DrinkBox Studios were founded in\u00a02008 and earned a name for themselves with their two Tales From Space games;\u00a0About a Blob\u00a0and\u00a0Mutant Blobs Attack. \u00a0However, it was 2011\u2019s\u00a0Guacamelee!\u00a0that brought the studio wide-spread recognition and acclaim. That game\u2019s twist on the Metroidvania formula was welcome in how it refreshed a tired genre and\u00a0used\u00a0humour and artistic flair to distinguish it\u00a0from some of the more consciously retro indie games released around the same time. After the success of\u00a0Guacamelee!\u00a0it would have been obvious, perhaps, to expect the DrinkBox team to jump straight into developing\u00a0a sequel. The Toronto-based studio decided to take a different path and are instead readying\u00a0Severed, a first-person, touch-controlled swipe \u2018em up, featuring a one-armed hero. DrinkBox are also reaffirming their commitment to the\u00a0PS Vita - for launch at least - the platform that served them so well when\u00a0Guacamelee!\u00a0was released. At GDC\u2019s\u00a0Day of the Devs\u00a0event we went fingers-on with the game\u00a0to see how it\u2019s progressing. The first thing that jumps out is how beautiful the game is. With the sun setting on the PlayStation Vita,\u00a0Severed\u00a0-\u00a0with its\u00a0crisp, colourful art direction - \u00a0serves as a reminder that the original OLED PS Vita screen has few peers to this day. \u00a0The game looks startlingly gorgeous and every moment is a delight to take in. Severed\u00a0uses a first-person view point but, interestingly, the environments are constructed entirely from 2D art. DrinkBox\u2019s concept artist, Augusto Quijano, explained how the application of\u00a0two-dimensional assets\u00a0to a three-dimensional space was achieved. \u201cWe wanted to do 2D art so we\u00a0basically mapped it to cylinders,\u201d Quijano said. \u201cThink of it like a Google maps panoramic. It\u2019s simple but it just works.\u201d And Quijano is right. \u00a0The overall effect is akin to walking through a maze made from the pages of a pop-up book. \u00a0To\u00a0help orientate the player\u00a0the game is broken into distinct rooms of the same size. The unapologetically modular layout keeps navigation and movement simple but\u00a0allows for light exploration, with certain areas gated behind keys or enemies. Severed\u2019s\u00a0aesthetics also allow\u00a0for some gruesome moments to be rendered with cartoonish charm, be it the gloopy interior corridors of a giant worm or the squishy dismemberment of a spider-like foe. Combat is deliciously tangible with each opponent having\u00a0their\u00a0own tells and weak spots. They are easy enough to master one-on-one but increasingly tricky to defeat once you start\u00a0engaging multiple monsters.\u00a0Mastering and juggling the the various\u00a0combat\u00a0techniques is\u00a0a\u00a0challenge, although the game\u2019s excellent sound design provides useful\u00a0feedback on how your attacks and blocks are connecting. At first glance the\u00a0design\u00a0of the map and perceived\u00a0simplicity of the game\u2019s combat imply a basic experience, but as the game kicks into gear\u00a0Severed\u2019s\u00a0combination of exploration, combat and looting\u00a0rapidly overcomes any preconceptions.\u00a0If\u00a0Guacamelee!\u00a0was DrinkBox\u2019s tribute\u00a0to\u00a0Metroid\u00a0and\u00a0Castlevania,\u00a0then\u00a0Severed\u00a0takes its lead\u00a0from the pattern-based combat of\u00a0Punch Out!\u00a0and the light dungeoneering\u00a0elements of a\u00a0Legend of Zelda\u00a0game. It\u2019s a clever\u00a0mix that\u00a0feels perfectly at home on the\u00a0PS Vita hardware. There\u2019s also a story underpinning\u00a0the\u00a0action\u00a0that charts\u00a0the journey\u00a0of one-armed protagonist,\u00a0Sasha. It\u2019s charming and\u00a0delicate\u00a0stuff but not force-fed to the player, as Quijano explains. \u201cThe story is not in your face but runs in the background,\u201d he says. \u201cIt\u2019s a dungeon crawler at heart and\u00a0the balance lets the gameplay shine but - at the same time - we\u2019re really proud of the story. It\u2019s there to provide a mystery and Sasha\u00a0is an interesting character to explore.\u201d With\u00a0Severed\u00a0nearing release there is a lot\u00a0to be excited about. Although the game\u2019s choice of launch hardware\u00a0may limit its audience, it looks like\u00a0being a worthy successor to\u00a0Guacamelee! and is potentially one of the PS Vita\u2019s twilight stars. Severed\u00a0will be released on PS Vita later this year.