Overview – being developed and published by Lucid Realm Games, in partnership with Shady Corner Games and Thunder Cloud Studio, Shred and Tear is an action brawler with a risqué edge. Take on the role of Kajun-chan, a girl who was captured and used as a test subject by the invading alien forces of the Tentamon Empire, being turned into a bio-weapon that has been freed by a Tentamon rebel. This title is currently planned as a steam exclusive, with the game still in active development.
Disclaimer: this title is still in active development with a planned release date of mid-2023, with the public demo being used for this coverage. This means that the details in this piece are subject to change, but if you want to keep up with the development of the game, get behind the scenes details and get access to special exclusive content Lucid Realm has an 18+ Discord that can be joined (HERE). They also have an official twitter account that can be found (HERE).
Mature Content Disclaimer: this title is intended for mature audiences, graphic violence, blood, gore and some sexual content/nudity. If you are under the recommended age for this release, or if the content listed makes you uncomfortable, please proceed at your own discretion.
Now with the introductions out of the way, it’s time to get into the coverage of Shred and Tear, I will be skipping the story segment as I feel that is best seen by players. For this coverage, I will be giving details of the gameplay in the demo and my experience with it.
Gameplay – Shred and Tear is a brutal, fast-paced action hack and slash brawler, with squishy aliens and bloody combat. The demo is made up of the first chapter of the game, with open arenas with waves of enemies, action platforming and an intense chase sequence as the finale. The flow for this demo works in a linear form, taking players through the different areas and teaching them the mechanics for Kajun-chan.
The brawling action is smooth, with high impact yet simple to understand moves for Kajun-chan to use while tearing through foes. The basic attacks that she can use are quick and responsive, with the ability to easily rip most enemies apart and deal heavy damage to stronger foes. Kajun-chan also has access to a dash, a flying corkscrew attack and an explosive rage attack that are unlocked over time. These skills allow her to tear through walls and enemies with ease.
When moving between the areas of the demo, walls will prevent Kajun-chan from going back or guide her in a specific way. The majority of the time, these walls will require her to defeat enemies, reducing a bar on screen and opening up the next segment. This system allows for the game to give tutorials to the player, explaining how each mechanic functions during the game with dialogue exchanges that flesh out the narrative.
The different combat tutorial segments all culminate in an arena battle, where the Kajun-chan battles a horde of enemies over three waves with death pits and boost pads to deal with. This is where the different moves that have been learned will be used, fighting different enemies that each use different attack styles, with melee, ranged and flying enemies. This is the most hectic battle section, with enemies spawning in regularly to try and take Kajun-chan down.
Outside the action brawling, there are fast paced platforming and climbing segments, where Kajun-chan has to dodge enemies while moving across death pits and insta-kill traps. These sections can be tough, with enemies attacking the player while trying to move between the platforms, which can lead to falling into pits or colliding with traps. The camera can be a detriment here too, as it can swing wildly if using the mouse which isn’t an issue in combat so much, but has the potential to disorient players.
The last thing to discuss is the tunnel chase segment that is used as the finale of this demo. At the climax of this experience, the player is chased by a mechanized monster that will gain on them unless they maintain their dash speed. In this segment, there are boost strips that the player will need to ride in order to maintain their speed. This is due to the dash meter depleting over time, but the boost strips can keep the dash going as long as Kajun-chan is in contact with it.
As well as the monster that chases Kajun-chan in the tunnel, there are gaps that must be jumped, traps that can kill the player instantly, as well as enemies and gates that need to be destroyed. This is the most intense segment of the game, as a timer will appear on screen when the monster is close, adding to the anxiety of the chase. The camera will trail behind Kajun-chan, with her swinging wildly if the player loses control of their dash.
Now with the gameplay covered, let’s get into the other aspects of the demo, starting with the controls.
Controls – the control method for this demo is simple, with keyboard/mouse and controller support available for players. The movement and combat works well in both layouts, with fast paced combat and platforming, which feels responsive and satisfying. There are zero issues with input lag during play, but the camera does take a little getting used to, as it can be a little sensitive during faster segments. Overall the game feels good in regardless of the control method used.
Difficulty – there is a moderate difficulty curve, teaching the player how the game works through the tutorial sections. There are an abundance of health drops from defeated enemies, but if players aren’t careful they can be overwhelmed and killed. However, even with death being a possibility at every turn with the enemies and death traps, there is a generous checkpoint system that won’t push the player back too far. These checkpoints make this demo a challenging but manageable experience to pick up.
Presentation – the visuals for Shred and Tear look very pleasing, with cutscenes that feature a mix of 2D art and in engine cinematic scenes. The design for Kajun-chan has fanservice elements to her design, with a voluptuous design and some nudity featured. The enemies have a simple yet discernable look to them, with models that let them stand out from the environments around them. There is little in terms of lag during play, but due to my hardware not meeting the recommended specs there were a few frame drops.
Speaking of the environments, the locations that Kajun-chan must traverse have an industrial look to them with bio-mechanical details and gore in places. These elements work together to create something alien, yet a little more familiar. The sound for the demo has a heavy rock vibe to it, with pounding guitars and electronic sounds that make up the soundtrack. There is limited use of voice acting right now, but the lines for Kajun-chan from VA Pixie Willow.
Final Thoughts – Shred and Tear is a fun and entertaining action brawler, with lots of alien gore being splattered across every surface. The combat is intuitive with a smooth flow to the combat, flashy special skills and satisfying gore effects. Kajun-Chan herself has a very pleasing look to her design, with the mix of biological and mechanical parts working well together. The fanservice element is present with some sexual imagery and nudity on show (when unlocked), but it doesn’t detract from the experience.
I will be honest and say that I enjoyed my time with the demo, since I was one of the play testers for the closed demo build (my name is in the credits) and I have seen the feedback that was shared implemented here. My opinion of the progress being made with the game game is a positive one, which makes me more than happy to recommend it to others. I am very excited to see what comes next and while there are some kinks to iron out, the future looks bright for Shred and Tear.
If you want to check this demo out for yourself, you can find the steam page in the link (HERE) and If you want to get a special code to unlock exclusive content you can check out the Lucid Ream Discord server (HERE).