[Review] Valfaris – Nintendo Switch

Written by Thomas Haroldsen
  • Developer: Steel Mantis
  • Publisher: Big Sugar
  • Release Date: 10/10/19
  • Price: £22.49 / $24.99
  • Review code provided by Big Sugar

Thrashin’ Around

Google Image search ‘Thrash Metal album covers’, pick any image and study it. Ladies, Gentleman and the Unaligned, you have the general art direction of Valfaris!

Valfaris is the questionable love child of ‘Metal Slug’, ‘Contra’ and Early ‘Castlevania’ much like it’s spiritual predecessor ‘Slain: Back from Hell’, blending precise platforming elements with
Classic ‘Slaughter everything’ game mechanics thanks to the titles array of weaponry. The players protagonist ‘Therion’ has tasked himself with finding out what really happened to his home, Valfaris, after it has reappeared orbiting a dying son. I’ve never heard something so cyber goth in my life!

The One Man Metal Militia

The beauty of Valfaris is held within it’s tight controls and platforming mechanics. Players will be required to juggle enemies whilst timing jumps in order to progress through the vast majority of levels within the game. Facial buttons are reserved for Melee, HandGun, Special Gun and jump use whilst the shoulder buttons are used for shield and aiming.

Players can also collect ‘Blood Metal’ which can upgrade Therion’s arsenal as well as regeneration shards. Shards can either be used at certain checkpoints throughout levels or can be used to boost a players HP should they have the stones to plough through a level with no checkpoints. Needless to say my HP stayed at the bare minimum!

Big Sugar are currently working on a New Game + mode aptly titled ‘Full Metal Mode’. This will unlock post-game and will carry across a player’s achievements, weapons and the like. Other features such as more aggressive enemies and higher damage rates are amongst the box social included in this upcoming mode.

Swinging the Strings of Celtic Frost

Valfaris oozes art direction from a bygone age. More specifically anything early 90s that allowed players to kill things for little to no reason, and that’s cool! Andrew Gilmour is the brilliant mind behind the handmade pixel art that defines the time capsule the Valfaris is bound too. Moreover, no frame fate or SFX issues were noted throughout this review playthrough, running at a smooth 60 FPS like a boss. With so much happening at once on screen, it can be a little disorientating when trying to make out enemies or where the player is. This is soon remedied however once players get used to character movements and weapon behaviours.

Former Celtic Frost Guitarist ‘Curt Victor Bryant’ has taken the reigns for the OST of Valfaris. Needless to say it packs a drop kick or twelve featuring Thrash metal pummeling with the odd drop of Dream Theater-esque euphoria. The special effects including the guttural category also stand tall throughout the mix, but in no way overpowering the audio within Valfaris.

Caught In A Mosh!

Running smoothly in both docked and handheld mode, I didn’t notice much difference. Although, I would recommend playing on a Switch Lite due to Smaller pixels and a sharper screen giving a crisper aesthetic overall. No bugs or Glitches were discovered throughout my playthrough!

The Great Pixel Trendkill

Valfaris is another cult hit in my book from the team behind Slain: Back from Hell ‘Steel Mantis’. The controls are tight, the art style is amazing, the soundtrack is Metal AF and I nearly snapped my Switch due to fighting many rage quits. It’s great to see a new title rekindle that overall bubble of gaming so many early 90’s gamers miss.


  • Amazing Art Direction
  • Well designed and precise controls
  • Cracking OST


  • Disorientating during high action intervals
  • Checkpoint positioning is borderline trolling
  • That’s It!

Scream For Me Nintendo!

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