Consider it a testament to the power of mobile that developers still want to make and release games for it, despite the challenges of selling on it. After all, when games are customary a third of their price on other platforms, it's no wonder that games are rarely announced first for mobile. Severed [$6.99] was that exception, as mobile was a core platform for the game at its announcement. Then, it became a PlayStation Vita exclusive, before eventually being re-announced for mobile. And here it finally is. This first-person Infinity Blade [$5.99] meets Zelda type game – is a really cool experience that feels like it should have been on mobile all along.

Severed Skull

Severed puts you in control of Sasha. Sasha is having a bad day: she's found herself in a nightmarish underworld, her family has been captured by monsters, and oh yeah, she's lost her left arm. Don't worry, she's all right now! Thanks to a mysterious stranger giving her a powerful living sword, she has the ability to try and rescue her missing family. But she's not exactly handling the stress well, as she's taken to dispatching her foes, severing their limbs and collecting them to power herself up. Oh, and collecting heart and brain pieces to form into full sets that she can devour to increase her health and mana. Sasha might need some therapy when she's done with her mission, because...wow.

Sasha having only one arm means that shields are out of the question, so her best defensive ability is a parry. And she's often surrounded by enemies – typically a maximum of 4 but you'll experience battles of up to 8 enemies at once – so it's all about using strikes that are placed and timed well. Short swipes do limited damage, with more longer swipes doing much more damage. You also fill up a focus meter with combos of long swipes, with the meter filling up faster the more hits you get. Filling up the focus meter is the way that you get Sever mode to activate, so that when you kill an enemy, you get a couple of seconds to slash at their limbs and collect their body parts for the updates. This game is a bit macabre, to say the least.

Severed Sever

What makes Severed so interesting is that the combat is so dynamic because of the fact that you're managing fighting several different enemies at once. You have to constantly adjust to what the potential threats are, quickly switching to parry an enemy, or to slash away an enemy that delivers a powerful blow if you leave them alone. There's a limited number of enemy types, but the different variations on them and the mixture at any given time makes battles remain interesting. You also get abilities over time that help turn the tide in battle, such as a stun that can put one enemy out of the way for a few minutes, which helps a lot when you have other threats to deal with. You've probably played many of these use-your-finger-to-slice-type games, but Severed has some of the most involved and unique combat of them all. It's best to play this game holding the device in one hand and using your index finger to attack, only using multitouch to look around the overworld. I haven't played the Vita version, but I could imagine the game being a lot more uncomfortable having to deal with the buttons on each side of the system. Having a phone that can be held in one hand, or a tablet that can easily rest in your lap or propped up on a table sure feels like the natural, intended way to play, though the 3DS version would likely work well with a stylus, too.

The entire game takes place in a world that's laid out similar to a Zelda game. The experience is largely linear, and while I want to compare it to a Metroidvania, if only because I want to coin the term Infinitybladetroidvania, it's a rather linear game even if it's all interconnected, and using later abilities to go back and find secrets in earlier areas is something you'd see in an action-RPG with an overworld. But still, it's cool compared to Infinity Blade where the entire world was look-but-don't-touch. Here, the entire world is flat, I suppose, but you can look around each room 360 degrees, which you will have to do to find everything, but it is cool to fight battles in the world, and actually get to walk around and explore these spaces to a certain degree. You move on a room to room basis, but it doesn't feel restricting in any way.

Severed Sasha

Artistically, Severed is stunning. The download is 230 MB, which is surprising, to say the least – the game is stunningly detailed and DrinkBox did a tremendous job at building a world that's dark yet colorful. Little thinks like being able to see other parts of the world from open spaces in other dungeons helps a lot. The music and sound design is fantastic, too – be sure to wear headphones or use good speakers if possible, because the audio component adds a lot to the experience, helping to engross you into the game.

Severed has a health bar that doesn't refill between fights, and I don't know why it doesn't just do that. When you die, you often respawn not far from where you died, so it's not like it's a huge punishment. Heck, it's more of a reward unless you're specifically going for a death-free run, I suppose. It just feels like one of those questionable elements that could have been changed at some point. At least it means dying is not that frustrating, but it makes finding health a bit pointless, and the heartbeat sound when you have low health to be all the more aggravating.

