Title: Blood Alloy -
Platform: Windows, Steam, Xbox One, Wii U, PS4
Reviewed on: Windows
Players: Single player
Written by Whistler 6th May 2016
Ambition can be a great tool to stoke the fires of creation, however it can be equally as damning and dangerous should it burn too brightly.
Suppressive Fire Games’ side scrolling hack n’ slash arcade shooter mash up, Blood Alloy: Reborn feels very much like one such tale. Once a failed kickstarter project in 2013 now stripped of all it’s original promise and reduced to what suffices as nothing more than a proof of concept.
It’s a real shame as the foundations for this tech demo are solid enough, but they’re a far cry from the developer’s original vision.
After a relatively short tutorial you play cyborg Nia Rhys as you take on endless waves of robotic war machines in three arena style stages. In order to keep up with the onslaught of futuristic pests you’ll need to utilize the full range of Nia’s capabilities. You can go at breakneck speeds across floors and up walls with twitch based sword swings, bullet time dodges along with a small selection of guns and secondary weapons. Her starting pistol can be charged while remaining stationary to unleash a giant laser beam and secondary weapons such as homing rockets or a shield only be used whilst sliding. It’s Strider with more focus on perfecting your high score where the initial level does show some promise.
However that initial promise quickly gives way to the repetitive grind. Stages, weapons and equipment are all unlocked solely by leveling up and is entirely unsatisfying whilst only serving to arbitrarily lengthen game length. As you’re forced to repeat stages over and over you never feel like you’ve gained any ground, progression feels inorganic and accumulating levels turns stale far too quickly.
Even once you’ve unlocked all three arenas the lack of visual variety and floaty controls just fail to hold your attention. Blood Alloy lacks aesthetic charm, it’s visually acceptable but nothing special considering the old school MegaDrive style the prototype had way back in 2013. Animations are average and visuals on a whole are barely passable in a day and age where titles like Hyper Light Drifter, Axiom Verge and Crypt of the Necrodancer populate the market.
Despite a solid foundation the gameplay fails to save it, while there’s flickers of enjoyment it lacks impact. Hit feedback is borderline non existent and instead of a precise hack n’ slashing it just feels like flailing around until it determines you’re trying to actually hit the tiny pixelated enemies. Worst of all when the hack n’ slash, run-
You’ll find yourself constantly at odds with the camera; its too far out to distinguish between the small sprites in motion and yet still too close to allow you to utilize your surroundings. Often I’d just end up getting smacked in the face by something offscreen or desperately trying to traverse the absolute mess of a map to reach a health drop.
Sadly it’s all too evident that Blood Alloy: Reborn is far removed from what is should have been. The basic idea is there and with tweaking the foundation’s solid enough to build an actual game on, but what we have isn’t executed to any satisfactory standard. It’s plagued with mediocrity across the board and the slow grind’s attempts to give off the illusion of more gameplay poorly attempt to justify the asking price. While small humble score attack games like Devil Daggers and Ubermosh are most certainly enjoyable and highly addictive, Blood Alloy: Reborn just leaves a bad aftertaste that I wish was quickly forgotten.
Dynamic twitch based movement,
Nice blend of run-
Disgusting lack of content,
Blood Alloy: Reborn scores a mediocre 4.5 out of 10.