Ultra Indie Preview – Shadows and Sickles: It’s All Very Cornpunk

Hello, you glorious gluttons for all things indie horror! Are you just starving for the newest of the new, the most unknownest of the unknown? If so, you’ve come to the right place. Welcome to the Ultra-Indie Preview! In this series, we’re going to steal DreadXP writer Jesse G.’s feature, and pick a new game from an indie horror creator you’ve probably never heard of! No million-dollar budgets or factory productions. This is the space for the little guy with not but a developer toolkit and a dream. So if you’re down to roll the dice on something different, then stick around and check it out!

You may not have heard of Shadows and Sickles. I know I hadn’t. When it showed up in my inbox I was intrigued by the title. You play as a farmer of sorts; suspenders and all, in what seems like the post-apolcalypse. Things seem pretty chill, and you’ll spend the first part of the game cutting back invasive rose bushes, and enjoying your cornfields. As I’m currently in the process of growing corn myself, in real life, I found this corn-aesthetic resonated with me.

As you complete small tasks around the farm, you’ll suddenly realize that someone has run off with your truck. Farmers love their trucks. There’s a whole genre of music about trucks and how great they are (country & western). So with your truck missing, the game begins in earnest. You’ll travel from your farm to places like abandoned hospitals, sewers, and strange wood bridges that seemingly span entire lakes. The notes you’ll find in places like the abandoned rooms of St. Anuras Hospital paint a chilling picture of the pure panic that happened when the world seemingly ended.

I thought things were relatively relaxed until I found a shotgun. There is in fact combat in Shadows & Sickles. It’s brutish and nasty and quick. You’ll pump a round at miscreations that are zombies or maybe mutants? I’m not sure, but they’re big, green, and perpetually pissed. This is all helped along by the excellent running animation that the player character has. In my notes, from the time I played, it says, “The most “oh my god holy shit” running animation”. My notes were correct, and after a certain point in the game, you’ll feel the same way your character’s running animation looks.

The art style is simple, a bit rough, but shows a true dedication to the craft of game design. With it’s farm-centered design and handmade look, it all feels very punk rock…or corn rock…punk corn…cornpunk. Yeah, cornpunk! It all feels very cornpunk. Smogzone (the game’s creator) has stated this is their first big project. It releases officially in June, so you’ll have time to prepare yourself for it’s release. You can get more information HERE.

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