Severed is just a game that's all-around cool. Its aesthetic is top-notch, its combat is deep and engaging. Plus, DrinkBox didn't skimp on the iOS-specific features including screen recording and cloud saves (though manually done, not automatic). This looked like a must-play since its initial announcement, and while it took a bit of a circuitous path to iOS – and I don't blame DrinkBox, if you can find a way to sell a game for a higher price on other systems first, do it – it's home now, and it's a must-play.

TouchArcade Rating

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  • Shkrbby

    Great game. Got this on Vita. Ideal mobile game that should be in all serious gamers collection. Instabuy at this price.

  • raravan

    will this game work on iPhone 5?

    • Graham Smith

      Yes! Works on all devices that have iOS 8 or above.

    • InTheAir

      According to the bottom of the page it says you need a metal-enabled device. In other words iPhone 5S or above.

  • Milotorou

    Oh my dear goodness this looks VERY interesting, ill look into it some more and maybe buy it tonight !

    Any difficulty levels or anything of the sort ? My biggest gripe this year is that most nice games tend to be too easy and offer no hard mode or optional challenges...

    • Milotorou

      Also... would you recommend waiting for the 3ds version or this will be better or equal on mobile ?

      • http://about.me/wondroushippo Carter Dotson

        You're probably gonna be paying more for the 3DS version. Stylus play might be cool, but the mobile version is cheaper and out now, I say go for it.

    • Graham Smith

      There are "casual" and "normal" difficulties. Normal does get quite challenging, especially near the end of the game.

    • Shkrbby

      Game is challenging.

    • Milotorou

      Thanks for the answers guys, bought, will try it tonight 🙂

  • MagIor

    You know, if I were Maglor I would put a large cat and say something about instabuy with a lot of exclamation marks and dollar signs.

    • postmodernpilot

      BRING BACK THE CAT! MAKE TOUCHARCADE GREAT AGAIN! 😛

    • boydstr

      Be creative😁

  • skylined87

    Damn, already have this on Vita.... I'm itching for a new game, but I can't justify buying this twice on my budget (although it is definitely worth it.) oh well, maybe something else will come along here shortly that's worth buying. This game is amazing though, I think I'm gonna go fire it up right now actually...

  • Ragnar Dragonfyre

    I knew this would come to mobile eventually. There's no way they'd let such a quality game languish on the Vita. So glad it's here! Instabought.

  • DemoEvolved

    Great game with an off putting name. Worth your dollars.

    • http://about.me/wondroushippo Carter Dotson

      I mean, off-putting is your opinion, but it's perfect for the game.

  • OrangutanKungfu

    I'd just like to say thanks to Carter for getting a review in the same day Severed launches on the App Store home pade. I was very interested anyway after the preview articles, but Carter's five-star review and a launch sale... How can I resist?

    • http://about.me/wondroushippo Carter Dotson

      Aw shucks, makes the effort to try and get this out ASAP worth it.

  • PGGamer

    Bought it right after the release. Awwyisss

  • HelperMonkey

    Looks brilliant.
    Length?

    • http://about.me/wondroushippo Carter Dotson

      About 6 hours to beat the game straight through. For further reference: https://howlongtobeat.com/game.php?id=26283

      • NaeemTHM

        Hmmm 6 dollars for a 6 hour game? I don't know man...

        Nah I'm just joshing. Could you imagine if I was one of those people. I held off buying this for my Vita for so long. Can't wait to play this.

  • Adam Kennedy

    Mfi controller support?

    • Milotorou

      It is a "touch based" game, why would they even think about mfi support ? It would play like ass with a controller... (no offense to you)

    • http://about.me/wondroushippo Carter Dotson

      This game would not work with MFi controllers. Like, imagine playing Fruit Ninja or Infinity Blade with a controller. There's a reason this is only releasing on the Vita, 3DS, and Wii U as far as consoles go – it needs a touchscreen.

  • IAP-king

    yyooooooo this is out? Insta buy!

  • Timmy2x

    WOWSA! I haven't bought a mobile game is months.....Instabuy!

  • icepulse

    "Metal only"? Meaning it won't play on my Mini 2?

    • flowsnake

      Mini 2 supports Metal. That's what I'm playing it on.

  • meowmel

    Got this game on vita but i'm gonna double dip because its that good

  • benson1

    If you were to convince me to buy this game with one sentence what would it be?

    • toofinedog

      You need this game more than you need that six dollars.

  • boydstr

    Why is it that the games sells on IOS are quoted "games are customary a third of their price on other platforms"is it because the games on IOS toned down or are the games on mobile and console exactly the same?

Severed Reviewed by Carter Dotson on . Rating: 5