Remember the story of Icarus? The story was about a father and son, Daedalus & Icarus. In the story the father decides to make artificial wings put together with wax and feathers so they can both fly. In the end Daedalus succeeded and they both were able to fly together through the sky, however Icarus, against his father’s warnings, decided to ascend higher and higher towards the sun, and in doing so, melting the wax keeping the feathers in place, causing Icarus to fall to his death.
That is Blood Alloy: Reborn in a nutshell. A game that aims for high, yet falls so far from what it intended to be.
Blood Alloy: Reborn is an action platforming score attack game from Suppressive Fire Games, in where you play as a cybernetic soldier Nia Rhys, outfitted with a powerful laser pistol, a sword, and outfitted with a hyper fast and agile body equipped with the Blade Assisted Surface Traversal (BLAST) system allowing for hyper kinetic speed and traversal of the environment, even allowing you to get the beat on your enemies before they even know what hit them.
Overall from the start the gameplay feels solid and looks cool. The game definitely excels at making you look like a badass robot ninja, tearing into enemies with fast hack and slashes with your blade, traversing the floor, walls, and ceiling to give you an advantage and the ability to shoot lock on missiles to attack multiple enemies, a Mega Man inspired laser pistol that gets stronger the longer you charge the gun, and hyper agile dodges which timed correctly, allows you to see in slow motion allowing you to figure out your next course of action. In this regard, it feels and looks awesome.
Visually, the game also looks pretty good, the details in regard to Nia is pretty cool, the animations, the movements, even little stuff like Nia rotating her whole body to point in the direction you are pointing your cursor feels and looks natural. The backgrounds, explosions, effects, and robot enemies look really good and have a unique look to the art style.
The music is superb! If you love synthesizer based music, you will definitely want to listen to the score. Ranging from more ambient low beat tracks, to high octane techno tracks, it really puts you into the mood to fight robots, also if names like Perturbator, Magic Sword or Shiryu means anything to you, then the soundtrack is at least worth a listen.
…that all said, like the Law of gravity dictates, what goes up, must come down, and unfortunately, Blood Alloy has problems that can’t be ignored.
When it comes to playing this game on the pc, this game is far from perfect, as things like the resolution not scaling when not in full screen, is pretty frustrating, as if you play in a window or a smaller resolution than intended, the user interface will be inconveniently cropped off not giving you full view of how full your health or Agility meter is, which is a pain if you are playing this game on a lower resolution monitor or you just want to play a quick round while keeping an eye on other things on your desktop for whatever reason.
Not to mention while I do think the gameplay is at least easy to get used to and is fun in spurts, one of the biggest problems with the game is how zoomed in the game is. For a score attack action platforming game that is based on maneuvering the environment, getting a beat on the enemy, and striking first before the enemy strikes, it’s hard to do when you cannot see where the enemy is on screen, in fact during my time playing the game, there were multiple occasions when I just flatout died because I couldn’t see where the enemy was, and because the enemies damage you when you run into them, this is a very common occurrence. Yes before anyone says it, the camera does zoom out when you use the BLAST maneuvering system to traverse around the area, but because you can’t rely on it 24 seven, and because the game isn’t designed to let you use it whenever, I would find myself in a pickle more times than not.
In fact when I think about it, when it comes to the feel of the gameplay, there were many moments of frustration, where I was playing the game feeling like I didn’t ‘get’ the game. That moment of feeling like I was stupid and didn’t grasp the gameplay mechanics like I should, so for awhile I was contemplating why that was, but then I think I realized what it was. The game wants to encourage you to be fast and agile, yet the level and game design does not. The way the game is structured it leads you to believe the game wants you to be fast and in their face, but the reality of the game is while you can do that, the way the game is designed, if you were to do that, more times than not, you will just die…and that’s not fun…it’s not fun to have a delicious looking pizza in your hand, only for someone to slap the pizza out of your hands and onto the floor upside down ruining a good pizza…you know what…that’s probably the best way to describe this game, it’s a waste of a good pizza.
But then again, it’s not quite a delicious or plentiful as an Extra large meat lovers pizza, it’s more of an average cheese pizza from 7-11. It does the job, but it’s nothing too spectacular.
The reason I say that is because, in terms of content, there is barely anything there. Here’s an example of what to expect from this games overall content, this game has 3 levels, 2 unlock-able pistol upgrades, 2 unlock-able homing missile shots, and 2 unlock-able melee upgrades…that’s it, and no I don’t count the unlock-able songs, why the song variety has to be unlocked to begin with is beyond me if anything.
Also as a side not, during my play through of the game, I had the game break on me…twice. Thankfully the game has since been fixed, and it was definitely heartwarming to see one of the developers actually offer to skype me and walk me through fixing my issues and take feedback, so in the end, it’s nice to see the developers do actually care about their product, but it doesn’t ultimately matter if the game is average at best and bare bones in terms of content.
In fact, in retrospect, it’s so easy to see why this game failed to reach the heights it was looking to achieve, when you consider this game was originally intended to be a Metroid-vania like game, with full levels and a narrative, it makes sense why the gameplay feels out of place, and ultimately incomplete.
If you don’t see the problem highlighted in this sentence, I’ll explain for you. If you are making a game, you shouldn’t be developing game that is solely to attract an audience in the hopes of making a better game, and unfortunately, that’s what this game feels like, it feels like an early access game intended to showcase whats to come later on rather than a full release, and ultimately I feel this hurts the game more than it doesn’t.
In the end…I’m torn. I want to see what a more full fledged game would look like if given the time, the funds, and the man power to make it happen, but also, for a game that has so little to offer to begin with and middling gameplay, it’s a very difficult purchase to recommend. This game is a 7-11 cheese pizza. It’s not bad…it’s not great…it just lacks a lot of substance and feels incomplete…what a shame.