simple set of actions. I can preform a single-hit killing blow, well-timed parry, life-preserving dodge, or confidant taunt. The streamlined skillset makes the game easy to learn, but balancing your artistically rendered stamina bar and judging your opponent takes time.
I play with Just For Game’s Maximillien Breton, who politely takes it easy on me in our first match. He explains, as he increasingly reveals his skills and my victories begin to dwindle, that the team is currently focused on the online multiplayer experience. Connecting with friends or battle-hardened strangers can lead to an all-night session or a quick bout between chores.
He assures me there will be a campaign, but hesitates to give any further details at the moment. Sclash is set to release sometime this year. So, keep an eye out (and try not to blink) for more launch news if you plan to pick it up.