In 2013 developer Suppressive Fire Games has an idea for a game that took inspiration from various Metroidvania style games. Unfortunately, the kickstarter didn’t succeed and the team had to think again. The team took on board all of the feedback and began to reboot the idea.
Suppressive Fire Games then came back with Blood Alloy: Reborn. The team consists of former employees, independent developers and students from Harmonix Music Systems and they spent time focusing on the combat system they had in place for Blood Alloy. It’s a game that focuses on fast-paced chaotic action in a cyberpunk world. You play as Nia Rhys, who is a female cyborg character, with some awesome combat abilities. You take on bad guys in three different levels using your range of powerful attacks and slick movement. The game sees you running, sliding, jumping and slashing your way through tonnes of enemies whilst traversing platforms.
I started by checking out the tutorial mode as the game requires you use all of the movement and skill based mechanics in order to do well in this game. The tutorial is pretty basic and simply introduces the main controls through a series of areas to get through using different types of movement. I have to say that the game doesn’t do a great job of telling you what you need to do, even in the tutorial mode! You will have to spend some time really learning how to play the game. It wasn’t even made clear to me that you could double jump or slice upwards to get higher until I accidentally stumbled onto it. The tutorial also introduces you to the combat in the game and once again it doesn’t do a great job of telling you everything you need to know, the most important being score multipliers. The tutorial goes over this but doesn’t tell you if you get a 10X multiplier you are able to restore health.
When you complete the tutorial section you then get to watch a very brief animated cutscene, which looked awesome and had a great visual style. It’s a real shame that the game doesn’t use these more often or slightly longer sequences to build more of a narrative. As soon as I jumped into the first area I was instantly impressed by the vibrant style and awesome pixel art graphics. As I said before you play as Nia Rhys who moves quickly with powerful attacks. I loved the design of Nia and the environment you start out in. The game has tonnes of action that feels fluid, fast-paced and slick. There are many 16-bit style games that not only look like this but also play in this way, much like the game Strider. You can use a range of attacks which feel awesome and when combined with the quick movement it can feel unstoppable.
You have two main modes of attack being your gun and sword. The game feels best when you mix things up by sliding, slashing and blasting your way stylishly though hoards of enemies. The game does a good job of rewarding your skills during gameplay and you can
multiply your score in two ways: Kill as many enemies as fast as you can to increase one multiplier and do it as stylistic as possible for the 2nd multiplier. It’s a game that’s main focus is on getting the highest score possible, so it’s a good idea to experiment with different playstyles and movement.
I have to say that I found the game pretty challenging at first and had to spend multiple attempts actually getting a grips with the movement mechanics, let alone taking out the oncoming enemies. During stages an arrow will direct you to an important enemy. You must follow the arrow to the selected bad guy who is holding a hostage. By killing this enemy, you will gain a small amount of health and then carry on. Some players may find the whole experience a bit frustrating as it doesn’t do a good job of telling you what your objective is. You do unlock certain things depending on how well you do, like new tracks, but there isn’t really anything that adds much to the experience.
The presentation of the game is certainly its strongest feature. It uses a 16-bit style aesthetic that feels similar to classic games such as Metroid, Castlevania and even Super Meat Boy. The graphics are simple but it works well with vibrant colours and character design. The levels feel a bit empty despite looking decent and it would have been nice to see more detail and reason to explore each area. The sound effects work really well with lots of explosions, gunfire and slashes as you dash around the environment. The soundtrack is also fantastic and certainly suits the frantic gameplay with its techno style. The more you play the game and increase your level, the more music tracks you will unlock.
I did have a couple of issues with the game, firstly it did crash a couple of times, which isn’t something that normally bothers me too much but when it’s a game where you’re trying to get a high score it can be immensely frustrating. I was also a little disappointed with the lack of content the game has to offer. Sure the gameplay and combat feels great but if there’s not much to do it can become pointless pretty quickly.
Overall Blood Alloy does have some good aspects, which makes it enjoyable for short play sessions but the progression and content is lacking depth and purpose. If the game had some sort of customisation, skill tree or more content in some form it would have kept me entertained for longer. It feels like a game that focused too much on gameplay, which feels great but inevitably it feels repetitive. If the team had added a bit more to the structure of the game, it could have been a lot better.
REVIEW CODE: A complimentary PC code was provided to Bonus Stage for this review. Please send all review code enquiries to firstname.lastname@example.org.
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