Slice, Dice & Rice is a new 2D fighter developed by Dojo Games and published by Playway S.A. It was released on Steam on April 28th, 2017. This fighter combines similar aesthetics to a series like Mortal Kombat but combines it with the play style of the classic Bushido Blade. Though 2D, it feels nothing like most other fighters on the market, and the fast paced, one hit kill style of gameplay truly paves a new path in a flooded genre. Slice, Dice & Rice fills a long forgotten niche but does it in a brand new way.
Slice, Dice & Rice is currently available on Steam for only 9.99
For the most part Slice, Dice & Rice keeps it simple and skips out on an overall story arch. Instead, each character has their own unique tale that can be explored in story mode, but when you initially boot the game up, there is no plot or intro you need to watch before starting. You immediately move on to the title screen and can begin kicking butt.
The story mode in Slice, Dice, and Rice is paper thin: you will see a black screen with some script about the characters purpose, and sometimes before a battle, your characters will toss out a few insults or state their reasons for the encounter. To be blunt, none it matters, and I found myself skipping all of it after playing through the first character's story mode. It's a fighting game, so it doesn't need much of a story, and luckily for this game, the developers invested in the meat of the game, the gameplay.
This game looks like a typical 2D fighter, however, you will soon realize that most battles last less than twenty seconds, some even ending in a mere two. This is because Slice, Dice & Rice focuses on landing critical hits on your opponents for an instant kill. Yes, one good hit and your opponent (or yourself) will crumble to the ground in defeat. There are moments where you hit an opponent and they survive. In this case, one more good hit and they will usually be dead, or in certain instances, if hit, the characters will be severely wounded and turn a blood shade of red. During this time their movement is hindered. They cannot jump or quickly dash which greatly diminishes their chance of winning the round.
Unlike most fighting games which utilize a best of three rounds system, you need to win or lose four times to fully defeat your opponent. This works very well since the rounds go by faster than you can blink, and it gives you just enough time to figure out your opponent. Since timing, dodging, and a quick offense are all essential, the game kept everything neat and really only has three attack buttons. However, each of the buttons offers a different form of attack, horizontal, heavy, and vertical. They can be used for different instances, and they also change a bit if you use them midair. On top of this, your other button blocks or deflects an attack, which definitely comes in handy but isn't always a reliable method to survive (as I found out the hard way numerous times). Other than that the other control that is a lifesaver is the quick dash. Hit backward twice and you fly back a few paces, often saving you from getting pulverized by an oncoming attack. The game added a unique function which slows down time a for a second sometimes when an attack is coming. This will give you a little breathing room to escape, block or counter. However, I never found this feature to get in the way of the gameplay fluidity, and I was usually so engaged that I hardly noticed it after my first time playing.
What I found truly marvelous about this game is that all eight characters play very differently. They have weapons that all have their own unique attacks and some are faster than others. It was really fun to try new characters or master one and it kept each fight fresh since I had to know my opponents patterns and attacks to win. Luckily even if you lose, the game's loading screens move almost as lightning fast as the gameplay itself, so you will never be sitting idle too long.
The combat is very addicting. It's an ultimate game of cat and mouse where you need to really question whether it's best to go for the winning hit, lure the enemy towards you, or get out of the way and buy some time. Every second in this game is critical, and the there is a tense, exhilarating feeling that rarely wavers. The controls are completely responsive, and the developers really did a wonderful job of giving you full control over your fighter and maneuvering. There were almost no points where I felt anything was unfair or that the game had cheated me. One misstep and you are dead, guess your opponents next move correctly and glory is yours. You possess each win and loss and need to learn from them.
Graphics and sound
Slice, Dice & Rice has some awesome visuals that definitely stand out for an indie fighting title. First off, the blood animations are great. Each time a character is hit, blood sprays out, and sometimes it splatters the screen. When a character is killed, the animation is really rewarding (or crippling) to watch as a character collapses slowly to the ground or a severed head rolls across the battlefield. The gory aesthetics are all very well done even and are tastefully over the top.
The battlefields are very well made. There are three layers, items in front of the fighters, the battlefield itself, and the items behind the combatants. The items in the front give the game a more immersive experience and complement the backgrounds well. usually, the levels are dark and grim, but there are often bright items or places such as Chinese lanterns, house lights, or fire that bring the levels to life. The mists, fogs, and movements in the levels offer a chilling ambiance that adds the final topping to the intricate details already in place. The character sprites are very bright and detailed, taking on something similar to a cell-shaded look, and their brightness contrasts very nicely with the ominous backgrounds.
The sound in this game is also very fitting. You will hear Asian drums and instruments that may remind you of intense scenes from a Hong Kong kung fu film. It adds to the intensity of the game, and it definitely matches the aesthetics and atmosphere.
Fighting games are usually pretty slim, with the meat of the game in mastering the combat, Slice, Dice, & Rice is no exception. There is a Dojo where you can test your moves and hone your skills against a dummy opponent. Vs mode lets you play for fun against a local player or a PC or oddly enough a PC vs PC. I was disappointed to see that there was no internet capability in this game. It would have been awesome to fight people from around the world. This is especially hindering to me since I was playing on Steam and not a console where it would have been easier to have two controllers with a big screen handy.
The story mode is by far the most rewarding mode, however, it is definitely lacking. As previously mentioned the plots themselves are dull and could have definitely been displayed in a more interesting medium. Cutscenes with these graphics would have been totally awesome. On top of that, unlike most fighting games, you cannot really choose your character in story mode. You must start with the first character chronologically, and until you beat story mode with that character, you cannot unlock the next one. This isn't a massive issue except that there were characters I really wanted to try out, and it was a little disappointing that the game doesn't allow you to choose your own path.
Story mode also has bosses. After a few normal fights, you encounter a mid-way boss as well as the final fight of course. These fights tend to be tougher in that the bosses will usually need to be hit two or three times before they fall. Initially, this infuriated me as I patiently dodged blows and waited for my opportunity only to have the enemy kill me after wounding it. However, as I improved, I found the bosses to be a fun challenge, and I could usually beat them within one or two tries. As a whole, I enjoyed story mode, but since it is the meat of the game, I think it could have used a little bit more polish instead of feeling like a random series of fights that I had no personal investment in outside of completion.
I truly had a blast with Slice, Dice & Rice, and I think the 9.99 price tag is a steal for a game of this caliber. Having been a bit too late to the party with Bushido Blade I was very excited to hear about this game, and the execution here is nearly flawless. Because of the immense focus and strategy needed (especially with the characters being so different) this game would take a long time to get old. In fact, it seemed to get more and more rewarding with each play as I discovered new intricacies in the combat. I was sad to see you couldn't play against online opponents, and the story mode was definitely weak, however, the gameplay itself is more than polished enough to sell this game.
|+Unique and responsive combat||-Weak story mode|
|+Beautiful Visuals||-No online multiplayer|
|+Characters all play differently||-Could have used one more game mode|
|+Combat focused on landing lethal blows|