Tuesday, September 5, 2017.
by Adam Dileva

BLEED Box art It’s funny that indie games still have a stigma about their quality. Sure, many of them don’t look pretty, but I know my thoughts about them have drastically changed over the last couple of years, as you sometimes find some gems that you probably would have never even looked at twice otherwise. BLEED is one of those games that I wouldn’t have probably even glanced at previously, but after playing it I can honestly say that I am quite glad that I got to experience it.

You play as female protagonist Wryn, determined to become the greatest hero of the world. The problem here though is that the world already has a handful of beloved heroes, so to take the glory all for herself she’s going to have to prove that she’s the better than those that are already considered the best in the world. To do so she’s going to have to defeat some massive monsters plaguing the world and even rid the previous heroes in an effort to prove that she is definitely better qithout question. It’s a cute premise, and while there no real narrative beyond that idea, BLEED’s strengths comes from its straightforward and challenging gameplay.

BLEED controls much like a twin-stick shooter, moving with the Left Stick and aiming/firing with the Right. Since you need to constantly use both sticks, jumping and dashing is done with the Right Trigger, which can feel unnatural in the beginning, but eventually it won’t become much of an issue. You’re able to double and triple jump with the trigger as well, something that you’ll need to master to not only reach high and far platforms out of normal reach, but to avoid enemies and bullets. When you double or triple jump, it acts more like a dash in whatever direction you aim, so it takes some getting used to, but it becomes absolutely critical later on, especially on difficult boss fights. Wryn also has the ability to slow down time for a short period with the Left Trigger, a necessity for also surviving boss battles and mass projectiles.

Story Mode is where you’ll want to start, as that’s how you’ll unlock the other modes, which I’ll delve into shortly. There’s only a handful of levels, with each feeling unique and has its own setting. Defeat the two bosses found in the stage and you’ll be able to move onto the next. Stages aren’t terribly long, with the whole game being able to be completed on Easy in roughly an hour, but there are multiple difficulty levels and upgrades to earn that add some replayability. I initially started on Normal difficulty but I quickly bumped that down to Easy until I got the hang of things with some much needed practice.

Wryn begins her journey with a pair of dual pistols and a rocket launcher, but as you progress through the game, and earn credits for completing levels, you’ll be able to purchase new weapons, though I still mostly continued using the dual pistols for the duration of my gameplay time due to their quick firing and decent damage. You are also able to spend your coins upgrading your health bar or extending the duration of your slow-mo, which ever one manages to fit your play style. I suggest playing through the Easy levels a few times, earning credits and spending them on upgrades, before attempting Normal and above.

Due to the low number of levels found in the game, you’re meant to play through each level multiple times, especially since some of the levels can be completed very quickly. Luckily, checkpoints are more than generous, and when you do eventually die, especially on the harder difficulty levels, you won’t lose much progress. If you become a master at BLEED, then you’ll want to challenge yourself with the Arcade mode, which tasks you with attempting to complete the whole game with one life whole managing not to die. I’ve still yet to do this successfully on Easy, so goodluck.

Boss battles are fun and frequent, and while you simply need to memorize their attack patterns, they can be quite challenging, requiring you to use all your tools at your disposal, especially your slow-mo dashes to avoid being hit. No boss was terribly difficult, yet they were still a challenge, so the balance was just right. There’s also a Challenge Mode that pits you against 1 to 3 of the bosses of your choice once you’ve beaten them in Story Mode. Battling two at a time was a great challenge, though I’ve still yet to beat three at once. Again, it adds more value to BLEED for those wanting to sink more time into it after the short campaign.

BLEED challenged me a lot more than I thought it would, especially on the harder difficulties. You’re going to need quick reflexes and perfect aim to conquer these difficult challenges. Even though the level count is very low, being able to earn currency by completing them numerous times encourages replayability, making subsequent runs somewhat easier with each upgrade, eventually giving you the confidence to try a harder difficulty. With its low cost of entry, BLEED is a fun little title to tide you over for a day or two if you want to challenge yourself and don’t mind replaying levels a handful of times. Heck, BLEED is also a great distraction when you want a break from playing any of the triple A titles that may be out this fall too.

Overall: 7.0 / 10
Gameplay: 8.0 / 10
Visuals: 6.0 / 10
Sound: 6.0 / 10


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