Review – Ling

Looking for new independent releases on the Steam storefront is like looking for a needle in a pool of radioactive sludge. For every passable game developed by people that actually care about gaming, there are ten to twenty unbearable cash grabs made on Unity with premade assets and little beta testing or actual talent involved. Suffice it to say, looking for new proper releases for reviewing purposes is harder than it seems. Then Ling came along. It sounded alright on paper. Proprietary title made on the Unreal Engine by people that apparently knew what they were doing, and most importantly, not on early access? In times like these, I’ll take anything I can get! Then I played it and realized I shouldn’t.


A whiter shade of absolute nothingness

Ling is, at its core, a simple isometric hack and slash title, most likely inspired by Diablo‘s most rudimentary gameplay concepts. I say that because comparing Ling to Diablo would be insulting to Blizzard’s franchise. The game is the most bare bones hack and slash I’ve seen in a while. It is a game that fails in its presentation, in its gameplay, in providing fun to the player… it even fails to provide a barely functional pause menu for crying out loud!

Things start going south the moment the game starts, as Ling didn’t even bother showing me a menu with options or anything written into it to let me know I wasn’t looking at a broken screen. Upon pressing Start, I’m instantly thrown into the game’s vast, unbelievably boring map, a neverending pile of snow with nothing else but an occasional tree put in a way it can easily obstruct my entire view, turning the boring vastness of white into a confusing vastness of dark blue and black, hiding all enemies and turning my character into a little white shadow bumping into walls and obstacles. The game also suffers from a severe case of inconsistent framerate whenever there are more than two enemies onscreen. It’s not like any of the game’s assets or the scenery are that complex or hardware-demanding, so it boggles me how poorly the game runs even when there’s little action onscreen. The game’s sound design is basically comprised of wind noises and an occasional monster growl as well. Very exciting stuff.


Whenever a tree stands in front of your character…

Finally, there’s the issue about the gameplay itself. It’s just bland. It’s just absolutely boring. Your character can perform two attacks: a slow punch and a very slow sword swing. There are basically no combos and there’s little strategy. All you can do is try to hit an enemy once (you’ve got to pray for it to work since the input delay is huge), evade, and repeat the process until there are no more enemies onscreen. That’s it. Little to no explanation to why you’re doing what you’re doing, all you’ll do is beat a bunch of monsters and that’s it. To make matters worse, the sole act of pausing the game is confusing, given the fact you need to press Start twice in order to properly access the menu: press it once and all you’ll see is the same initial frozen screen, as if you had reset the game.


Dear enemies, just kill my character and put me out of my misery…

To sum things up, Ling is just a very bad game. It might not be a literal unplayable mess or a generic asset flip, but there’s very little in this game that deserves praise. It’s boring to look at and it is equally boring to play. Just stick to Diablo if you’re into PC hack and slash games.

Graphics: 3.5

They aren’t necessarily the worst part of the game, but the framerate is wonky and the scenery is incredibly repetitive to the point of exhaustion.

Gameplay: 2.0

Besides the faulty camera, the game also features an unimaginative and unresponsive combat system. It’s just plain bad.

Sound: 1.5

Do growls and the sound of the wind count as a sound department?

Fun Factor: 1.5

In simple terms: Ling is not a fun game. At all.

Final Verdict: 2.0